“Give us a tea, Lofty. And a glass of water so I can take a Paracetamol.” Those were the first words June Brown ever uttered as Dot Cotton. And they would prove to be a turning point in EastEnders’ history.
Celebrating a milestone birthday, June Brown At 90 – A Walford Legend, airing on Thursday 16 February at 8.30pm on BBC One, spends half an hour in the company of one of Albert Square’s most beloved actors, as she talks about her life and career.
From her early days in theatre to the reason she believes she was cast in the role of Dot (she turned up to the audition on time and she liked a cigarette), June Brown’s views on almost everything are both surprising and entertaining. She reveals that she’d had her horoscope read and was told that on 31 May 1985, “I would have a spectacular success”. The date in question would turn out to be June’s first day on the EastEnders set.
She talks of how in the early days she was seen as a rival by a fellow cast member, and how she coaxed more out of her character than just being a hypochondriac (“I loved it when Dot went hysterical”). She also reveals the effect Dot Cotton has had on her life and the opportunities it has given her, from Bafta nominations to revealing all in Calendar Girls.
But who is June Brown? And how similar is she to her EastEnders’ character? Funny, eccentric and straight talking, while Dot might be often impersonated, June Brown is unique.
Featuring contributions from many Walford regulars (Danny Dyer, Adam Woodyatt, Gillian Taylforth, Rudolph Walker, Lacey Turner and Natalie Cassidy) all of whom pay tribute to their unique colleague.
Executive Producer: Caroline Wright
Producer: Matt Taylor
Made by BBC Studios
June Brown At 90: A Walford Legend airs on Thursday 16 February 2017 from 8.30pm-9.00pm on BBC One.