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June Brown dies at 95: EastEnders actress’s incredible life and unlikely friendship with Lady Gaga

EastEnders star June Brown led a life that was as dramatic and tragic off-screen as her on-screen character Dot Cotton, as the actress’ death was announced by the BBC on Monday at the age of 95.

Known for playing the chain-smoking, gossiping EastEnder, the actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side after playing the iconic character for 21 years.

While June became one of the most iconic figures in soap, her journey to fame wasn’t easy, and after overcoming childhood tragedy that included the loss of two of her siblings, the star battled hardship raising her large family before rising to prominence with her famous role.

Sad: EastEnders star June Brown led a life that was as dramatic and tragic off-screen as her on-screen character Dot Cotton, as the actress’ death was announced by the BBC on Monday at the age of 95

Born in Needham Market, Suffolk in 1927 as one of five children, June’s father Henry was a wealthy businessman before he went bust during the Second World War investing in German banks.

The star’s mother Louise was a milliner, and the star previously confessed that she felt her mother viewed in much lower regard than her siblings, describing herself as the ‘mongrel’ of the family. 

June’s childhood was also tinged with tragedy, after her younger brother, John, died of pneumonia in 1932 when he was just 15 days old, and her sister Marise died of meningitis two years later when she was just eight years old. 

RIP: Known for playing the chain-smoking, gossiping EastEnder, the actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side after playing the iconic character for 21 years

RIP: Known for playing the chain-smoking, gossiping EastEnder, the actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side after playing the iconic character for 21 years

Stunning: Born as one of five children, June eventually landed a spot at the prestigious Old Vic Theatre School, and made her first television appearance in 1959

Stunning: Born as one of five children, June eventually landed a spot at the prestigious Old Vic Theatre School, and made her first television appearance in 1959

The star previously admitted that the loss ‘shaped the way she behaved for a long time’, writing in her autobiography: ‘In particular, it influenced my expectations of men. Too dependent, I found it impossible to be happy alone. I was constantly in and out of love, always looking for the kind of caring she had given me.’

She added: ‘Micie was the only person to know the real me. The result was that I’ve spent my life looking for a companion who could show me the same sort of love. And I’ve never found anyone to match her.’ 

June excelled in her studies and evenutually landed a scholarship at Ipswich High School in the hope of becoming a biologist, but her father insisted she would only ‘go off and get married.’

Having served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service at the end of the war, June first discovered her love of acting during her time in the RNS, and once the war was over she got a job as a cinema operator.

Ordeal: She met and married her first husband John Garley in 1950 when she was just 23. However John struggled with depression and died by suicide just seven years later after gassing himself

Ordeal: She met and married her first husband John Garley in 1950 when she was just 23. However John struggled with depression and died by suicide just seven years later after gassing himself

June eventually won a place at the coveted London’s Old Vic Theatre School, where she met and married her first husband John Garley in 1950 when she was just 23.

However John struggled with depression and died by suicide just seven years later after gassing himself, and June previously detailed her regrets at abandoning her husband at his lowest moments.

She told The Mirror in 2013: I should never have left him. But I was tired. I couldn’t stand any more,’ after both she and Johnny had been unfaithful to one another. 

Tough times: She married her second husband Robert Arnold in 1958, and the pair went onto have six children. June openly detailed the hardships her family faced while she and Robert worked as jobbing actors

Tough times: She married her second husband Robert Arnold in 1958, and the pair went onto have six children. June openly detailed the hardships her family faced while she and Robert worked as jobbing actors 

June also spoke of her guilt at leaving him at home by himself and the horror of discovering his body in their flat. She said it was only in the latter stages of his life that she had any inkling that he was having suicidal thoughts. 

Before landing her iconic soap role, June performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, for many years, appearing alongside stage icons such as Alec Guinness, John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft. 

She made her first television appearance as Chica, a native, in The Rough and Ready in 1959, and alongside an array of TV bit parts, even starred in Coronation Street as the mother of Tony Parsons 

In 1958 she married her second husband, actor Robert Arnold, and the pair went onto have six children in seven years, although their second child, daughter Chloe died after just 16 days after being born prematurely.

