Take Me Out viewers took to social media this weekend to pay their respects to contestant Charlie Watkins, whose date to the Isle of Fernando’s aired on Saturday’s show. Charlie, who had suffered mental health issues from a young age, sadly took his own life after appearing on the show. With his family’s permission, the ITV dating gameshow showed Charlie’s date with fellow contestant Jo-Tara. Emotional viewers watched as the couple enjoyed each other’s company on the sunny island. Show host Paddy McGuinness posted a tribute to Charlie on his Twitter page, which read: “Hope you love tonight’s @takemeout especially Charlie’s friends & family. We get to see a smashing lad enjoying himself on his date.”
Comments flooded in for Charlie, who had won over both viewers and the ladies on the show. He jokingly called himself the "Chaz Man" and studied criminology at York University. One viewer responded to Paddy’s tweet by writing: “Condolences to his family and I’m glad they let us see his episodes and see what a nice bloke he was.” Another said: “Such a shame but really good tribute to see him tonight at Fernandos! #ripcharlie.” A third fan of the show commented: “Wow that was hard to watch knowing what had happened. My heart goes out to the family.” And another follower posted this heartfelt message: “So sad, such a shame. Sending love to Charlie’s loved ones and reminder to all, reach out, talk & look after each other.”
Following Charlie’s death, his family released a statement. They said that their beloved Charlie, 22, had battled mental health issues from a young age. "We have lost a very special young man who sadly never recovered from the tragic loss of his mother when he was only nine years old," the statement read. "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."
READ: Paddy McGuinness pays tribute to Take Me Out contestant who died after filming
Charlie's funeral was held at St Mary's Church on Friday 24 March in Colchester, Essex. A memorial page has also been set up in honour of Charlie, to raise money for mental health charity Mind. "This site is a tribute to Charlie," the description on the website read. "He is much loved and will always be remembered." The page has so far raised more than £10,000 for Mind's mid and north Essex branch.