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June Brown dies aged 95

Broadcasting

June Brown dies aged 95

Jane Brown, who played Dot Cotton in EastEnders for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 95.

The actress’s passing was announced by her family, who said in a statement:

“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.”

Before joining the BBC soap, Brown had roles in Coronation StreetDoctor WhoMinder and The Bill, as well as costume dramas The Duchess of Duke Street and Oliver Twist.

In 1969, Gentle To Nora for LWT.

In the series Oranges and Lemons, episode ‘Brenda’ from 1973. LWT.

June Brown with Violet Carson in a scene from Coronation Street. Granada Television.

But she will be best remembered for playing the iconic Albert Square resident in more than 2000 episodes between 1985-2020.

As one of EastEnders‘ best-loved characters, Dot was known for her chain smoking, bible quotes, and exaggerated health complaints.

The primary function of the character was to spread gossip much to the ire of her neighbours – her job at the launderette allowed her to listen in on others’ conversations. However, there were big storylines too that explored issues such as euthanasia, cancer and homophobia.

ITV Sunday Night Theatre, 1969, LWT

June as Aunt Sadie in LWT’s Now and Then, 1983-84.

Her relationship with her villainous son Nick, played by John Altman, was central to many of her storylines. She was recklessly gullible when it came to her offspring, despite the fact that he repeatedly posed a threat to her life. The multiple affairs and long absences of her first husband, Charlie (Christopher Hancock), also brought her heartbreak.

Later in life, Dot fell in love with Jim Branning (John Bardon), Carol Jackson’s gambling, booze-loving dad. On paper, Dot and Jim seemed incompatible, but Jim’s devotion to her eventually won Dot over, leading him to propose on the London Eye in 2001. The pair were married on Valentines Day 2002.

Reunited with Lofty and Mary for Dr Legg’s funeral.

Friendship for decades, Dot and Dr Legg.

Launderette days, with Pauline Fowler.

Brown quit the show in February 2020 amid dissatisfaction at the writing for her character – this was also the reason for a previous departure from Albert Square in the early 90s that saw her pursue other projects for four years.

In 2003, the BBC, acknowledging the character’s popularity, broadcast a spin-off episode about Dot’s early life, while, in 2009, June was nominated for a Best Actress BAFTA for an episode of EastEnders in which she was the sole performer featured.

Den Watts gave Dot a lot to talk about.

Best of friends, Ethel and Dot.

Second love. Dot and Jim.

On the actress’s passing, a statement from EastEnders read:

“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.

“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.” 

Whilst on a break from Albert Square the actress starred in the comedy Ain’t Misbehavin in 1997, and she played Nanny Slagg in Gormenghast in 2000.

Dot helps Disa, one of her many waifs and strays, a good turn by the Bible loving Christian.

Central TV’s Spitting Image puppet of the character.

A Big Impression of Dot with Alistair McGowan.

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