EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy reveals secrets from her friendship with June Brown

Sonia Fowler and Dot Cotton in EastEnders
EastEnders' Natalie Cassidy had a close friendship with June Brown. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders favourite Natalie Cassidy has revealed details about her special friendship with the late soap legend June Brown.

June sadly passed away in April this year at the age of 95 years old after playing EastEnders icon Dot Cotton for 31 years, going down in TV history as one of the soap's most legendary characters.

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

Natalie has played Dot's step-granddaughter, Sonia Fowler, since 1993 and the pair shared a close relationship both on and off screen since Natalie was a young girl.

From holidaying together to bonding in their dressing rooms, Natalie gave us an insight into her special friendship with June, who she often dined with in the canteen instead of her younger co-stars at the time.

Sonia Fowler comforts Dot Cotton outside a hearse as Fatboy watches on

Natalie and June shared a close bond both on and off-screen. (Image credit: BBC)

She told What To Watch: "There's a lot of memories. When I was 14, 15, we used to go to lunch in the canteen and chat away. I was a young teenager but I loved old company. I also had older parents, so I was always around older people. I'm a bit of an old soul. So instead of going to lunch with the youngsters I was working with, I'd spend time with June, Barbara or Pam."

Natalie then went on to reveal how much June taught her about the world of acting and that they even went on holiday together.

She said: "I spent hours in the dressing room with June, talking about her life and she taught me so much. Mostly to listen to other people, which is the biggest secret I think of acting. She used to say every sentence you say is a song, never be flat. It's like a tune, try to slow it down, pace it up. I'll always take that with me

"We had such fun. We used to go on holiday together. She used to stay at my flat. We had a two-hander episode when Sonia gave Bex away, the adoption stuff. We had a couple of nights at my flat where we had a curry, drank a bottle of wine and went over our lines. I'm such a lucky, lucky woman to have had the training from the best."

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.