An inquest into the suicide of a Take Me Out contestant who took his life four months after filming for the show reveals he lost his job because he took unauthorised days off to take part in the dating programme.
Charlie Watkins was only 22-years-old when his flatmate discovered his body. Producers at Take Me Out consulted his family about the episode which was set to be shown the following month, however his family asked for it to be aired in tribute to Charlie.
Charlie appeared on the popular ITV dating show in a bid to find ‘The One’ as he was disappointed he had been unlucky in love during his three years at York University.
York Coroners’ Court heard the Criminology graduate had landed himself a job at the York Chocolate Story chocolate museum and shop, ‘a few months’ after completing his degree.
However due to the four-day filming process at Take Me Out’s studio in Maidstone, Kent, and Charlie still being on his probation period, he was let go from his position.
According to his twin brother Harry, Charlie had not informed York Chocolate Story of his absence as he did not have his phone during filming. He missed calls from work and had his employment terminated when he returned.
Housemate and lacrosse teammate Swabir Abdul Rahmam, aged 24, told the inquest:
He really loved his job at the chocolate factory – he was happy.
But when he went to go film for the Take Me Out TV programme, he lost his job – they terminated his contract.
The inquest hearing brought up how losing his mother at the age of nine, and then his grandmother, grandfather and aunt within a five year period greatly effected Charlie.
After the hearing his brother stated that he was unaware Charlie ‘was still struggling with our mother’s death’, adding: ‘we thought he had got better.’
It was also revealed in the inquest by friends and family that Charlie had a history with self-harming and had taken anti-depressant medication in the past.
However Rahman had told the court his friend had moved past that particular moment in his life and ‘he was cheerful and happy’.
Charlie’s psychiatrist, Vivienne Sabre, added he was:
… the life and soul of every party, but would suddenly retreat into the back of his mind moments later.
Charlie, who called himself ‘Chaz Man’ on the show, featured on Take Me Out in February – even posting his application on Facebook. He joined host Paddy McGuinness and scored a date with female contestant Jo-Tara. The pair jetted off to show’s fictional Isle of Fernando’s where the date was said to have gone ‘very well’.
Prior to the show’s airing date on April 23 – which was approved by his family – McGuinness posted a tribute on Twitter saying:
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.
However, North Yorkshire Coroner Rob Turnbull told the inquest he was ‘unable to answer questions put in front of him’ as Charlie left no suicide note and his mother had died ‘some years ago’.
Charlie was witty, charming and a considerate young man – that is what people thought of him.
He was all but a popular young man and it was in a sad set of circumstances his life was to end the way it did.
Charlie’s family have since set up a foundation in his name to help others battling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide.
For more information or if you wish to donate to The Charlie Watkins Foundation please click here.
If any of these issues have affected you, please don’t suffer in silence. Call Samaritans on their free 24-hour hotline on 116 123.