We look back over Dot’s years in Albert Square, as the actress behind the iconic character says she’s departed Walford for the final time.
June Brown as Dot is one of EastEnders’ much-loved characters.
“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.” – June Brown speaking to DistinctNostalgia podcast
Actress June Brown has quit EastEnders as the soap marks its 35th anniversary. Speaking to DistinctNostalgia podcast she noted she had been left unimpressed by BBC Elstree bosses when a ‘big storyline’ turned into, in her words ‘a wet fart’. The character has been at the centre of several big storylines over the years, but was equally at home being kept busy with ‘square gossip’ that enabled Dot to have some of the show’s most amusing scenes leading to the ‘catchphrase’ “Ooh I say!”.
June was not a part of EastEnders’ original cast, debuting in the fledgling soap opera’s fortieth episode on July 4th 1985 on an initial short-term contract which was later extended on the strength of her work as long-suffering Dot, mother to the Square’s ultimate bad boy Nick Cotton (John Altman).
The latest departure, which according to the Beeb is ‘news to them’, is not the first time Brown has quit the Walford-set saga. She first left Albert Square behind in 1993 amid concerns over how her character had developed and in protest at the sacking of co-star Peter Dean. However, she was lured back to reprise the role in 1997. In 2003 the BBC, acknowledging the character’s popularity, broadcast a spin-off show about Dot’s early life. She also took six-months out in 2012 to enable her to focus on writing her autobiography.
Reunited with Lofty and Mary for Dr Legg’s funeral.
Friendship for decades, Dot and Dr Legg.
EastEnders‘ storylines focusing on Dot, in the early days, saw her taken advantage of by murderous son Nick and bigamous first husband Charlie (Christopher Hancock), the latter was killed off – to June Brown’s distaste – in an off-screen lorry crash in 1991. Nick, who even schemed to do his old ‘ma’ in more than once, came and went from her life for 30 years before being killed off from a heroin overdose in February 2015.
In other storylines Dot has fought cancer, helped her best friend Ethel Skinner (Grethen Franklin) to die in some of EastEnders’ most moving scenes ever; and she was also a part of a popular double act with second husband Jim Branning (John Bardon) for several years. The show’s writers have also been able to mine Dot’s friendships with characters such as Ethel, Lou Beale (Anna Wing) and Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and ability to reach out to Walford’s lost souls for material down the years.
Her most recent ‘big’ storyline saw her diagnosed with AMD, after suffering a deterioration in sight, and lose her job at the launderette after the decision was made for it to be turned into a dry cleaners. After 30 years washing Walford’s smalls Dot left the launderette behind in 2016. She also supported long-time friend Dr Legg through his cancer when actor Leonard Fenton reprised the role for his swansong.
Launderette days, with Pauline Fowler.
Den Watts gave Dot a lot to talk about.
June speaking to DistinctNostalgia podcast said that there is no way back for Dot and she will remain forever, or until scriptwriters kill the character off, in Ireland. In tribute to the iconic character being on the emerald isle she wrote a 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.’
The BBC have said the door is open for June to reprise her role as Dot, and that as far as they were aware she was on an ‘as and when’ contract joining the storyline when a plot suited the actress. As well as her long stint with EastEnders June has also appeared in Granada Television’s Coronation Street, ATV’s Gentle To Nora and the beeb’s The Duchess Of Duke Street to name only a few of her long list of performances.
Farewell storyline for Doctor Legg, who called on old pal Dot in his final weeks.
Best of friends, Ethel and Dot.
Second love. Dot and Jim.
Dot helps one of her many waifs and strays, a good turn by the Bible loving Christian.
Dot is diagnosed with AMD, friend Patrick offers support.
Dr Legg and Dot discuss the pending demise of dear Ethel Skinner.
Valued customer, Fiona Bruce joins the EastEnders for an Antiques Roadshow special.
A Big Impression of Dot with Alistair McGowan.
Central TV’s Spitting Image puppet of the character.
For the majority of years in ‘Enders Dot was seen in the launderette. Be it washing or gossip gathering.