'Devastated' friends and family pay tribute to Take Me Out star who died after filming dating show

Jonathan Mitchell

Tributes have been paid to a Take Me Out contestant who died after filming the popular dating show, while host Paddy McGuinness dedicated Saturday’s episode to the university student.

Charlie Watkins, 22, appeared on the show on Saturday night, with Paddy McGuinness revealing on Twitter that the University of York student had died after filming the episode.

He posted: “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 and family. RIP.”

Distraught viewers took to social media to pass condolences to Mr Watkins' family, while others said ITV’s decision to run the show left them “uneasy”.

Harry Watkins posted a picture of his twin brother on Facebook alongside the caption: “Words cannot express my feelings, but I feel this picture sums us up perfectly.”

Dannii Jackson posted: “Words cannot describe how devastated I feel losing one of my best friends, but memories last forever, love you always Charlie Watkins and may you be happy.”

Mr Watkins’ funeral was held on Friday March 24 in York and mourners were asked to donate to mental health charity Mind.

A fundraising page has already raised more than £10,000.

University friend Fred Evans posted a moving tribute to Mr Watkins alongside a picture of the pair dressed in wrapping paper for night out.

He said: “You were always up for a laugh, and this just speaks everything about who you are and what you stand for.

“You're always trying to make other people laugh, even at your own expense. I'm going to miss you greatly mate, the fact that so many people have said so many nice things about you says volumes about how much of a great person you were.”

Some people took to social media to criticise ITV for running the programme.

Matt Edwards posted on Twitter: “Am I the only one who is feeling uneasy about #TakeMeOut after the death of contestant Charlie?”

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