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A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country viewers ‘in tears’ over emotional Jonnie Irwin tribute

TV viewers were left emotional after A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country paid tribute to presenter Jonnie Irwin, who passed away from cancer earlier this month.

Irwin, who was 50, had co-hosted the popular property TV show since 2004, and had also been one of the presenters on Escape to the Country since 2010.

The broadcaster and father of three, who helped British property hunters find their dream homes in A Place in the Sun, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2022, and died on Friday (2 February).

An episode of the series, which was broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday (5 February), followed househunters through five properties in Manilva in Spain, and was presented by Danni Menzies. At the start of the programme, an announcement said the episode would be dedicated to the presenter’s memory.

A tribute also rolled after the credits with an image of Irwin alongside a message saying: “In memory of Jonnie Irwin 1973-2024.”

One viewer, Luce Grocott, said on X/Twitter: “Choking back tears at seeing Jonnie Irwin on his final show, and the tribute at the end! Rest well now Jonnie you fought the hard fight”.

Tributes were paid to Irwin who passed away from a terminal cancer diagnosis on Friday (Channel 4)
Tributes were paid to Irwin who passed away from a terminal cancer diagnosis on Friday (Channel 4)

It comes as Escape the Country also paid homage to the late presenter, who was a favourite among fans, with a montage of his highlights on the show.

Also on Monday, a repeat of an old episode of the BBC One property show was broadcast. It showed Irwin helping a retired couple find a house in Somerset so they could make the move from Reading.

At the end, clips of Irwin surfing, playing baseball and sitting on a moving model train were shown.

In one of the clips, he was heard saying: “I love this job sometimes,” and in another, he joked: “It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.”

At the end of the montage, an image of Irwin was shown on screen alongside his name and the dates “1973 – 2024”.

Jonnie Irwin had presented A Place in the Sun since 2004 (Channel 4)
Jonnie Irwin had presented A Place in the Sun since 2004 (Channel 4)

Gary Rowe, a viewer who has been watching Irwin’s property shows for over 20 years, said on X/Twitter: “It was like watching a close friend, even though I never met him.”

Rob Unsworth, Head of BBC Daytime and Early Peak Commissioning, also paid tribute to Jonnie Irwin, calling him “an extraordinary man and wonderful presenter”.

The news of Irwin’s death was announced on Friday (2 February) on the presenter’s Instagram account.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Jonnie’s passing. A truly remarkable soul, he fought bravely against cancer with unwavering strength and courage. Jonnie touched the lives of so many with his kindness, warmth, and infectious spirit,” the moving post read alongside a photo of Irwin and his wife Jessica Holmes.

“At this time, we kindly ask for the privacy of Jonnie’s family as they navigate through this profound loss. Their grief is immeasurable, and your thoughts, prayers, and support are deeply appreciated.

“As we remember the beautiful moments shared with Jonnie, let us celebrate a life well-lived and a legacy that will forever be etched in our hearts. Jonnie may be gone from our sight, but his love, laughter, and memories will live on.

“Rest in peace, dear Jonnie. You will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.”