Despite confessing to several affairs, June was married to Robert for 45 years, until he passed away in 2003 after battling Lewy-body dementia. 

June openly detailed the hardship she faced as a jobbing actor raising her large family, and was no stranger to bringing her children along to the set when she was unable to find childcare.

Iconic: Despite originally joining the EastEnders cast for three months, June won an army of fans with her role as chain-smoking gossip Dot, who was forever tormented by her villainous son Nick

Iconic: Despite originally joining the EastEnders cast for three months, June won an army of fans with her role as chain-smoking gossip Dot, who was forever tormented by her villainous son Nick

She also previously discussed how close to the poverty line she and husband Robert were when she landed the role of Dot Cotton.

She said: ‘I’d been offered no work, was trapped in a hole and couldn’t see my way out. I earned just £3,000 a year, not enough to support my husband, who was always in and out of work all the time, and our five teenage kids.

‘There was just no hope for the future – it was a choice between money for the electricity bill or saving the family from starvation.’

While June originally joined the EastEnders cast, she was already in her late fifties, and was originally booked for just a three-month stint as villain Nick Cotton’s long-suffering mother Dot.

Known for her devotion to her religion and heavy chain-smoking, she quickly became a hit with viewers, and went onto star in 2,884 episodes of the soap over 21 years.

Dot temporarily left the soap between 1993 and 1997 before she returned to the square. June also took six months off in 2012 to write her autobiography.

For the ages: Hard-nosed Dot's relationship with Jim Branning warmed viewers' hearts throughout her time on the soap, until Jim was sadly written out in 2011 after actor John Bardon suffered a strok

For the ages: Hard-nosed Dot’s relationship with Jim Branning warmed viewers’ hearts throughout her time on the soap, until Jim was sadly written out in 2011 after actor John Bardon suffered a strok

Dot’s enduring popularity with viewers turned June into a cultural icon, adored by the soap’s legions of fans.

Although she loved portraying the character, the actress admitted her fame was sometimes difficult for her family to deal with.  

She said: ‘They got fed up with it. If we went shopping and people would stop for an autograph, nowadays it’s a selfie, you’re always being stopped. 

‘I would always stop. They put you where you are don’t they? Your fans. You should appreciate your fans.’

In 2008 June also earned critical acclaim when she appeared in EastEnders’ first single-handed episode, when Dot recorded a message for her husband Jim Branning, who had suffered a stroke.

Her performance in the scene earned unanimous praise from viewers, and she became one of very few soap actresses to earn a BAFTA nomination. 

One of Dot’s biggest storylines in recent years was for the show’s 30th anniversary when she gave her son Nick a fatal dose of heroin and let him die.  

The character began to appear less frequently from February 2015 due to June gradually losing her eyesight and having difficulty reading the scripts.

This was later written into the character the following year, with June making sporadic appearances on EastEnders since 2017, with Dot becoming a millionaire in 2019 after learning her longtime friend Dr Legg had left his entire estate.

In 2020, June then announced that she had left EastEnders for good after growing disatisfied with recent storylines, telling the Distinct Nostalgia podcast, June said: ‘It’s almost as if I’ve been bereaved. I don’t want a retainer for EastEnders, I’ve left. I’ve left for good. 

‘I’ve sent her off to Ireland where she’ll stay. I’ve left EastEnders. I did make up a limerick. It’s a bit dirty.

June then recited the limerick: ‘I went back to do a good story. Alas and alack, when I got back it had gone up in smoke. I got a small part, a very small part. And that ended up as a big wet fart. Alas and alack, I will never go back.’

Dot Cotton’s Biggest Storylines

History: Dot has been involved in a number of dramatic storylines throughout her years in Walford

History: Dot has been involved in a number of dramatic storylines throughout her years in Walford 

Dot’s debut – 1985: Dot Cotton made her debut in EastEnders in July of that year as the mother of notorious criminal Nick Cotton and the best friend of Ethel Skinner. Despite Nick stealing from his mother and attempting to poison her, Dot believes he can be redeemed.

