Channel 4 airs tribute to Gogglebox star

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Media captionIn an interview with BBC Breakfast in 2013, Leon and June Bernicoff spoke about their TV favourites

Channel 4 has paid tribute to Gogglebox star Leon Bernicoff, who has died aged 83, ahead of its Christmas special, shown on Sunday evening.

The retired teacher died in hospital on Saturday after a short illness.

His widow June Bernicoff, who joined the show with her husband in 2013, thanked the public for their support.

Before Sunday’s programme, the Channel 4 announcer said: “He will be sorely missed and we dedicate tonight’s show to his memory.”

The Bernicoffs, from Liverpool, were the first couple to join the reality TV show’s cast when it launched in 2013.

Tributes have continued to flood in for the reality TV star, who is also survived by two daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren.

Famous faces, including Liam Gallagher – who starred in the celebrity special last month – took to Twitter.

Fans, including former pupils, also showed their admiration for Mr Bernicoff.

The popular Bafta-winning show features viewers at home reacting to television programmes.

There have been 10 series of Gogglebox and its format has been adopted across the world, including Australia, the US, Belgium and Norway.

Channel 4 and Studio Lambert described Mr Bernicoff as having exerted a “distinct paternal presence both on and off screen”.

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Fellow Gogglebox stars have also been paying tribute to Mr Bernicoff on Twitter, including Scarlett Moffat, who found fame on the show before going on to take part in and win the 16th series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.