EastEnders pays tribute to soap legend Dot Cotton by recreating her iconic first-ever scene

June Brown as Dot Cotton in EastEnders
EastEnders celebrated the late June Brown by recreating her legendary first scene. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders paid a touching tribute to the soap legend June Brown during last night’s episode (Monday, June 4) by recreating Dot Cotton’s first scene on the soap as a nod to the iconic character.

June made her first appearance in EastEnders as Dot Cotton on July 4, 1985 and to commemorate the anniversary of her first-ever scene, the soap decided to do a clever homage involving Dot’s granddaughter Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy).

As Sonia walked into the café, wearing a similar trench coat to Dot’s, she said to Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth): “Give us a tea, Kath and a glass of water so I can take a paracetamol.”

Kathy Beale and Sonia Fowler

Sonia echoed Dot's first words on the soap. (Image credit: BBC)

These were the first words Dot said as she made her debut on the Square 37 years ago when she entered the café.

Sonia then referenced the soap icon as she continued with: “That early shift was a nightmare. You know, I’ve called on the Lord so many times I think I’m turning into Dot.”

Kathy Beale and Sonia Fowler

Did you spot the clever tribute? (Image credit: BBC)

The soap also gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at how they recreated the scene, which you can watch below…

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June sadly passed away in April at the age of 95 after becoming a national treasure playing Dot Cotton in the long-running soap for 31 years.

She was involved in some huge storylines over the years, 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. 

EastEnders Dot Nick

Dot Cotton with her son, Nasty Nick. (Image credit: BBC)

At the time of her passing, the BBC said: "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."

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides, recaps and features for must-watch shows and delivers all the latest soap news and reactions. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.