New Year’s Gongs for June Brown and William Roache

The Corrie and EastEnders icons have been given OBE’s.

In the New Year’s Honours for 2022 veteran soap stars June Brown and William Roache have been bestowed OBE’s. June, who was a regular in EastEnders from 1985 through to 2020, quit the show after 35 years while William has been with Coronation Street since its first episode in 1960 and shows no sign of wanting to take things easy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world. The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution.

Joanna Lumley who has appeared in Coronation Street, and also the UK serial General Hosptial, has been made a Dame.

June Brown was born in Suffolk in 1927, she was the elder of 5 children, however, two of her siblings tragically lost their lives at early ages to illness. During WW2, June was evacuated to Wales and later served in the Wrens during the war. At 17, she married actor John Garley but he suffered from depression and took his own life in the late 50s. Brown remarried a year later in 1958 to Robert Arnold who was known for his role in the BBC show Dixon Of Dock Green. The pair had six children but their second daughter was premature and died after only 16 days.

Brown remained married to Arnold for several decades until his death in 2003. Since then she has lived alone. Brown is a classically trained actress and trained at the Old Vic Theatre School in London. Although early TV appearances can be traced back as early as the 1960s, her best-remembered material dates from the 70s when she had a small role in ITV soap Coronation Street as Mrs Parsons and played Lady Eleanor in the Doctor Who serial “The Time Warrior.” Throughout the seventies and eighties, Brown also starred in medical soap Angels, history-of-Britain Churchill’s People, long-running comedy-drama Minder, police soap The Bill, and cult sci-fi series Survivors.

It is however her role as gossip Dot Cotton/Branning in BBC One’s EastEnders that has made her a much-loved household name.

William Roache was born in the Basford, Nottingham, in 1932. He joined the British Army and was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in 1953. A year later, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He left in 1956 with the rank of captain due to injuries sustained from an explosion.

Following his departure from the Army Roache ventured into performing making appearances in numerous stage productions, then taking on uncredited or supporting roles in several films before moving to small parts in television serials including Knight Errant Limited, Marking Time, and Skyport. In November 1960 he joined the cast of Coronation Street with the first live episode airing on December 9th. As Ken Barlow he hasn’t been far from the action over those seven decades.

William lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire. He married his first wife Anna Cropper (1938–2007) in 1961, however it ended in divorce in 1974. The couple had two children together Linus and Vanya (1967-2018) Linus followed in his father’s footsteps and is also an actor. Roache married his second wife, Sara McEwan Mottram, in 1978. She died suddenly on 7 February 2009 at their home, at the age of 58. With Sara, he had a daughter named Verity and a younger son, actor James Roache. A second daughter, Edwina, died at the age of 18 months on 16 November 1984. Roache dated weather reporter Emma Jesson from 2010 to 2012.

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