EastEnders legend June Brown, 93, lands first role since quitting as Dot Cotton
EASTENDERS icon June Brown has landed her first role since quitting the soap earlier this year.
The 93-year-old, who played chain-smoking Dot Cotton for 35 years,will voice the part of Margey in audio drama Missing You.
Set in pandemic-stricken Britain, Margey has been forced apart from her son, who has Down's Syndrome.
Show writer Richard Vergette said of the casting: "When writing the role of Margey I had the voice of June Brown in my head and so asked the producer, Ashley Byrne, 'Can we find a June Brown-type of actress?'
"'How about June Brown?' he replied. I still can't believe that a living legend is playing in a piece that I've written."
While June's co-star Sam Barnard added: "June is such a legend and a hero of mine since I was little. When I was asked to play this role I said, 'Oh I say!' and did a little dance of joy!"
June previously ruled out a return to EastEnders after being starved of a big storyline in recent years.
In February The Sun revealed June had quit her role after turning down the chance of a retainer contract.
Arguably the soap’s best-known remaining cast member, her character was last seen in January when she left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler, played by Natalie Cassidy, 36, saying she had moved to Ireland.
June 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 just after the BBC1 soap began in 1985, apart from a break between 1993 and 1997. She also took six months off in 2012 to pen her autobiography.
Speaking on the Distinct Nostalgia podcast to former co-star Rani Singh, who played shop owner Sufia Karim in the late 1980s, June said she had already mourned her character.
She revealed: “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.”
June went on: “I’ve played two people simultaneously for 35 years. Really Dot wasn’t me, but spiritually she probably was.”
One of her biggest storylines was for the 30th anniversary when she gave villain son Nick (John Altman, 67) a fatal dose of heroin and let him die.
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