Waltzing around Albert Square in her signature beige coat with newly-preemed hair and a cigarette in her mouth, you could trust Dot for everything from a gossip to a shoulder to cry on.
Arriving just six months after the show began in 1985, June Brown’s role was voted the most loved soap character of all time.
She remained on the show until 2020, when her character swiftly left and made a new life for herself in Ireland.
Following the sad news of actress June’s death, here are just some of the most beautiful and tragic moments June portrayed on the Square.
Dot Cotton accidentally gets stoned (1997)
As a hyper-religious, rule-following hypochondriac, Dot Cotton is not a woman to freely take part in cannabis.
But unfortunately for her, she ended up feeling a little worse for wear after deciding to try some “herbal remedies” without asking first.
She soon came pretty hooked on the stuff and was high as a kite during a gathering – which included some policemen.
While on the one hand there was no doubting she was life and soul of the party, it was more than a little awkward.
Dot Cotton says goodbye to Ethel (2000)
In their heyday, there was no comedic duo quite like Dot Cotton and Ethel Skinner.
Putting the world to rights like no other, the pair always had each other in times of hardship.
This dynamic was eventually put to the ultimate test, with a terminally ill Ethel asking Dot to end her life.
As she lay ill in her bed on her 85th birthday, Dot finally concedes Ethel’s request, leaving her with the pills she needs to die with dignity.
Ending on an episode dedicated to just the two of them, we bid farewell to Ethel who declares Dot “the best friend she’s ever had”.
The episode sparked a huge debate about people’s right to die, and more than 16 million people watched.
Jim Branning proposes to her (2001)
Dot Cotton and Jim Branning achieved the seeming impossible in Soapland – a devout and happy marriage.
Sure, they would squabble like no other, but they loved each other and Jim clearly was besotted with her from the moment he met her.
Falling for her no-nonsense approach to life, he had to work to get in Dot’s good books and affections. In kind, Dot – after years of being mistreated by ex-husband Charlie, found it difficult to let Jim in.
But eventually, he succeeds, and in a sweet episode in 2001, proposes to her on the London Eye.
“I love you,” he tells her, to which she responds: “I don’t think you’re half bad, neither.”
The couple remained together for the rest of their lives, with Jim (played by John Bardon) eventually dying off-screen in a care home in 2015.
His final scenes on the Square were in 2008, shortly before the real-life actor had a stroke.
Dot’s entire episode by herself (2008)
June Brown made soap history in this special episode in 2008 – where she performed entirely alone.
The heartbreaking but powerful episode sees Dot leave sickly husband Jim a voicemail. In it, she explains why he needs to remain in a care home.
It’s made even more powerful considering actor John Bardon’s real-life health issues, which forced him to retire early.
June gives the performance of her life with only a tape recorder as a scene partner.
Dot allows son Nick to die (2014)
Dot’s relationship with her tearaway son ‘Nasty’ Nick Cotton has always been one of the most horrific and beautiful stories Eastenders has told.
Despite Nick’s near-constant violent criminal behaviour, drug abuse and even faking his own death, ‘Ma’ Dot would welcome him back with open arms.
He attempted to kill her more than once, stole from her, and made her life hell for years.
But more than 25 years on and sometimes even the most loyal become pushed to their breaking point.
In a heartbreaking goodbye after he begs her for drug money, Dot let her son overdose. He died in her arms.
She could have saved him by calling an ambulance, but instead decided to leave his fate in God’s hands.
Dot later spent four months in prison for his manslaughter.
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