June Brown is quitting EastEnders after 35 years as Dot Cotton.
The 93-year-old actress has starred in the BBC soap as the fan favourite character for over three decades, but after she was last seen on screen a month ago, she has revealed she has “left for good”.
June says she turned down the opportunity for a retainer contract, which would allow her to return to the show in the future.
And she said scenes last month – in which Dot left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) saying she had moved to Ireland – marked her final outing as the iconic character.
She said: “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. I did make up a limerick. It’s a bit dirty.
“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 veteran actress has been a regular in Albert Square since the soap began, although she took a break between 1993 and 1997, and another in 2012 when she was working on her autobiography.
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And June is heartbroken to be leaving the show, as she revealed saying goodbye to Dot has been like losing a loved one.
Speaking on the Distinct Nostalgia podcast with former co-star Rani Singh, she said: “I was feeling down a few days ago. I thought, ‘What’s the matter? Why do I feel so sad?’ It’s almost as if I’ve been bereaved.
“I’ve played two people simultaneously for 35 years. Really Dot wasn’t me, but spiritually she probably was.”
Despite leaving EastEnders, June won’t be quitting her life on screens, as she hopes to work on a documentary in the near future.
She said: “I’m hoping to do a documentary but I can’t talk about it as someone might steal it.”
EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
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