June Brown at 90: A Walford Legend


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June Brown at 90: A Walford Legend

Celebrate a milestone birthday and all things Dot Cotton as EastEnders actress June Brown chats about her life and career. Featuring famous Walford faces.


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She's a lady of immense experience, you know?

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She's a lady of the world.

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OK, guys. Here we go. Let's stand by for rehearsal.

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Getting to 90 is an achievement in itself.

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Getting to 90 and working in this industry,

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erm, is something remarkable,

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and June is still there, right up at the top.

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You know, she's just an amazing...an amazing lady.

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-Shall we have a look at it on camera?

-Yes, of course.

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-Is that all right, my darling?

-Yes, darling.

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I've worked with some very famous people over the years,

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and very powerful people, very good actors...

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There's just something about her that, you know, she...

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You go, "Wow."

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Hello, Jim. It's me, Dorothy.

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'It's very difficult to talk about Dot without thinking of June.'

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Do you realise, Jim, we'd have been married six years soon?

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Who would believe it?

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You just can't imagine Dot Cotton as anybody else, really.

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I've got to face facts - with my nerves, I've got to smoke.

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You silly little man!

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-DOT CACKLES

-Dorothy...

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She made that character.

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Everything you see is what June added herself.

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All those little bits like the cigarette, the...you know,

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and the way the curl came in her hair - that's what she wanted.

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Jim, it is important that we find out what the youth of today

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is doing with themselves. I don't want...

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Ooh, I say.

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Oh, and you'd better change the bedding as well.

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'She has turned Dot into an icon.'

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She created Dot out of nothing, and she has kept Dot going,

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with all her, you know, little bits and bobs that she has,

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for 30-odd years, and that is... that's incredible.

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People ask me if I'm like Dot.

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SHE LAUGHS

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There's not an awful lot of me in Dot, I don't think.

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I don't take her home with me.

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I'm not one of those who lives the part.

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That's an amateur... That's a very, very amateur approach.

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I'm trying to think how I'm different...

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She's got quite a high opinion of herself, actually, Dot,

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and I don't think I have.

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Now, you want to tell your children what I used to tell my Nick.

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"Nick," I used to say, "just be a little discriminating.

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"Remember at all times that you come from a good home

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"and don't let yourself be tempted by low types."

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She's very pleased with herself.

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Oh, I say.

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And I suppose I have been happy often in my life...

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Ah, not like Dot.

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What have I done?

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I'm not a gossip.

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I talk about people, people's situation and things,

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but only because I care about them and I'm concerned about them.

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I would have gone round theirs but I didn't want to interfere,

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cos you know me, Carol, I ain't one to pry.

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It's Jim what's curious.

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In my life, and Dot certainly wasn't like this,

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I did have a lot of love affairs.

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Why is it, Ethel, that men,

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even religious men who collect Bibles,

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can only think of the one thing?

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'The only way I am like Dot is in my feelings about spirituality,

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'only they are rather advanced for Dot -

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'but, apart from that,'

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I'm not...really like Dot at all, I don't think.

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I wanted to go into the medical profession in some way or other.

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Acting wasn't important enough to think about,

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and that was a hobby -

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that was nothing to do with what you did in life.

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It was all chance. Most of life is chance, or some people's.

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Mine certainly was.

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The bar, I was going into the bar...

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I wonder why. SHE CHUCKLES

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'My sister happened to look at the Times,'

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and there it was advertised, the Old Vic Theatre School.

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I wrote, I suppose, and I got an audition.

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They said, "Well, yes, you are in,"

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so I burst into tears,

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because in those days I cried when I was happy

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and I cried when I was sad.

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'The Noel Coward Theatre is very special to me

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'because it's where I began,'

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and it was one of the happiest times of my life.

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I wish it were September 1948,

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and I wish I were 21 again.

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I landed up living in New Bond Street,

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and the flat cost £4.20 to you, four guineas, erm...

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a week, and we shared it and we paid £1.35 each rent.

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We used to go to concerts and we went to the Proms,

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and, yeah, we went to theatres.

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I love the stage.

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You see, it's alive, this theatre.

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It's had live words spoken in, live reactions -

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everything's been live.

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I just want to act, you see.

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I really do.

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SHE CHUCKLES

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I've been thinking lately and just wondering.

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You do - as you get older, you...

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you look back at what you've done and how you've behaved,

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and it-it-it...

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You do take an inventory of yourself in a funny way.

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Oh, The Taming Of The Shrew.

