The BBC has announced that EastEnders legend June Brown, who is best known for her iconic role as Walford's Dot Cotton, has sadly died at the age of 95.
June, who became a much-loved part of EastEnders since the show started back in 1985, is said to have passed away over the weekend.
June became a national treasure after playing Dot Cotton in EastEnders for so many years, having enjoyed some huge storylines over the years. It was announced in February 2020 that she would be leaving the soap for good.
June appeared in a staggering 2884 episodes of EastEnders, with some of her biggest storylines including 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. Thankfully he changed his mind at the last minute, but fans were on the edge of their seats as the storyline played out.
One of Dot's most moving and iconic 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. Being a Christian, Dot wrestled with her beliefs but left out morphine pills for Ethel to use.
June's five children announced the sad news today with a statement that reads: "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."
A BBC statement added: "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 adopted 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.
"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."
Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer for EastEnders added “When you join EastEnders, there are some characters both on and off screen that are just iconic and June Brown, OBE, MBE is at the top of that list.
"Her creation and portrayal of Dot Cotton made a huge impact in British television, she created iconic moments that not only entertained the nation but at times changed it a little for the better. I had the pleasure of working with June when I was the Story Producer and when you have the talent such as June Brown to work with, you always knew it was going to be magic.
"I speak for us all at EastEnders when I say that today is a very sad day as June Brown was a truly special and unforgettable woman. We send our deepest sympathies to June’s family.”
Tim Davie, BBC Director General said: “June Brown was a brilliantly talented actor who was loved by millions. Her performances as the incomparable Dot Cotton delivered some of the most memorable moments in soap history. June was hugely loved by the cast and crew and she will always hold a special place in the public’s affections. Our thoughts are with her family and many friends.”
EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale in the soap also shared her sadness at June's passing" “I’m truly heartbroken by this news. June Brown OBE, MBE, was an amazing woman and a truly wonderful actress. I shared many scenes with her over the years and she was always someone I looked up to and learnt from. There will never be another June Brown and I’m sending all my love to her family.”
Ian Beale actor Adam Woodyatt added: “I’m lost for words, something June never was. So many memories, so much fun. Just purely and simply an incredible woman who had the most incredible life and career, I was fortunate to have shared a small part of it. They never made you a Dame (we did try), but to me you will always be Dame Brown.”
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Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia.
After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off.
She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz!
As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.