EastEnders stalwart June Brown, famous for playing Dot Cotton, dies at the age of 95

JUNE Brown, best known for playing Dot Cotton in BBC soap opera EastEnders, has died at the age of 95.

Monday, 4th April 2022, 2:02 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 2:12 pm

The BBC announced the actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday, with her family by her side.

An EastEnders spokeswoman said: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved June Brown, OBE, MBE, sadly passed away last night.

‘There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at EastEnders, her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten.

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BBC undated handout photo of June Brown passed away at her home in Surrey on Sunday. Pictured is June Brown and John Bardon in their roles as Gretchen Franklin (left) as Ethel and June Brown as Dot Cotton during an episode of EastEnders. Picture: BBC/PA Wire.

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‘June created one of the most iconic characters in Dot Cotton, not just in soap but in British television, and having appeared in 2,884 episodes, June’s remarkable performances created some of EastEnders’ finest moments.

‘We send all our love and deepest sympathies to June’s family and friends. A very bright light has gone out at EastEnders today but we shall all be raising a sweet sherry in June’s memory.

‘Rest in peace, our dearest June. You will never be forgotten.’

A statement from Brown’s family said: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce our beloved mother, June, passed away very peacefully at her home in Surrey on Sunday evening, with her family by her side.

‘We would kindly ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.’

Ms Brown’s 35-year run as the Albert Square mainstay began in 1985.

She then left the show in 2020 and broke the news to little fanfare – revealing the decision on a podcast.

Ms Brown was considered by many as EastEnders’ best-known star, and larger-than-life Dot was known for her devout Christian faith and hypochondria, as well as her endless cigarette addiction.

The veteran actress, who had a long career in television and theatre, was a regular on the show for more than three decades – only taking breaks in 1993 and 1997.

On January 31, 2008, she single-handedly starred in an episode called Pretty Baby, in which she spoke to a cassette recorder about her life so that her husband could listen to it as he lay in hospital following a stroke.

Ms Brown served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service at the end of the Second World War, and then left to train at London’s Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth.

She had roles in Coronation Street, Doctor Who, Minder and The Bill, and appeared in costume dramas The Duchess Of Duke Street and Oliver Twist, before joining EastEnders.

Some of Dot’s biggest storylines explored controversial issues such as euthanasia, cancer and homophobia.

Her marriage to Jim Branning, played by John Bardon, was popular among fans – while she was also mother to the notorious criminal Nick Cotton, played by John Altman.

Brown won several awards for her portrayal of Dot, including a lifetime achievement honour at the 2005 British Soap Awards.

In December 2021 Brown was made an OBE in the New Year Honours, as she was recognised for services to drama and to charity.

She was previously made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to drama and charity.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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