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Well, I'd had five children by this time,

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and I got this offer to go to Sweden to do a tour.

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There we all are. SHE LAUGHS

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I think that's me.

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I don't know what all these things are.

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What's that one?

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Oh, that was at the Royal Court.

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That's Coronation Street.

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That is whoever I was...

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Oh, Mrs Parsons!

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There's Nannie Slagg.

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I enjoyed Gormenghast.

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That was very difficult, that hat, because it was so vast.

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I'm a doctor, you know. SHE LAUGHS

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I don't know what I'm a doctor of.

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I must ask them one day.

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Now, that's another lovely part I played, Hedda -

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Hedda Gabler.

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I really loved that.

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I was very fortunate in my looks, shall we say? Yeah.

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That's the National. It was a lovely play.

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It was with... Judi Dench played in it and I played Judi's sidekick.

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Doris I think my name was.

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I always had the most interesting names -

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Doris, and I had several Dorothys and Ednas and...

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Oh, dear.

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That's me doing... Now, I directed that and also played her.

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It was all about sex toys.

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Ooh, yes, it's quite lewd, isn't it?

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But it was very funny.

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The only one I was REALLY naked in was Calendar Girls.

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I was the only one who actually took all my clothes off

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in the naked scene for the photographs.

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SHE LAUGHS

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That's my favourite one of Dot,

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but it's the baby's face that I like!

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"Will it be me?", he's saying. SHE LAUGHS

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MUSIC: EastEnders Theme by Simon May and Leslie Osborne

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By the time it got to EastEnders, I'd had a dreadful year.

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I'd had about three jobs in that year, that's all - nothing -

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and suddenly this audition for EastEnders came up.

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I think I got the job because I was punctual.

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I was doing A Christmas Carol, some piddling part -

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I shouldn't use that word -

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in A Christmas Carol at the BBC down the road,

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and I said, "Well, I can't stop long because I mustn't be late."

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And she said, "I wish all actors were like you,"

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when I'm not really a very punctual person.

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There's time, and, as one of my drivers, Dave, used to say,

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"Is it real time, June, or June time?"

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And I should say, "Most likely June time,"

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which is ten minutes afterwards.

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So, erm... And I think that's why I got the job, really.

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The character actually existed before June even came along

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to play her, because she was mentioned by Pauline.

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Pauline was moaning about Dot,

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and was moaning about Dot through the first...15, 20 weeks.

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I've got to get these Servis washers sorted before Dot gets here.

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And it wasn't until about episode 40 that we actually saw...Dot,

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but, because she'd been mentioned, we were already familiar with her.

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We already knew she was a hypochondriac.

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We already knew that she was always going to Dr Legg's.

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We knew about her son Nick.

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So, we felt we knew her before she'd even turned up,

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and when she did turn up, June just created this incredible

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character that she has stayed true to...ever since.

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Give us a tea, love, will you?

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And a glass of water so I can take a paracetamol.

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Can you hang on a second, Dot?

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Only, we're heavily involved in things mechanical over here.

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But my head feels as though a circular saw's going through it.

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I got a script, you see, and it was a series of illnesses,

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and I thought, "I can't play a list of illnesses."

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You know, "I've got this here pain, it goes up here,

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"it comes down there and goes down me back.

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"And then there's...this," and I thought...

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And then I thought, "Well, why? What can I do?"

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And I thought, "Well, she is a hypochondriac,

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"and she's always worried about her illness. Why?

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"Because nobody loves her.

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"Her husband comes and goes, steals her money, her jewellery.

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"Her son, the same -

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"he threatens her with a knife and all sorts of things -

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"and she has no-one who really loves her."

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DRAWER CLATTERS

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If it's money you're after, you're looking in the wrong place.

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Ma.

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Nah, nah, nah. I was just looking for something.

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-Oh, yeah?

-Yeah, something I left behind.

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-And what might that be?

-It was an address.

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-It must have fallen out of my pocket or something.

-What? Into the drawer?

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-Probably fallen down the back of the chair.

-Oh, Nick, stop it.

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"My Nick was a tower of strength," she'd say.

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And they'd seen him, you'd seen him threaten her with a knife,

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you know, but she covered up for him all the time.

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In fact, I used to get letters from children who really wanted me

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to be their mother, because they wanted this mother who would

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protect them from all their misdoings, you know.

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And this mother who'd never let her son down,

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never, never question whether...

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Never said anything about him to anybody else. Protected him.

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I won't trouble you again, I promise.

