Gogglebox most heartbreaking moments – from death tributes to tearful breakdowns

Gogglebox has rightly earned millions of viewers over the last seven years, as the show gives an insight into some of Britain's funniest armchair critics.

While the show is beloved for its laughs, Gogglebox is sprinkled with equally tender moments, as the cast show their vulnerable sides to the camera.

Many tears have been shed on the show since its debut in 2013, as the families tune into the most gripping television of the week from the comfort of their homes.

Gogglebox's spin-offs, such as Celebrity Gogglebox and the Stand Up To Cancer specials, also offer many emotional moments, leading the cast – and viewers – to well up before the telly.

From the loss of cherished castmembers, such as Leon and June Bernicoff, to the impact of the Covid pandemic, we have delved into the archives for some of Gogglebox's most touching moments.

The Moffatt's watch the Stand Up To Cancer special

Each year, Gogglebox collaborates with Stand Up To Cancer for one evening, airing a special episode with a celebrity cast.

Stand Up To Cancer raises vital funds for cancer research and for patients of the disease, helping thousands up and down the country.

Combining heartbreaking real-life stories of cancer patients with the usual Gogglebox entertainment, the show is watched by millions each year.

Back in 2014, the Stand Up to Cancer special told the story of the brave Lloyd Burton, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013.

Tragically, Lloyd died two years later at the age of 11, having raised extraordinary funds for cancer research prior to his death.

Watching young Lloyd tell his story, the Gogglebox cast were overcome with emotion, as they wiped away their tears and commended his bravery.

Scarlett Moffatt turned to her dad, Mark, and recalled his cancer battle, saying: "I remember when you had cancer and I didn't really understand what was going on really and you used to just cry every night."

When Scarlett was six, Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer, but thankfully went on to recover from the disease.

Her mum, Betty, replied: "I know, but we were lucky."

Looking back to the television, and highlighting the importance of the work done by cancer charities, Scarlett said: "Yeah I know, but loads aren't, are they?"

Emotional Leon and June tributes

Gracing the series from season one, Liverpool couple Leon and June Bernicoff were fan favourites on the show, reviewing the TV from their set of matching armchairs.

Tragically, Leon passed away in December 2017 at the age of 83, after battling a short illness.

Honouring his death, Gogglebox aired a special tribute to his legacy on the show, leaving viewers in floods of tears.

It simply read: "In loving memory of Leon Bernicoff."

Leon's wife June stopped doing the series after his death, explaining she didn't want to take part without her beloved husband by her side.

Sadly, June died in May of this year at the age of 82, less than three years after her husband's passing.

Again, Gogglebox aired a touching tribute to her life on the Channel 4 series, which read: "In loving memory, June Bernicoff, 1937-2020."

Castmembers missing during lockdown

Gogglebox was one of the few series that continued filming during the pandemic, pledging to keep the nation entertained throughout the lockdown.

The show's return was bittersweet, however, as the cast members aged over 70 were forced to opt out, as they fell in the vulnerable category.

That meant series original Sid Siddiqui – who appears on the show with his sons Baasit and Umar – was noticeably absent from the sofa.

Best friends Mary and Marina, who are in their 90s and live together in a retirement home, were also forced to step down from the season.

Though viewers thoroughly enjoyed the series, the elderly castmembers' absence left many feeling emotional.

Taking to Twitter, one fan wrote: "Whenever I see Mary and Marina in the opening montage it makes me sad – miss u ladies."

"Now I'm thinking of Sid and how much I miss him on #Gogglebox," a second penned.

And another added: "Where would we be in these horrible times without Lee and Jenny, the malones, Ellie and Izzie etc, just missing Marina and Mary, hope they're keeping safe and healthy."

Joe Swash remembering his dad's tragic death

Joe Swash and his girlfriend Stacey Solomon joined the cast of Celebrity Gogglebox this year, filming segments from their Essex home.

While the two are known for their playful banter, one appearance took a heart-wrenching turn as they watched an episode of 999: What's Your Emergency?

The episode showed a young son calling for medical help after his father collapsed from a heart attack, and reminded Joe of a traumatic incident in his own childhood.

He recalled his father Ricky's tragic death at the age of 39, as a young Joe rang an ambulance to come in the hopes of saving his dad.

He said: "I was only 11 when my dad passed away from a heart attack.

"I had to get the ambulance and all that business."

Ricky, who was a London cab driver, died after suffering from an undiagnosed heart condition known as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.

Naturally, after the devastating scene aired, viewers were moved to tears by Joe's candid recollection, as they praised his bravery in sharing the memory on the show.

Gogglebox cast pay tribute to the NHS

Beloved castmembers were left reaching for their tissues back in May, as they watched the BBC2 documentary Hospital: Fighting Covid-19.

With the country transformed by the Covid pandemic and with many losing loved ones to the deadly virus, the show paid tribute to the hard work done by NHS workers.

One scene, in particular, moved the cast, as it showed nurse Nancy, who had worked for the NHS for 50 years, leave the hospital after recovering from coronavirus.

Having returned to full health, she shared a heartbreaking message with the doctors and nurses working night and day, praising their resilience.

She said: "I've worked every day of my life. I've never been off sick, so you can imagine how angry I am that this business got me.

"I want you all to know that I am truly grateful and indebted to you."

Usually a wisecracker, Pete Sandiford's eyes welled with tears as he watched, saying: "This is making me a bit sad, this."

Mary Killen was similarly upset by the scenes, telling her husband Giles: "They clap them when they survive."

Taking to Twitter, viewers admitted they had battled tears throughout the episode, gratetul for Gogglebox's ability to tug on the heartstrings each week.

Gogglebox airs on Fridays at 9pm on Channel 4.

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