June Bernicoff, 81, and her husband Leon Bernicoff were fan favourites on Channel 4’s Gogglebox after being permanent fixtures on the show since its inception in 2013. But after Leon died at the age of 83, just before Christmas in 2017, June hasn’t featured on the programme. June is now sharing precious memories of her other half in a new book, which tells the romantic tale of their lives together, spanning over six decades. The Gogglebox star appeared on BBC Breakfast yesterday to discuss the contents of the story, revealing what she misses most about her partner.
When host Charlie Stayt wondered whether watching old clips of herself and Leon on the Channel 4 series brings “comfort” in times of grief, she explained: “Yes it does, because you hear the voice again.
“He had a very distinctive voice didn’t he? So I think I miss that probably more than anything else.”
Naga Munchetty then asked June about her motivations behind writing the book, to which she replied that she was following Leon’s dream.
She said: “He always used to say ‘I’m going to write our love story one day’, you know as if there was anything special about it so to speak.
“And so I thought, ‘yeah, maybe I’ll do it!’”
June then went on to divulge more details about how she felt when looking back on their journey as a couple.
The TV personality added: “It was amazing how it made me think backwards to times when we met and our life together instead of dwelling on the sadness that I was on my own again.”
Describing her venture into writing as “almost therapeutic”, June also admitted she turned to her children for help in reflecting on family memories.
The former Gogglebox cast member then recalled a particularly funny story about how Leon often became bored when reading stories to their children, opting to tell his own version of the plot instead.
She revealed: “It’s helped them to look back as well, on things we’ve done together and stories he’d read them at bedtime, or he was supposed to read them and decided to throw the book aside!”
June also paid tribute to Leon’s witty approach to life, which earned him a special place in the hearts of Gogglebox fans, admitting: “Leon had no filter. I was thinking, oh my goodness he’s going to say something we’d all regret. But… viewers just took it on board.”
Leon’s death was first announced when Channel 4 and the show’s production company Studio Lambert issued a statement on behalf of his family on December 23, 2017, paying tribute to his “unique personality”.
It read: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sad news that after a short illness Gogglebox’s Leon Bernicoff passed away in hospital earlier today.
“Leon’s unique personality and sharp wit endeared him to fans of the show, as he contributed fully to Gogglebox’s reputation as a programme full of warm humour and unvarnished opinion.
”To those of us that knew him personally, Leon was a man of unwavering principles who exerted a distinct paternal presence both on and off screen. He will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family; cast and crew.
“Our thoughts are with June, his two daughters, sons-in-law and beloved grandchildren – all of whom have asked for their privacy to be respected at this incredibly sad time.”
Gogglebox continues tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.