Take Me Out episode dedicated to contestant who died after filming date

Clarisse Loughrey
Charlie Watkins, 22, passed away after appearing on ITV's dating show Take Me Out: ITV

Dating reality show Take Me Out was hit with unexpected tragedy when it was revealed one of its contestants, Charlie Watkins, had passed away after filming.

Two episodes featuring Watkins were aired in dedication to him, with his family having given ITV permission to air both: one in which the 22-year-old descended the lift in hopes of being paired off with another contestant, and a second which saw him on a date with Jo-Tara.

Travelling to the Isle of Fernandos, Watkins enthused at the time, "I couldn't think of an awesomer first date", while also naming it as, "definitely the best first date I've ever had". He described himself as a "bit of a big kid", who loved comics and video games. He was a criminology student at York University and worked at a chocolate factory.

A spokesperson for the family has stated: "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. 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."

Furthermore, a fundraising page has been set up in Watkins' memory, with proceeds being donated to mental health charity, 'Mind'. So far, more than £10,000 has been raised.

Charlie Watkins and Jo-Tara depart for their date on the Isle of Fernandos (ITV)

The show's host, Paddy McGuinness, tweeted a tribute before the show aired: "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." He also refrained from live-tweeting the show as he would usually, out of a sign of respect to Watkins and his family.

A spokesperson for Take Me Out added: "It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the tragic news regarding Charlie. Our thoughts and best wishes go to his family and friends. We ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time."

*If you are worried you or a loved one may be suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, phone Samaritans on 116 123*

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