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This Country pays tribute to late star Michael Sleggs in season three premiere

Michael passed away aged 33 in July 2019

Emmy Griffiths

BBC's popular sitcom This Country returned for its third and final season on Monday night, and the opening episode paid a loving tribute to the late Michael Sleggs, who sadly passed away aged 33 in July 2019 after suffering from heart failure. In the comedy, Michael played Sluggs, a friend of Kerry and Kurtan who had terminal cancer and was always hoping that the pair would help him tick certain things from his bucket list, despite their reluctance. 

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Michael passed away in 2019

In the season three opener, the episode begins with the vicar announcing the sad news of Sluggs' death, before Kerry and Kurtan spoke about the news to the camera. Kerry, who is played by Daisy May Cooper, said: "Yeah, it was really sad. There were so many times that you’d think this has got to be it now, surely. And then he’d get a second wind." Kurtan, played by Charlie Cooper, added: "Then a third wind, and a fourth wind. I actually lost count of how many winds he had by the end, but I think he was on something like 26th wind? And we saw him not long before he passed away, didn’t we?" 

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Daisy May and Charlie Cooper paid tribute to their friend

Kerry continued: "The last words he ever said to us was, 'Do you guys fancy doing a zombie escape room in Swindon on Saturday?' But unfortunately, he passed away on the Friday, didn’t he?’" Kurtan concluded: "Yeah, which was sort of a relief in a way, bless him." The pair then have to deal with a letter from Sluggs, in which he admits that he and Kerry were the culprits of 'bed gate', where Kurtan's bed was broken during a trip to Newquay meaning that he needed to leave the trip early and work all summer to pay back the costs. Fans praised the funny and poignant tribute, with one writing: "The first new episode of #ThisCountry was simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. I’m going to be really sad when it’s over," while another added: "Take a bow @charliecooper11 & Daisy May Cooper. A truly moving, heartfelt & playful tribute to your old friend Michael. You did him proud."

READ: BBC's The Pale Horse's confusing ending explained

WATCH: Kerry has a new job on This Country

Speaking to the Radio Times about paying tribute to Michael, Daisy explained: "[Making a tribute to Sleggs] was really important to us and Michael was adamant that he wanted to be in the first episode and he wanted it to be funny. So, with the help of his family, we tried to make a fitting tribute.” Charlie added: "In proper Slugs fashion, though."

READ: This Country series 3: the cast, air date and how to watch