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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rebecca Cook

How June Brown was completely different to EastEnders icon Dot Cotton in real life

Actress June Brown, who played the much-loved character Dot Cotton on EastEnders for more than three decades, has died at the age of 95.

Dot Cotton was a fan favourite and one of the BBC soap's longest-running characters, first appearing in the series in 1985, the year EastEnders was created.

She stayed until 1993, returning to play the same character from 1997 until 2020.

While Dot was only supposed to be on Albert Square for a short amount of time, June impressed showrunners and carried on to become the first and only soap actor to carry an entire episode by herself in January 2008.

June remained a staple on the show for 35 years until announcing she had left “for good” in February 2020.

June Brown was iconic in the role of Dot Cotton (BBC / Jack Barnes)

Dot left Walford after discovering that Martin Fowler was responsible for stealing her savings, when in fact it was actually granddaughter Sonia, and in her final scenes left an emotional voicemail explaining she had gone to Ireland to visit her grandson Charlie.

For June’s 90th birthday, the BBC commissioned a documentary dedicated to the soap powerhouse, entitled June Brown at 90: A Walford Legend, which saw a behind the scenes look at June’s transformation into Dot on set.

Speaking in the make-up trailer as her red Dot wig was removed to reveal her bleached white fringe beneath, June said in the documentary: “People ask me if I'm like Dot, but there's not an awful lot of me in Dot, I don't think.”

She continued: “I don't take her home with me. I'm not one of those who lives the part. That's a very, very amateur approach.”

June was incredibly close with on-screen son John (PA)

The documentary also saw June’s EastEnders cast members past and present pay tribute to the star and her iconic character.

Rudolph Walker, who plays Patrick Trueman on the BBC soap, said: “She's a lady of immense experience. Getting to 90 is an achievement in itself. Getting to 90 and working in this industry is something remarkable. She's just an amazing lady.”

Danny Dyer, who plays Mick Carter and is said to exit the BBC soap, added: “I've worked with some very famous people over the years, some very powerful people, some very good actors and there's just something about her where you go 'wow'.”

June played the role of Dot for 35 years (BBC)
Dot and Nick had a dysfunctional relationship (BBC)

Meanwhile, Gillian Taylforth of Kathy Beale fame said of Dot that June “made that character”, adding: “Everything you see is what June added. All those little bits like the cigarette and the way the curls came in her hair. That's what she wanted.”

“She has turned Dot into an icon,” added Lacey Turner, who plays Stacey Slater. “She created her out of nothing and that's incredible.”

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