Beloved EastEnders legend June Brown dies aged 95

Dot Cotton, played by June Brown.

June Brown, who played Dot Cotton on EastEnders, has died age 95.

The beloved actor passed away “very peacefully” at home on Sunday (3 April), her family confirmed.

June Brown was best-known her her role as Dot Cotton, who she began playing in 1985, shortly after EastEnders began.

An EastEnders spokesperson said: “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 2884 episodes, June’s remarkable performances created some of EastEnders’ finest moments.”
Brown starred in the soap until 2020, leaving briefly in 1993 but returning in 1997.

June Brown in 2013. (SAV/FilmMagic)

Her character was a devout Christian, and at first held strongly anti-LGBT+ views.

When EastEnders introduced its first ever gay character – Colin Russell, played by Michael Cashman – a major storyline saw Dot spread rumours around Albert Square that he had AIDS.

In 2013 Brown told PinkNews that she found it difficult, especially given her close friendship with Cashman, but that acting meant “putting your own views to one side”.

She said that co-star Barbara Windsor faced a similar struggle, recalling: “I remember Barbara being very upset as she had to say some homophobic things and she really didn’t want to do it at all.”

That same year June Brown earned herself a new fan: Lady Gaga.

The pair met on the sofa of The Graham Norton Show and hit it off instantly, their interactions stealing the show and going down in TV legend.

Gaga told Brown on the show: “I am a really big fan of yours. You are so fabulously dressed. I am honoured to be sitting next to you.”

She then picked up her wine glass, adding: “I want to drink from your cup to see what those genes are.”

Like her character, Brown was a lifelong smoker. In 2018 she told Radio Times that she would never give up smoking or drinking, because she thought she would probably die “fairly soon” anyway.

In 2015, she revealed that she was losing her sight.

Brown is survived by her six children.