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.
Her family said they were “deeply saddened” to announce that their “beloved mother” had died “very peacefully” at her home on Sunday.
Dot Cotton was one of the BBC One soap’s longest-running characters and a favourite with viewers. Brown first appeared in the series in 1985, the year EastEnders was created. She stayed until 1993, returning to play the same character from 1997 until 2020.
An EastEnders spokesperson said:
“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 2884 episodes, June’s remarkable performances created some of EastEnders finest moments.”
One of EastEnders’ best-known stars, Brown was in her late 50s when she joined Albert Square.
Actor Leslie Grantham, who played Dirty Den, suggested her for the role. Until then, Brown’s career had incorporated stage, film and television, with appearances in Coronation Street and Doctor Who.
Some of her biggest storylines included Nasty Nick’s murder plot, when her son, played by John Altman, planned to poison her so he could steal her big bingo winnings to use on drugs. He changed his mind at the last minute.
One of her most moving and controversial moments came when her close friend Ethel, who was terminally ill, asked Dot to help her take an overdose of morphine to end her life.
Dot wrestled with her Christian beliefs but left out morphine pills for Ethel to use.
Brown remained a favourite with viewers for years, but during a podcast interview in February 2020, Brown confirmed that she had left the series “for good”.
In the last episode she featured in, Dot Cotton – or Dot Branning – left a voicemail message for another character, Sonia Fowler, saying she had moved to Ireland.