On this day in history : 16th February 1927 – The birth of actress June Muriel Brown MBE – best known to us as the gossiping, chain-smoking busy-body Dot Cotton in EastEnders….

June Brown MBE in 2009 – image credit: Joe Freeman – Flickr CC BY 2.0

June was born in Needham Market, Suffolk to Louisa Ann and Henry William Melton Brown. She was one of five children but her baby brother died at just 15 days old and she also lost an elder sister….

After attending school in Ipswich June then won a scholarship to Ipswich High School…. She was evacuated to the Welsh village of Pontyates during World War 2 but spent the latter part of it in the Wrens (Royal Navy)….

June was classically trained as an actress at The Old Vic Theatre School in Lambeth…. When she was 23 she married actor John Garley – but tragically he died in 1957 having taken his own life after suffering from depression….

In 1958 June remarried, another actor named Robert Arnold and they had six children (one of whom died in infancy) in their 45-year marriage, before Robert sadly passed away in 2003…. June continued to live in their Surrey home….

June Brown at the funeral service for actress Wendy Richard. 9th March 2009. Image credit: Gary Knight via Wikimedia

In her varied and extensive career June was seen in many TV shows:- Coronation Street, Angels, Minder, The Bill….the list is endless. She had parts in costume dramas such as The Duchess of Duke Street and Oliver Twist…. She also had roles in several big screen films and was active in British Theatre….

But the role we know June for most of all is that of Dorothy Branning in EastEnders – or as most of us called her….’Dot Cotton’…. The first ever episode of EastEnders was shown on the 19th of February 1985 and June joined the cast in July of the same year – her first screen appearance as Dot being on the 4th of July…. She was recommended to the producers of the show by Leslie Grantham, who played ‘Dirty’ Den Watts….

Dot Cotton – Fair use

June won several awards for her role in the soap, among them Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2005 British Soap Awards…. June was awarded an MBE in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to drama….

Dot Cotton – “You know me, I’m not one to gossip” – with her sometimes tragic storylines but often comical character was one of our TV favourites….. She was a national treasure, just like the real-life woman who played her….

June passed away on the 3rd of April 2022, aged 95….

June Brown at the BAFTA’s 2009. Image credit: Damien Everett via Flickr

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