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Well, that should be enough.

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Well, it'll have to be cos it's all I've got.

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Oh...

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Well, it's what you came for, ain't it? Now you've got it, you can go.

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My lovely John Altman, my Nick,

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he used to go round on his tour, Chicago and things,

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frightfully good he was in Chicago,

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and he'd find these launderettes and he'd pose outside them,

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and he used to send me lovely cards as Nick, all misspelt, you know.

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"And has me dole cheque come?"

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You know... SHE LAUGHS

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"I think I'm getting better with me spilling."

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You know, and always spelling "your son", you know, "Y-O-R-E S-U-N".

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You know, "Yore sun, Nick."

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Hello, Ma.

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So...

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Now, I was just about to do some of these cards,

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but I'm very, very behind.

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There you are.

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June, I heard them call you on set.

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Oh, are they? SHE LAUGHS

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Well, if they're ready for me, I'm not ready for them.

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There was quite a simple thing that used to go on in EastEnders -

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normal sorts of conversation between two actors who'd talk

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quite loudly to each other, quite normally, and that was what it was.

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Cos people like you don't get all that many chances.

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Like me?

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Yes, old misery guts.

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'Gretchen was a very witty person.'

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She was a very naughty person as well in many ways,

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and she didn't really...

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Actually, I heard that how she looked upon me,

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a new character arriving, was as a rival.

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I was coming to see you.

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-What for?

-About your carnival costume.

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We had a scene together in the pub,

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and Wendy said to her, Wendy Richard, she said,

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"When you and June are together on the screen, you are like two bulls."

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And Gretchen thought, "Oh. Oh! I can work with that."

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You know, I thought it'd be such a waste,

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you know, me being a genuine Walfordian,

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and I didn't want you getting up on that float and people pointing at you.

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Well, why should they do that?

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Well, I mean, you might get the period wrong,

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and I know all there is to know about Walford in 1936.

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-So do I.

-Not as much as me.

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-I do.

-You don't.

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-I do.

-You don't.

-I do!

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After that outburst, I suppose you don't need my help.

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No...

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Oh, very well, then - I shall offer my services elsewhere.

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From that moment on, she worked with me, and what we did,

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we always concentrated on each other.

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That is really the secret.

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Oh, dear God, forgive us and especially me!

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And, of course, dear Ethel,

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who is a simple soul. DOT SOBS

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-Did you get the fig rolls?

-DOT SCREAMS

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"Oh, I thought you was dead," says Dot.

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Well, it was lovely. It was...

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Well, it was...

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That was what I miss, that sort of...

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That sort of drama -

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not the drama of rape and arson and murder,

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but the drama of a situation, you know, just between two people.

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DOT MOANS

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I thought you was...

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Thought I was what?

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I thought you was dead!

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I'm not ready to go yet. I've only just drawn me pension.

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I was frightened!

0:14:060:14:08

She was very hysterical at times, Dot.

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I loved it when Dot went hysterical, you see.

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It is...

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It's nice to have a character with a few more than one facet,

0:14:160:14:19

that's the point, and I think what happened in the early days,

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I'd get a scene and I'd think,

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"I don't think Dot behaves like that."

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And then I'd think, "Well, I'll try it. I'll see if I can work it in."

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So that Dot then began to do things that were unexpected

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of her character,

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and that is also interesting,

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if her character isn't always the same.

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Gretchen and I actually worked together extremely well

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and enjoyed it.

0:14:460:14:47

She wouldn't ever admit that.

0:14:470:14:49

She had her line where she was dying,

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when Dot had given her the medication, you know,

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the pills, where she had to say, "You're my best friend, Dot."

0:14:540:14:58

And she said to me, "I'm not going to say that,"

0:14:580:15:00

but when it came to it...

0:15:000:15:02

You know who you are?

0:15:040:15:05

You're the best friend I ever had.

0:15:070:15:12

-DOT SIGHS

-There.

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Oh...

0:15:150:15:17

She couldn't admit that she actually did love me quite a lot,

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Gretchen, you know, but I knew that it was...

0:15:210:15:24

It was her character - it's what she was.

0:15:240:15:27

Once in a wonderful blue moon,

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you get that part so completely right

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that you don't have to act it any more, it acts itself,

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and it happened to Natalie, who plays Sonia.

0:15:420:15:46

I've done a terrible thing.

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She had a scene with me, it was years ago,

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and we had more or less a two-hander,

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because she'd stolen back her baby that had been adopted,

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until suddenly we were in a bedroom and she'd picked up Dot's Bible.