Dot temporarily leaves Albert Square – 1993: Nick’s girlfriend Zoe Newton arrives in Walford and introduces Dot to their nine-year-old son, Ashley Cotton.  Dot becomes close with her grandson and Zoe asks her to move to Gravesend with them.

Nick is thrown behind bars when Dot returns – 1997: Dot moves back to the square after Nigel Bates tracks her down. Nick has been arrested for drug possession and she is shocked when he returns unexpectedly. He begins stealing from her again and falsely claims to have AIDS. Dot discovers the lie and reports him to the police.

Dot helps her friend Ethel to die – 2000: Ethel begs Dot to help end her life after she comes terminally ill. Torn between her deeply held Christian beliefs against euthanasia and her friend’s wishes, Dot ultimately helps Ethel to die with pills, but later thinks she should be jailed for murder. Feeling she should be punished, Dot ends up in court for shoplifting. She is jailed for 14 days for contempt of court following an outburst in the courtroom. 

Dot ties the knot for a second time – 2002: Dot starts a relationship with neighbour Jim Branning. When he proposes, she is overwhelmed and leaves Walford. Jim perseveres and proposes to Dot a second time when they visit the London Eye on Christmas Eve. They decide to have a platonic marital relationship. 

Dot appears in EastEnders’ first ever single-handed episode – 2008: In an emotional episode, Dot recorded a message for her husband Jim after he suffered a stroke. The episode featured only her character and June was praised by viewers for her emotional performance. 

Dot watches on as Nick dies – 2015: After years of forgiving him for his crimes, Dot accepts Nick’s inability to change. After he asks her to buy him heroin, she agrees and gives it to him. Nick confesses he murdered Reg Cox as he lays dying and Dot decides not to call an ambulance to save him.  

Sonia steals from Dot – 2019: Sonia resorts to stealing from her step-grandmother after a blackmail threat from Martin’s hit-and-run victim. She covers her tracks by claiming hackers are to blame after trying to steal thousands from Dot’s bank account. 

Alongside her iconic soap role, June also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas Special in 2010, taking to the dancefloor with pro Vincent Simone, and like her on-screen persona, smoked heavily from the age of 16.

An avid supporter of the Conservative party, June was no stranger to sharing her cutting opinions on social media, and even joked she was hoping to be ‘buried at sea’ following her death.

Despite a decades-long history in the acting world, one of June’s more iconic moments came when she formed an unlikely friendship with pop superstar Lady Gaga in 2013.

In a clip from the star’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show, the pop superstar can be seen beaming with excitement as she and June embraced.

Asked whether she knew of June ahead of the interview, Gaga said: ‘I am a very big fan of yours, I just don’t watch a lot of television. You are so fabulously dressed and I’m honoured to be seated next to you.’

In 2019 June also revealed that Gaga even invited her on a night out, telling the Loose Women panel: ‘She invited me to a private thing, unfortunately I was doing Piers Morgan the next day.

‘I’m not showing off, I’m telling the truth and I had to be in early and you’re in all day long. I can’t go clubbing if I’ve got to be alert the next day.’

Gone! In 2020, June then announced that she had left EastEnders for good after growing disatisfied with recent storylines (pictured in 2019)

Gone! In 2020, June then announced that she had left EastEnders for good after growing disatisfied with recent storylines (pictured in 2019)

June’s death was announced in a statement from the BBC on Monday, revealing she died peacefully on Monday while the BBC urged fans to raise a glass of sweet sherry in her memory.

An EastEnders spokesman 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 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 2,884 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.’

‘We’ll be raising a sweet sherry in her memory’: Heartbreak as EastEnders icon June Brown dies aged 95 after playing chain-smoking launderette manager Dot Cotton in 2,884 episodes of BBC soap opera over 35 years 

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline

  • The actress died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side, the BBC revealed today
  • One of Britain’s greatest soap stars was on EastEnders for 35 years, leaving the show in 2020 at the age of 93,
  • Brown, who began her career on Coronation Street married first husband, John Garley, in 1950, but he died
  • June married actor Robert Arnold in 1958. He died in 2003 after 45 years of marriage and six children

EastEnders legend June Brown, best known for her role as Albert Square busybody Dot Cotton, has died at the age of 95, the BBC has announced.

