Paddy McGuinness led the tributes to a ‘fantastic’ York man who died after his appearance on dating show Take Me Out.
Millions of viewers saw Charlie Watkins star in the dating show broadcast on ITV1 on Saturday night.
Charlie, 22, was a University of York criminology student. He died last month.
Comedian and host of Take Me Out Paddy McGuinness tweeted before the screening of the show last night: “Tonight’s Take Me Out is in memory of Charlie.
“A fantastic lad who I’m sure will be greatly missed by his wonderful friends & family. RIP”
‘A very special young man’
Charlie’s family issued a statement, saying that they gave permission for the pre-recorded show to be aired.
The statement said:
Tragically this is another example of the mental health issues suffered by young people today as highlighted by the Heads Together campaign supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
A big hit
On the show, Charlie was a big hit.
He revealed he was a descendant of Lord Nelson, enjoyed comic books and video games, and played lacrosse.
The undergraduate, who ran to be student activities officer in the university student union, told viewers: “When your name’s Charlie, there’s really only one job to have. I work in a chocolate factory.”
Footage was shown of Charlie working at York’s Chocolate Story on King’s Square.
Tonight's Take Me Out is in memory of Charlie. A fantastic lad who I'm sure will be greatly missed by his wonderful friends & family. RIP pic.twitter.com/JPSPWMOfEX
— Paddy McGuinness (@PaddyMcGuinness) April 22, 2017
The show also featured Charlie’s brother Harry. “My twin brother Charlie has created a name for himself,” Harry said on the show.
“He thinks calling himself ‘the Chaz Man’ is really cool. It’s not.”
After Charlie’s death Harry posted this tribute to his brother.
Take Me Out viewers saw Charlie choose Jo-Tara for a date.
His time with Jo-Tara on the fictional Isle of Fernando – really Tenerife – will be screened in the spin-off show The Gossip, hosted by Mark Wright.
ITV is planning a tribute to him on that show.
Friends took to social media to pay their own tribute. Craig Greaves wrote: “Words can’t describe how wonderful this man was.
“Charlie Watkins may have been the biggest idiot to everyone who knew him but he was also everyone’s closest friend. His smile, charm and demeanour lit up the room.
“He made my time with the University of York Lacrosse Club fun, approachable and damn right stupid but I know for one he wouldn’t want it any other way!
“The world has lost a great person this week and we have lost a dear friend. Watch over us Chazman.”