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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ian Hyland

EastEnders Dot Cotton funeral episodes 'made us remember how great this show used to be'

There was good news and bad news for EastEnders as Dot Branning was laid to rest earlier this week.

The good news was that Monday night’s funeral gave the BBC soap its biggest ratings of the year.

The bad news was that, obviously, they can’t bury Dot every week.

Sure enough, following Tuesday’s wake, the panto was back last night – both literally and figuratively speaking.

“Watch the EastEnders residents doing Snow White down the community centre” is not exactly a line to bring the viewers flooding back. Well, unless “Snow White” is street slang and Alfie Moon has scored a few kilos.

Dot Cotton's legacy was celebrated in BBC's EastEnders this week (BBC / Jack Barnes)
June played Dot on the BBC1 soap for 35 years (Getty Images)

The best the BBC can hope for is that some of the casual viewers who came back to see Dot off will have been so seduced by the rampant nostalgia that they’ll be better disposed to tuning in again in future.

That’s not a criticism, by the way. If ever there was a time for rampant nostalgia this was it – although, having said that, at one point there were so many old publicity photos flying around I thought someone was having a clear out at the EastEnders press office.

Monday’s and Tuesday’s episodes did exactly what we needed them to do. They made us celebrate Dot – and June Brown. They made us remember just how great this show used to be. They made us laugh. And they made us cry.

The nostalgic episodes 'made us remember how great this show used to be' (PA)

Not everyone, obviously. For some viewers, the most poignant sight would have been those England flags hanging forlornly outside the Queen Vic a full two days after Olivier Giroud’s coup de gras in Qatar.

For me the highlights were the little things, such as hearing Dot’s voice again on her old tape recorder, seeing Barry Clark re-emerge after 30 years looking like a lost Mitchell brother or witnessing Sonia and her trumpet reunited in all their majesty.

However, nothing could top the pure joy of watching the congregation members rise one by one for their own “I’m Spartacus” moment after Sonia (dressed as Anne Boleyn, for some reason) fluffed the eulogy.

Whaddaya mean that bit wasn’t supposed to be funny?

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