The actress, a mother-of-six born in rural Suffolk in 1927, died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side, two years after her final appearance on the soap and 35 years after her debut.

Fellow stars including Adam Woodyatt, who played Ian Beale until last year, Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale in the show and Letitia Dean, best known as Sharon Watts, hailed their friend and colleague as ‘an amazing woman and a truly wonderful actress’.

BBC director general Tim Davie said: ‘June Brown was a brilliantly talented actor who was loved by millions’ who had ‘delivered some of the most memorable moments in soap history’.

Actor and writer Stephen Fry said June Brown will be remembered ‘as a tireless and fearless LGBT ally’. He tweeted: ‘June Brown, amongst all her other wonderful human qualities and achievements, will be remembered as a tireless and fearless LGBT ally – especially during the darkest days of HIV/AIDS and Section 28… it was a privilege to know her.’

For decades she was one of the most famous faces on British TV, playing the devout Christian famed on Albert Square for her chain smoking, gossiping and mothering of those in need while working in the launderette.  

Incredibly she began her career on Coronation Street and it was at the age of 58 that she landed the role that would turn her into a household name. Actor Leslie Grantham, who famously played Dirty Den in the soap, put June forward for the part after seeing her in the comedy drama Minder. She became so popular on the soap that she remained there for the next 30 years, except for a four-year break between 1993 and 1997.

Her relationship with her tearaway son Nasty Nick Cotton, played by John Altman, would captivate millions who watched in horror and sympathy as she forgave and forgave him for his crimes. But in 2015 Dot finally gave up on him after he cut the brakes on Roxy’s car and he died after consuming a bad batch of heroin bought for him by his very own mother.

Dot’s loving relationship with Jim Branning, played by John Bardon, saw the on-screen couple win a host of awards and left heartbroken fans in tears as she said goodbye to him following a stroke.

Ms Brown’s family revealed she died peacefully last night while the BBC urged fans to raise a glass of sweet sherry in her memory. The star still loved a tipple and a cigarette well into her 90s. 

Tragedy: EastEnders star June Brown, pictured in 2020 aged 93, who was best known for her role as Dot Cotton, has died at the age of 95

Tragedy: EastEnders star June Brown, pictured in 2020 aged 93, who was best known for her role as Dot Cotton, has died at the age of 95

Emotional: Her most memorable moments included helping her best friend Ethel end her life in 2000, which proved highly controversial

Emotional: Her most memorable moments included helping her best friend Ethel end her life in 2000, which proved highly controversial

They're friends? June Brown shares a cuddle with Lady Gaga, who she became close to after bonding backstage at the Graham Norton Show

They’re friends? June Brown shares a cuddle with Lady Gaga, who she became close to after bonding backstage at the Graham Norton Show

Legendary: June Brown and John Bardon are pictured in their roles as Dot and Jim Branning in EastEnders. They became one of the show's most beloved couples

Legendary: June Brown and John Bardon are pictured in their roles as Dot and Jim Branning in EastEnders. They became one of the show’s most beloved couples

Viewers were captivated by her relationship with her tearaway son Nick

Viewers were captivated by her relationship with her tearaway son Nick, who would die from a heroin overdose bought for him by Dot (pictured)

Viewers were captivated by her relationship with her tearaway son Nick, played by John Altman, who would die from a heroin overdose bought for him by Dot (pictured right)

June Brown is pictured at her book signing at Easons store in Dublin, Ireland.She is joined by two of her daughters Sophie and Naomi in 2013

June Brown is pictured at her book signing at Easons store in Dublin, Ireland.She is joined by two of her daughters Sophie and Naomi in 2013

An EastEnders spokesman 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 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 2,884 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.’ 

