This week: a star of Gogglebox and a rugby international

THE retired teacher Leon Bernicoff, who has died aged 83, became an unusual television star late in life when he and his wife June became one of the first couples to join the cast of Gogglebox, the Channel 4 show which follows ordinary families watching TV.

A devoted Everton fan, Bernicoff met June in 1955 and the couple married five years later.

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During his run on the programme , which began in 2013, he became known for his unforgiving views of public personalities who did not meet with his approval.

Labelled the grandfather of Gogglebox by its creators, Bernicoff and his wife were often seen snacking while watching TV with Leon once telling June: "There's three people in this marriage. You, me and the fridge."

He was also seen recording his voice phone message by the Gogglebox cameras. "This is handsome Leon," it said. "I can't take your call now because I'm making love to June. Sorry about that. Bye."

While watching an emotional scene on Coronation Street in which one character was dying, June told her husband she would not want him to see her if she was seriously sick. He told her: "I will never allow you to have any problems, I'll look after you. You won't go in a home. I'll keep you with me."

Leon Bernicoff was born on October 27 1934 and is survived by wife June, two daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren.

THE rugby player John Atkinson, who has died aged 71, was a former Leeds winger, Great Britain and England international who was known as one of the greatest players in the club's history after making over 500 appearances during the 1960s and 70s.

He won three Challenge Cups, two Premierships, two Championships and a Regal Trophy.

He achieved a total of 401 tries during his career, of which 340 were scored for Leeds, making him the second highest try scorer in the club's history.

The former winger developed Alzheimer's five years ago and was being cared for by his wife Carol Butterfield.