EastEnders stalwart June Brown has described the single-hander episode she filmed for the soap as “the easiest thing” she has ever done.
The episode titled Pretty Baby was written by EastEnders script veteran Tony Jordan and aired in January 2008. It featured Dot reminiscing about the past as she made a tape recording for husband Jim (John Bardon), explaining her decision to place him in a care home.
Reflecting on the landmark episode during an appearance on RTÉs Late Late Show, Brown told host Ryan Tubridy:
“It was the easiest thing I ever had to do in all my life! I’ll tell you why: A) I knew the character backwards; I knew exactly how she’d behave and what she’d feel and I’d known her history. So you’re not struggling to find all those things – you’ve got it there.
“And the other thing is – I won’t swear, I won’t say anything rude – nobody mucked you up! You see, there was nobody [co-star] to give you the wrong note or to take too long a pause or not come in fast enough so that you couldn’t take off from what they said.
“You did it yourself. So, and actually, it’s a dreadful thing to say, but I found it very, very, very easy. I enjoyed it enormously, we did it very fast.”
The episode earned Brown a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress at the BAFTA awards 2009 – the first time a soap actor had been nominated for an acting gong at the ceremony since Coronation Street‘s Jean Alexander in 1988.
Anna Maxwell-Martin triumphed over Brown to win the award for her performance in Channel 4’s adaption of Poppy Shakespeare. Asked about losing out on the BAFTA, Brown revealed:
“You never do [win] if you’re in a soap… It’s true! Jean Alexander, you know, who played Hilda Ogden, she was nominated. Lovely performance, wonderful performance her Hilda Ogden – she didn’t get it.
“I would’ve liked it. I would’ve felt it had crowned my acting in a way, made it sound worthwhile, I think. So I didn’t care that I didn’t get nominated for any other awards that time!
“It all depends where it [performance] comes [in a year]: if you have a good performance at a certain time, it’s too far back and people have forgotten. So the ones that come nearer [the awards], they’d get more chance. But no, I would’ve liked to have got it, that is true.”
Brown was appearing on the show to promote her new book Before the year Dot now available from Amazon and other retailers.