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Here it is!

0:15:590:16:01

Why don't you find the bit that says this is the right thing to do?

0:16:010:16:03

-It is!

-Of course it is, because it said so!

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So we should all do as we're told and believe every word!

0:16:060:16:09

It's nothing! It's a bunch of cliches!

0:16:090:16:12

'She suddenly got so much tension.'

0:16:120:16:14

She flung this Bible down, and at the end she said,

0:16:140:16:17

"What happened, June?"

0:16:170:16:19

And I said, "You had a second consciousness."

0:16:190:16:22

It quite frightened me.

0:16:220:16:23

I was taken aback by what she did, you know.

0:16:230:16:26

How could you do that? This is me Bible.

0:16:260:16:29

I was no longer an actress, you know, it was...

0:16:290:16:32

Dot not knowing what had happened, but...

0:16:320:16:34

So, it happened to Nat, she didn't know what it was,

0:16:340:16:37

but I knew what it was.

0:16:370:16:39

I think working with June Brown on set is

0:16:390:16:41

a completely different experience from working with anybody here,

0:16:410:16:45

down to the fact that, yeah, she is very old school,

0:16:450:16:48

extremely professional, and knows how she wants to play the scene,

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and I think, with June, as long as it's truthful, and everything

0:16:520:16:55

she does she believes in, you'll get the best performances.

0:16:550:16:58

You can't tell me what's right or wrong or what to do with Chloe,

0:16:580:17:00

-because you've never really lived.

-And you have?!

0:17:000:17:03

Television, to me, is like instant coffee, you know,

0:17:030:17:06

as opposed to the real thing,

0:17:060:17:08

and I'm not very good at instant things like that,

0:17:080:17:12

you know, because you...

0:17:120:17:14

Some people are very fortunate, they've only got to look at a light

0:17:140:17:17

and they've got tears there in their eyes.

0:17:170:17:19

Now, I can't do that.

0:17:190:17:20

I have cried in EastEnders.

0:17:200:17:23

I think my tear...ducts are blocked now, cos I hardly ever do,

0:17:230:17:27

but I get over it, cos I say, "Well, it's not my job to cry -

0:17:270:17:31

"it's my job to make the audience cry."

0:17:310:17:34

Which is true.

0:17:340:17:35

SPOON CLANKS

0:17:370:17:39

SPOON CHIMES TWICE

0:17:440:17:46

I had a whole episode to myself...

0:17:470:17:49

DOT EXHALES

0:17:490:17:52

..but the only reason that it happened was because

0:17:520:17:56

John Bardon had had a stroke -

0:17:560:17:58

the actor who played my husband, Dot's husband, Jim.

0:17:580:18:02

Hello, Jim.

0:18:040:18:05

It's me, Dorothy.

0:18:050:18:09

I'm sitting here in the kitchen and I'm talking to you.

0:18:090:18:12

You won't be able to see me, just hear me,

0:18:120:18:16

so I suppose I could be anywhere, really,

0:18:160:18:18

but I'm not.

0:18:180:18:19

I'm in the kitchen at the table.

0:18:190:18:23

'I couldn't wait to do it. I was like,'

0:18:230:18:25

you know, a greyhound in the slips.

0:18:250:18:27

I was holding on to a fire or whatever I've got, a radio or...

0:18:270:18:31

Oh, the recorder, with props there, you know, saying...

0:18:310:18:34

waiting to give it to me, saying, "Come on, come on, come on."

0:18:340:18:38

You know? Oh, no...

0:18:380:18:40

They didn't hear me - that was just to myself.

0:18:400:18:42

"Come on, come on, come on. Get a move on. You know, come on."

0:18:420:18:46

You know, I loved doing it. I loved doing it.

0:18:460:18:48

I mean, it's... To an actor, it's a pleasure to have a lot to say.

0:18:480:18:51

I can't be like Ethel.

0:18:510:18:53

I'm frightened of showing me emotions.

0:18:530:18:55

I'm frightened of letting anyone in, cos every time I do...

0:18:550:18:59

I lose 'em!

0:18:590:19:01

And how do I explain that?

0:19:020:19:05

'I really enjoyed it,'

0:19:050:19:06

but it was... You see, this is...

0:19:060:19:07

People used to say, "It must have been very difficult."

0:19:070:19:10

And I thought, "No, it was really easy."

