It’s a sad day for fans of ‘Eastenders’, as London’s longest-running soap opera today announced that beloved former Albert Square resident June Brown passed away peacefully at home yesterday at the grand age of 95.
Best known for playing the iconic character of Dot Cotton, Brown was one of the east-London-set soap’s longest-running cast members, having appeared in a staggering 2,884 episodes of the show prior to her retirement in 2020.
Born in Suffolk in 1927, Brown trained as an actor at the Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth before taking on a host of television roles including parts in ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Doctor Who’, police drama ‘The Bill’ and cult sci-fi series ‘Survivors’.
She joined the cast of ‘EastEnders’ in 1985 and appeared in the show until 1993, before reprising her role in 1997 and eventually retiring in February 2020.
Over the course of more than 30 years on Albert Square, Brown’s character was responsible for many of the soap’s most iconic moments, including being the victim of a murder plot by her son Nasty Nick and assisting in her terminally ill best friend Ethel’s efforts to end her life with a morphine overdose.
Brown also earned a Bafta nomination in 2009 for her appearance in a powerful solo episode of the soap in which Dot delivers an emotional monologue following her husband’s stroke; she was awarded an MBE for services to drama in the same year.
Announcing the news of Brown’s death, an ‘EastEnders’ spokesperson said: ‘There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at “EastEnders”. June created one of the most iconic characters in Dot Cotton, not just in soap but in British television. Her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten.’
Various fellow cast members of the soap have also shared tributes to the legendary actress on Twitter. Letitia Dean, who plays Sharon Watts, said: ‘My beloved June, I truly loved you. Not just a phenomenal actress but a very dear friend. Oh the fun we have had over the years! I will never stop loving you, thank you for your kindness and your generosity and for loving me the way you did.’
Milly Zero, who plays Dot’s granddaughter Dotty Cotton said: ‘Rest in perfect peace, “Grandma Dot”. I have never met anyone who cared about their craft so deeply. An artist, a national treasure, an icon and an inspiration to us all. You will always live on in the hearts of everybody you touched. There will never be anyone quite like June.’