Actress June Brown, who played the much-loved character Dot Cotton on EastEnders for more than three decades, has died at the age of 95.
Her family said they were “deeply saddened” to announce that their “beloved mother” had died “very peacefully” at her home on Sunday.
Dot Cotton was one of the BBC One soap’s longest-running characters and a favourite with viewers.
Brown first appeared in the series in 1985, the year EastEnders was created. She stayed until 1993, returning to play the same character from 1997 until 2020 – featuring in 2,884 episodes.
In 2005, she won Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards and received the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Soap Awards. Brown was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to drama and to charity. In 2009, she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, making her the second performer to receive a BAFTA nomination for their work in a soap opera, after Jean Alexander.
Brown has had a long television career, with small roles in Coronation Street as Mrs Parsons (1970–71); the Play for Today, Edna, the Inebriate Woman as Clara (1971)); the medical soap Angels; the history-of-Britain Churchill’s People; long-running comedy drama Minder; the police drama soap The Bill; and cult sci-fi series Survivors. She had a bigger part as Mrs Leyton in the costume drama The Duchess of Duke Street (1976), and played Mrs Mann in Oliver Twist (1985).
In the Doctor Who story The Time Warrior Brown starred as Lady Eleanor (1973–74) starring alongside Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor). The Time Warrior is the first serial of the 11th season of the British science fiction television series, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts on BBC1 from 15 December 1973 to 5 January 1974. The serial introduced Elisabeth Sladen as new companion Sarah Jane Smith. It also marked the debut of the Sontaran race. The serial also introduces the name of the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey.
In 2018, Brown told the Radio Times she believed she would die “fairly soon”, and therefore saw no reason to give up drinking and smoking. She also commented on eschewing modern technology in favour of watching David Attenborough documentaries, the news and the ITV daytime show Loose Women. In 2015, Brown revealed she had been diagnosed with the sight condition macular degeneration, with the soap later introducing a storyline in which Cotton also suffered from deteriorating vision.
Brown is survived by her six children from her marriage to her second husband Robert Arnold, who died in 2003.