0:19:100:19:11

Cos you could answer yourself, and you can time it for yourself,

0:19:110:19:15

and you could leave a pause as long as you wanted,

0:19:150:19:17

and you could come right in on yourself.

0:19:170:19:19

You could... In other words, you could direct yourself. SHE LAUGHS

0:19:190:19:23

For that single-hander, I was actually nominated for a Bafta.

0:19:250:19:31

The nominees for actress include a poignant monologue that

0:19:310:19:34

showed us the hidden layers of a much-loved EastEnders character.

0:19:340:19:38

The Bafta at the time was the height of approval,

0:19:380:19:45

as it were.

0:19:450:19:46

If you won a Bafta, it meant something.

0:19:460:19:49

It meant you were a proper actress.

0:19:490:19:51

-APPLAUSE

-And the Bafta goes to...

0:19:510:19:54

..Anna Maxwell Martin for Poppy Shakespeare.

0:19:550:19:57

CHEERING

0:19:570:19:59

'I was a bit disappointed.

0:19:590:20:01

'I would have liked to have got it, quite honestly.'

0:20:010:20:04

I don't think so much of it now,

0:20:040:20:05

because suddenly they're giving awards for public choice and...

0:20:050:20:10

and reality TV and...

0:20:100:20:13

and that's not acting.

0:20:130:20:15

They don't do that for films, do they?

0:20:150:20:18

I've got a Nafta instead.

0:20:220:20:24

A silver face made of tinfoil,

0:20:240:20:26

and my daughters had made it for me -

0:20:260:20:29

Lou, Soph, and maybe Naomi.

0:20:290:20:32

My granddaughter had it put on her face,

0:20:320:20:34

and we poked one eye out, which is there, and...

0:20:340:20:38

and stuck it on a cigarette as its stand,

0:20:380:20:41

and in one of those things for moths with a hole in - that was the base.

0:20:410:20:45

And that is in the case with the Baftas at EastEnders

0:20:450:20:50

to this very day.

0:20:500:20:51

When I came in, EastEnders was already incredibly famous.

0:20:540:20:58

I'd never seen anything like it.

0:20:580:21:01

We used to go out together and we'd go to nightclubs,

0:21:010:21:04

and we could get in anywhere because we were EastEnders.

0:21:040:21:07

It was lovely, but you didn't think about being a star.

0:21:070:21:11

Please welcome the unique June Brown!

0:21:110:21:14

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:21:140:21:15

June Brown is here, alias Dot Cotton.

0:21:150:21:17

So this is June Brown.

0:21:170:21:19

Please welcome June Brown.

0:21:190:21:20

June Brown!

0:21:200:21:21

APPLAUSE

0:21:210:21:23

I got, actually, quite happy about doing interviews...

0:21:240:21:29

I think I've got a turn coming on. LAUGHTER

0:21:290:21:31

..and I'd always try to think of something different, you know.

0:21:310:21:34

I still want to play Cleopatra.

0:21:340:21:36

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:21:360:21:39

I wouldn't have been able to have done any of this

0:21:390:21:42

if I hadn't done EastEnders,

0:21:420:21:45

if I hadn't acted Dot.

0:21:450:21:46

That gave me an enormous amount of confidence,

0:21:460:21:50

therefore I was already liked as a character wherever I went,

0:21:500:21:54

to do a PA or a chat show.

0:21:540:21:57

I was... I already had the audience with me.

0:21:570:22:00

-There you go.

-You look so amazing.

-I'm just going to show my legs.

0:22:000:22:03

LADY GAGA SQUEALS, AUDIENCE CHEERS

0:22:030:22:05

And so you... You were able to say whatever you liked

0:22:050:22:09

and...and...and be funny and amusing

0:22:090:22:12

or, erm, say slightly outrageous things,

0:22:120:22:16

because of that confidence.

0:22:160:22:17

Shall I come and sit on your knee?

0:22:170:22:19

-LAUGHTER AND CHEERING

-You probably want to...

0:22:190:22:21

'Gretchen said to me one day,'

0:22:210:22:23

"We're not stars, June - we're household names."

0:22:230:22:26

And then she named two soap powders. "Like," she said...

0:22:260:22:29

I can't name them, but that's what she said.

0:22:290:22:31

-I'm annoying you?

-Leave her alone - she's a star!

0:22:310:22:34

I talk about being well-known.

0:22:340:22:36

I never talk about anything more than that.

0:22:360:22:39

I don't know what's going to happen to her now.