A statement from Brown’s family said: ‘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.’

Members of the EastEnders cast have paid tribute to June Brown. Gillian Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale in the show, hailed Brown as ‘an amazing woman and a truly wonderful actress’.

She said: ‘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.’

Adam Woodyatt, who plays Taylforth’s on-screen son Ian Beale, also paid tribute to the actress, who died at her home in Surrey on Sunday with her family by her side.

He said: ‘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.’

Letitia Dean, best known as Sharon Watts, said: ‘My beloved June, I truly loved you. Not just a phenomenal actress but a very dear friend.

‘Oh the fun we have had over the years! I will never stop loving you, THANK YOU for your kindness and your generosity and for loving me the way you did.

‘Sending all my dearest love to June’s family at this devastating time. God bless you June.’

Milly Zero, who plays Brown’s on-screen granddaughter Dotty Cotton, also expressed her love and respect for Brown, describing her as a ‘national treasure’.

Zero, 22, tweeted: ‘Rest in perfect peace ‘Grandma Dot’. I have never met anyone who cared about their craft so deeply.

‘An artist, a national treasure, an icon & an inspiration to us all. You will always live on in the hearts of everybody you touched. There will never be anyone quite like June.’ 

Dot would always be taken advantage of by her son Nick, and he would always be forgiven by his Christian mother

Dot would always be taken advantage of by her son Nick, and he would always be forgiven by his Christian mother

Dot would always be taken advantage of by her son Nick, and he would always be forgiven by his Christian mother

Eastenders cast with the award for TV Soap of the year during the 2017 Television and Radio Industries Club Awards, three years before she left the show

Eastenders cast with the award for TV Soap of the year during the 2017 Television and Radio Industries Club Awards, three years before she left the show

Dot would find love with Jim, who proposed on the London Eye overlooking the Houses of Parliament

Dot would find love with Jim, who proposed on the London Eye overlooking the Houses of Parliament

Dot would find love with Jim, who proposed on the London Eye overlooking the Houses of Parliament

The actress’s 35-year run as the Albert Square mainstay began in 1985. before she left the show in 2020.

Brown was perhaps EastEnders’ best-known star and larger-than-life Dot was known for her devout Christian faith and hypochondria, as well as her endless cigarette addiction.

The veteran actress, who had a long career in television and theatre, arrived on Albert Square shortly after the soap began in 1985, and aside from a break between 1993 and 1997, was a regular for more than three decades.

On January 31 2008 she single-handedly starred in an episode called Pretty Baby, in which she spoke to a cassette recorder about her life so that her husband could listen to it as he lay in hospital following a stroke.

Brown served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service at the end of the Second World War, and then left to train at London’s Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth.  

After joining Albert Square she also starred in comedy Ain’t Misbehavin in 1997, and played Nanny Slagg in the BBC’s production of Gormenghast in 2000.

She announced the bombshell news of her exit from EastEnders in 2020 with little fanfare, revealing her decision on a podcast with a former co-star.

Dot had not featured in the soap for a month, when she left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler saying she had moved to Ireland.

At the time an EastEnders’ spokesman said the door remained open for a comeback, appearing to leave the decision in Brown’s hands.

Some of Dot’s biggest storylines explored controversial issues such as euthanasia, cancer and homophobia.

Her marriage to Jim Branning, played by John Bardon, was popular among fans – while she was also mother to the notorious criminal Nick Cotton, played by John Altman.

Brown won several awards for her portrayal of Dot, including a lifetime achievement honour at the 2005 British Soap Awards.

In 2009, she was nominated for the best actress prize at the TV Baftas for her standalone episode of the soap.

In December 2021 Brown was made an OBE in the New Year Honours, as she was recognised for services to drama and to charity.

She was previously made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to drama and charity.

Brown married her first husband, John Garley, in 1950.

After his death she married actor Robert Arnold in 1958 and had six children with him.

Helping her best friend die, losing faith in her son and THAT single-hander… a look back at Dot Cotton’s greatest moments

Dot’s debut in Albert Square (1985) 

Dot Cotton made her debut in EastEnders just months after the soap first arrived on screens in the mid 1980s.

