EastEnders legend Dot Branning’s best ever moments from killing her son to an episode on her own


WALFORD icon Dot Cotton became one of the most loved characters on the BBC One soap in the course of three decades.

EastEnders will pay tribute to the late June Brown with an emotional on-screen funeral episode airing tonight. Get the lowdown.

June Brown played iconic character Dot Cotton for 35 years

June Brown sadly passed away on Sunday at the ag of 95

First appearing in 1985, she was recently crowned the greatest soap star of all time.

Dot was at the centre of a series of hardhitting storylines, from being tormented by her notorious criminal son Nick to helping best friend Ethel die and happier times when Jim proposed to her on Christmas Eve.

We take a look back at some of Dot’s best Albert Square moments.

Dot bumps off son Nick

Dot watched her son Nick die of a heroine overdose in 2015

John Altman slipped into Nasty Nick’s leather jacket for the first time in 1985 and became the first ever EastEnders serial killer.

Dot first appeared in EastEnders that same year as the mother of bad boy Nick and the pair certainly had a love-hate relationship throughout their time in Walford.

Nick tried to kill her by poisoning her shepherd’s pie to get his hands on her money but couldn’t go through with it.

He tried again in 2009, this time asking his niece and non-biological daughter Dotty to spike her tea with crushed up pills. Dotty couldn’t go through with it and spiked him instead.

Throughout the years, despite his breaks from the programme and until his death in 2015, Nick made his criminal life become his one and only career.

Nick was responsible for his son Ashley’s death, although it was not intentional as he actually meant to kill Mark Fowler, who left him in a wheelchair a year prior.

He cut the breaks on Mark’s motorbike but when Ashley had an argument with Mark about Nick, the young man stole the vehicle.

Ashely crashed the motorbike into the Launderette and died.

But Dot had the last laugh as she famously watched as her son die of a heroin overdose in 2015.

Ethel’s death

Dot agreed to help Ethel die back in 2000

Dot agreed to help Ethel die on Eastenders back in 2000.

One of Dot’s most memorable pairings in EastEnders was with Ethel Skinner.

The duo formed a hilarious double-act and could often be found comically bickering, reminiscing about life during the Second World War and chasing after Ethel’s dog Willy.

But the whole nation was left weeping at their TV screens in 2000 when Dot agreed to go against her strict Christian beliefs and help Ethel die.

After a heart-wrenching chat, Dot gave her a packet of pills and a glass of water.

The episode pulled in 16.5million viewers.

Dot finally snogs Jim Branning

EastEnders fans loved watching Dot and Jim’s blossoming romance

Soap fans around the country yelled in delight when Dot finally kissed Jim Branning.

The pair’s courtship was extremely slow and stern Dot did her best to pretend she was not impressed with his romantic actions.

Poor Jim was knocked back numerous times despite his best efforts.

Jim had to make the first move and caught Dot in a loved-up clinch behind the bar at the Queen Vic.

London Eye proposal on Christmas Eve

Dot finally said ‘yes’ to Jim on a romantic Christmas Eve proposal in 2001

Dot eventually succumbed to Jim’s advances and said ‘yes’ when he proposed in 2001 inside one of the carriages on the London Eye on the South Bank of the River Thames.

They were married on Valentine’s Day in a remarkably uneventful (in soap terms) ceremony.

After a mishap with viagra, Dot decided that their marriage should remain purely platonic.

The loveable pair were devoted to one another and their hilarious bickering made for some of the soap’s best scenes.

Making soap history

Dot carried an entire programme single-handed in 2007

In 2007, Jim Bardon – who played Jim Branning – suffered a stroke.

To explain his absence from the soap, his character suffered the same fate.

The result was a poignant episode in which Dot carried an entire programme single-handed.

She performed a monologue in which she recorded a message for Jim to listen to in hospital.

She was the first actress to have a soap episode entirely to herself and it landed her a BAFTA nomination.

Dot’s cancer diagnosis

Dot was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2004

In a 2004 plot, Dot was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

She decided not to tell anyone except her friend Dennis Rickman.

She initially refused treatment and planned to die quietly, but was eventually persuaded to undergo chemotherapy and made a full recovery.

The programme makers sought advice from health professionals, including Macmillan Cancer Support.

June Brown confessed she was unhappy with the storyline, saying: “It’s ironic because I’ve played her as a hypochondriac, longing for attention, for 20 years.

“Now something’s wrong, she doesn’t want anyone to know.”

Dot dabbles with drugs

Dot left viewers in hysterics as she dabbled with drugs

After taking a break from 1993 to 1997, June Brown returned as Dot, and began dabbling in “alternative therapies”.

Viewers were in hysterics seeing Dot stoned when she confused cannabis for herbal tea – and found herself under arrest as a result.

Dot in the dock

Dot confessed to killing Nick

An action-packed live episode in 2015 saw Dot being driven away in a police car after her decision to confess about killing her son Nasty Nick.

She admitted she had put Nick in an abandoned house, given him heroin and let him die in her arms.

She later stood trial and was found guilty of manslaughter.

Dot was sentenced for 14 months inside but was let out for husband Jim Branning’s funeral.

Nasty Nick comes back to torment Dot

Nasty Nick tried to kill his mum twice

Dot’s dysfunctional relationship with her wayward son Nick has had viewers gripped to the soap for over two decades.

She has continued to keep giving him chances despite his colourful history of wrongdoing.

Nick has claimed he is a born-again Christian to con his mum out of her £1,000 bingo winnings, attempted to kill her along with his daughter Dotty and battled heroin addiction.

One gripping scene shows the rogue stealing cash from his mother’s bedroom as she watches in the doorway.

Dot vs the launderette

Dot was devoted to her job at the laundrette

She frequently squabbled with its owner, Mr Papadopolous, and was famously unable to pronounce his surname.

Dot said an emotional farewell to the launderette when it was closed for refurbishment in 2016.

She was devastated to not get her job back when it reopened as a dry cleaners.

Dot’s exit

Dot said an emotional farewell to the soap in 2020

Dot’s final scene was an emotional one that aired more than a year ago.

In the emotional episode that aired January 21, 2020, Dot left Walford devastated. 

Dot discovered her missing money was taken by Martin – not realising it was actually Sonia who stole it.

She kicked Martin out and then disappeared herself.

Later when Sonia went to tell her the truth she realised Dot had gone herself – having left Walford in a hurry.

June’s final scene aired through an answer machine message.

She told Sonia: “This is to tell you I’m off to Ireland for a lovely time with my grandson Charlie.

“I shall be able to help them when the baby comes. I don’t know why my son that Martin should have taken that money but you’ll sort it out for me, won’t you? 

“You’ll find out and let me know. Do remember, you’re only at the other end of the phone so you can always get in touch. 

“I shall miss you and I shall always love you as I know you’ll love me. So goodbye my dearest girl, your loving grandma Dot.”

That was the last time Dot’s voice was heard in the Square – and the absence was expected to be temporary.

However months later June gave an interview to a podcast where she revealed she had quit the show for good.

She told Distinct Nostalgia: “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.”