Inside EastEnders June Browns ordinary Croydon life away from BBC soap

EastEnders actress June Brown sadly passed away at the age of 95 on Sunday 3 April.

The late soap star played Albert Square legend Dot Cotton on EastEnders from 1985 until 2020 and was a household name.

BBC soap EastEnders confirmed the sad news in a statement, which read: "We are deeply saddened to announce that our beloved June Brown, OBE, MBE sadly passed away last night.

"There are not enough words to describe how much June was loved and adored by everyone at EastEnders, her loving warmth, wit and great humour will never be forgotten.

"June created one of the most iconic characters in Dot Cotton, not just in soap but in British television, and having appeared in 2884 episodes, June's remarkable performances created some of EastEnders finest moments. We send all our love and deepest sympathies to June's family and friends.

"A very bright light has gone out at EastEnders today but we shall all be raising a sweet sherry in June's memory. Rest in peace, our dearest June. You will never be forgotten."

But what about the star’s life away from the small screen?

June Brown’s early life

June was born in 1927 in Needham Market, Suffolk and when the Second World War began she went to serve in the Women's Royal Naval Service.

The actress is classically trained as in her youth she went to The Old Vic Theatre School in London.

In a previous interview with The Independent, June said: "When I was 17-and-a-half I volunteered for the Wrens.

"I auditioned for a play and we took it round the Southern Command area and I really enjoyed it. I got laughs and that was when the bug got me.

"I got a grant for the Old Vic Theatre School in London, which had just started. It was only five terms; they used to break you down and never quite put you together again but it was an excellent training."

Is June Brown married and does she have children?

June married actor John Garley at 23 years old but he tragically took his own life in 1957 after suffering from depression.

She then married Robert Arnold, another actor, in 1958.

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They went on to have six children in seven years, one of whom sadly died in infancy.

After 45 years of marriage her husband passed away in 2003.

June lived in Folkestone, Kent, with her husband Robert and the actress described how she always felt like 'some of her roots are in Folkestone'.

Meanwhile June revealed that their house was haunted as she described to Great British Life: "We used to find that things had moved and it wasn’t us going daft. I put a spoon down once and couldn’t find it.

"I mentioned it aloud and the next thing I knew a saucepan lid started to rattle. When I lifted the lid it stopped shaking and there was the spoon."

Speaking about her love of Kent, June told the magazine in 2020: "I suppose I am in retirement and what a great place to retire in. A lot of people would like to retire to Kent – I am here already and I like it very much."

What other TV programmes has June Brown been in?

June had many roles before EastEnders including film, theatre and television.

You may not know this but she also had a role on Coronation Street back in 1970, for three episodes.

June starred in Dr Who and The Bill, among other hit TV shows. She has also been in films such as cult film Psychomania and Sitting Target.

Why did June Brown leave EastEnders?

June first left EastEnders in 1993. At the time she told the Daily Mirror, saying: "I always felt Dot was one of those characters who should stay the same.

"She's a simple creature. There are some people who the same things happen to them again and again.

"They never learn… when I left, there was all that rubbish about it getting too much for me [but] I stopped because I wasn't being used very much.

"I thought, 'It's a part-time job'. It wasn't being written properly."They were a bit shocked, because apparently there were some good stories coming up."

She was persuaded to return in 1997 and stayed until 2020.

In an interview with the Digital Nostalgia Podcast, the actress revealed why she left.

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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."

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