She arrived on the Square as the mother of criminal gangster ‘Nasty Nick’ Cotton and the close friend of Ethel Skinner.

Dot quickly made an impact on the soap as the resident gossip who is never without a cigarette in her hand, and becomes known for her signature hairstyle, launderette’s uniform and the signature catchphrase ‘oh I say!’

Her early months on the Square were plagued with woes thanks to her criminal husband Charlie – who is killed in a lorry accident – and Nick – who even tries to poison his beloved mum. 

Despite Nick’s criminal antics, Dot seemed to constantly defend her son, even vowing that he could change. 

Legendary: She made her debut on Albert Square in 1985, and from the beginning she had no shortage of woes thanks to the criminal antics of her husband Charlie and son Nick

Legendary: She made her debut on Albert Square in 1985, and from the beginning she had no shortage of woes thanks to the criminal antics of her husband Charlie and son Nick

Dot leaves Albert Square (1993)

Dot made a temporary exit from Walford in the early 1990s when she learned that Nick Cotton had fathered son Ashley with his girlfriend Zoe Newton, and she grew close to the young schoolboy.

The soap veteran made the surprise decision to depart Walford for a new life in Gravesend with her son and grandson but she returned four years later after Nick was arrested for drugs possession. 

Sadly Ashley was tragically killed off in 2001 after his motorbike crashed into the launderette after Nick tampered with the brakes.

The death left Dot and her son even more estranged, especially after she learned that Nick was responsible for Ashley’s death.  

Dramatic: In a rare comedic moment, Dot accidentally drank a suspicious herbal tea that was laced with cannabis

Dramatic: In a rare comedic moment, Dot accidentally drank a suspicious herbal tea that was laced with cannabis

Dot accidentally takes cannabis (1997) 

Despite some dark moments, Dot is also known for some comedic moments, and one of her finest came after she temporarily moved in with OAP Lilly Mattock.

Drinking some suspicious herbal tea, Dot put on an extremely giddy display as it was revealed that the so-called ‘alternative remedy’ was laced with cannabis.

The hilarious scenes saw a wide-eyed Dot offer some of the ‘herbs’ to her guests in front of a policeman, before abruptly refusing to throw the drugs away.   

Touching: In 2000 Dot's lifelong Christian faith was put to the test when her close friend Ethel Skinner asked her to help end her life

Touching: In 2000 Dot’s lifelong Christian faith was put to the test when her close friend Ethel Skinner asked her to help end her life

Dot helps her closest friend Ethel Skinner Die (2000) 

Amongst other traits, Dot is also well-known for her no-nonsense Christianity, which has sparked a debate on several occasion.

Her faith was put to the test in 2000 when cancer-stricken friend Ethel asked her to help her die before the illness prevents her from moving or speaking.

In emotional scenes, Dot refused to help Ethel with her dying wish as they celebrated her 85th birthday, but after struggling to see her friend in so much pain, she agreed.

After helping Ethel to blow out her candles, Dot assisted her friend with taking a fatal overdose of pills, and she later died peacefully in her sleep. 

Mr and Mrs: In a rare moment of happiness for Dot, she tied the knot with Jim Branning in 2002 after his hilarious proposal at the top of the London Eye

Mr and Mrs: In a rare moment of happiness for Dot, she tied the knot with Jim Branning in 2002 after his hilarious proposal at the top of the London Eye

Dot Marries Jim Branning (2002)

In happier scenes, Dot finally found happiness with Jim years after the death of her husband Charlie, but the soap battleaxe still proved tough to win over.

Jim pursued Dot for months before finally stealing a kiss in the Queen Vic, and when he proposed to her, she fled the Square.

Eventually Jim got down on one knee and yet again asked Dot to marry him as they rode the London Eye on Christmas Eve, and in a now-iconic moment, she nonchalantly replied: ‘Yeah I will.’

