EastEnders star Gary Hailes reveals amazing June Brown memories ahead of his legendary return

Gary Hailes as Barry Clark in EastEnders
Gary Hailes shared revealed some amusing moments working with EastEnders legend June Brown. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Former EastEnders star Gary Hailes revealed some funny moments working with the late June Brown during his time on the soap.

Gary went down in soap history for his role as Barry Clark in EastEnders as he and his on-screen boyfriend Colin Russell (Lord Michael Cashman CBE) famously became the soap's first gay couple in the 80s.

Now, after 33 years since leaving Walford, Barry is set to return for Dot Cotton's funeral.

June sadly passed away in April this year at the age of 95 years old after playing soap legend Dot Cotton for 31 years.

Now the Square is set to pay its respects to June's soap alter-ego Dot in an emotional send-off after they discovered that Dot had passed away earlier this month.

Colin Russell and Barry Clark

Barry Clark and his boyfriend Colin Russell when they first appeared in the soap.  (Image credit: BBC)

Gary reminisced fondly about his time working with June and told us some very funny moments that particularly stood out for him as they filmed scenes together.

He told What To Watch: "Everyone always reminds me of the scene in the launderette where she discovers that we're gay. But I remember a lot of the funny scenes that we did together. There were a lot of scenes that June did in the early days that were really funny.

"I remember Barry and Dot doing a boot sale or something on the Square and she had a china pot and I didn't know what it was and she said that it was a gazunder. I had no idea what a gazunder was so she explained that it goes under the bed. Things like that, I loved."

June Brown as Dot Cotton

Gary is set to reprise his role as Barry for Dot Cotton's funeral. (Image credit: BBC)

Gary added: "She was such a lovely person to work with. I remember being in the green room and she was so full of energy. You'd have a conversation with June and then if she got called in for a scene or to rehearse, she would leave the room, still in the midst of that conversation. 

"As the door would close, the conversation would stop and 20 minutes later she'd come back in and she would continue from where she left off, literally to the word! It was stunning. She was such a special person."

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.