The couple then tied the knot in a simple church ceremony with the entire Square in attendance, but on their wedding night agreed that they would keep their marriage platonic.

Their marriage was one for the soap ages until Jim suffered a stroke in 2008, and his character was eventually written out of the soap in 2011 under the ruse that he would be taken to a nursing home.   

Tragic: In 2004 Dot was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and originally refused to undergo treatment, determined to keep the news a secret from her friends and family

Tragic: In 2004 Dot was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and originally refused to undergo treatment, determined to keep the news a secret from her friends and family

Dot is diagnosed with kidney cancer (2004)

After being diagnosed with kidney cancer, Dot was determined to keep her illness a secret from her friends, family and even her husband Jim.

Despite confiding in her pal Dennis Rickman, Dot refused to undergo chemotherapy and simply decided to quietly pass away. 

But eventually Dot was convinced to undergo treatment and went onto make a full recovery.

Iconic: In 2008 Dot made soap history in EastEnders' first ever single-handed episode, which earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress

Iconic: In 2008 Dot made soap history in EastEnders’ first ever single-handed episode, which earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress

Dot makes history with soap’s first ever single-handed episode (2008)  

In a television first, Dot took centre stage in an episode which saw her come to terms with the news that her husband Jim had suffered a stroke.

The episode simple saw Dot record a message for Jim in her home, and in the episode she openly talks about her Christian faith, her childhood, but in a sombre moment reflected on that fact that everybody who was ever close to her had since passed away. 

It was the first time a soap ever released an episode that featured just one character, and was even named after the Tony Jackson song Pretty Baby, which Dot said her guardian Will used to sing to her as a little girl after she was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War.

June’s performance in the episode earned unanimous praise from viewers and critics, and even received only the second BAFTA nomination for a performance in a soap.

At the end of her tether: In 2015 Dot finally realised that her son Nick was beyond redemption, and watched him die after overdosing on heroin

At the end of her tether: In 2015 Dot finally realised that her son Nick was beyond redemption, and watched him die after overdosing on heroin

Tragic: The dark scenes saw Dot ignore her son's suffering as he confessed to Reg Cox's murder, and she was eventually jailed for the crime

Tragic: The dark scenes saw Dot ignore her son’s suffering as he confessed to Reg Cox’s murder, and she was eventually jailed for the crime

Dot watches her son Nick die after he overdoses on heroin (2015)  

Dot’s son returned to Albert Square several times over the years, and he breathed his last during the soap’s 30th Anniversary specials after becoming addicted to heroin.

On the run from the police, Nick hid a derelict house after surprising Dot who believed that he was dead.

Unable to control his addiction, Nick begged Dot to get him some more drugs, and finally convinced that her son was beyond redemption, she agreed.

Sat at his side with a cigarette, Dot watched her beloved son overdose as he confessed to murdering Reg Cox, and rather than call an ambulance, she simply watched his life slip away.

Dot later confessed to the police that she is responsible for Nick’s death, and is eventually found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 months in prison. 

Upsetting: In one of Dot's final story lines in 2019, she was devastated to see her beloved friend Dr Legg pass away from pancreatic cancer

Upsetting: In one of Dot’s final story lines in 2019, she was devastated to see her beloved friend Dr Legg pass away from pancreatic cancer

Dot becomes a millionaire after Dr Legg dies (2019)

In one of Dot’s final story lines, she was reunited with longtime friend Dr Legg, who returned to Walford in 2018, 34 years after his first appearance.

Dr Legg broke the news that he is dying of pancreatic cancer, and asked her to help plan his funeral, and in his final moments he reminisced about meeting his late wife Judith before slipping away.

Dot is then stunned to learn that Dr Legg has left her his entire estate in his will, leading her lodger Stuart Highway to declare ‘She’s a millionaire!’

But Dot refused to keep all of the money and instead decided to share it with her family and buy her house from the council. 

Shocked: She was then stunned to learn that the longtime pal had left her his entire estate, making her a millionaire

Shocked: She was then stunned to learn that the longtime pal had left her his entire estate, making her a millionaire

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