0:22:440:22:46

DOOR SLAMS She lost her job,

0:22:460:22:49

so she's lost her raison d'etre, as it were,

0:22:490:22:53

and you would find that very difficult.

0:22:530:22:56

You have to have a house. You have to have a position.

0:22:560:22:58

You have to have a place, a job.

0:22:580:23:00

You should really have a job in EastEnders - that was the point.

0:23:000:23:04

But it is very difficult to go against the writing.

0:23:040:23:08

If they decide to change you or the writers change,

0:23:080:23:11

not deliberately, or just that's what happens, and...

0:23:110:23:15

But I am a great fighter.

0:23:150:23:17

I'm very much a terrier.

0:23:170:23:20

I try to twist 'em round a little.

0:23:200:23:22

There is a way of twisting. It's just the way you say it.

0:23:220:23:26

It ain't what you say, it's the way what you say it, you know, it's...

0:23:260:23:29

It's that, so I must admit to that.

0:23:290:23:32

I'm very bossy, really.

0:23:330:23:35

I think I can do things better than other people, which is dreadful,

0:23:350:23:39

but they know I'm like that, so it's no surprise to them,

0:23:390:23:43

the bosses.

0:23:430:23:45

My first day in EastEnders wasn't on set, it was...

0:23:480:23:51

-MAN:

-I'm sorry to interrupt.

0:23:510:23:53

I've got a flower delivery here for...

0:23:530:23:55

a June Cotton Dorothy Brown, or is it Dorothy Branning?

0:23:550:24:01

I've... I've gone and mixed the name up, rather.

0:24:010:24:04

Erm, sorry to interrupt.

0:24:040:24:05

-Who is it?

-It's Johnny.

-Not Johnny!

0:24:050:24:08

-Oh, it isn't!

-Mwah!

0:24:080:24:10

-You didn't tell me.

-No, I forgot.

0:24:100:24:12

-There we are.

-Well, it's a lovely bouquet.

-It's not bad, is it?

0:24:130:24:16

YORKSHIRE ACCENT: I must say, it's a great bouquet.

0:24:160:24:18

-No, it's beautiful, darling.

-You're looking lovely.

0:24:180:24:21

-Oh, mate, come on. Concentrate.

-Another one there, sweetheart.

0:24:210:24:23

Well, I can't operate in a mess, June.

0:24:230:24:25

I mean, I'm bad enough talking all the time.

0:24:250:24:26

-If it's all untidy, huh?

-Get a...

-You see these cufflinks?

0:24:260:24:29

They were my farewell present from EastEnders.

0:24:290:24:31

-Were they?

-Yeah, in 2015.

-I never saw them give you anything.

0:24:310:24:34

Oh, you must have missed it.

0:24:340:24:36

Well, you were dead at the time!

0:24:360:24:39

Yes, but the summer of '85, June, wasn't it, when we met?

0:24:390:24:42

Oh, it was lovely.

0:24:420:24:43

Yeah, the year Dot, as I call it, when you arrived.

0:24:430:24:46

-Yeah, was it, actually? It was '85?

-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

-May.

0:24:460:24:49

Yeah, yeah.

0:24:490:24:50

May the 31st.

0:24:500:24:52

And I'd had my horoscope done by a rather good Indian gentleman,

0:24:520:24:58

-who was a diplomat...

-Mmm.

0:24:580:25:00

..and he'd said that on a certain date, when this happened to that,

0:25:000:25:04

when a certain planet, Saturn, reached my Midheaven,

0:25:040:25:08

I would have a spectacular success,

0:25:080:25:11

and that was May the 31st,

0:25:110:25:13

-and that was the first day I was in EastEnders.

-Hmm...

0:25:130:25:16

-Extraordinary.

-It's amazing.

0:25:160:25:19

I've got a lovely Polaroid of us two, standing under

0:25:190:25:21

a "no smoking" sign inside the BBC studio, having a cigarette.

0:25:210:25:25

-What, me?

-No, us. The two of us.

0:25:250:25:28

-Don't let...

-Two rebels.

-Don't tell 'em all these things.

0:25:280:25:31

Well, that was years ago now.

0:25:310:25:32

We did enjoy working together, didn't we?

0:25:320:25:35

-We certainly did.

-Yeah.

0:25:350:25:36

-And my real ma has gone.

-Yeah.

0:25:360:25:38

You're the only ma I've got left, ain't ya?

0:25:380:25:40

I often wonder if you brushed past my father down in...

0:25:420:25:46

in the West Country, there, when you were in the Wrens.

0:25:460:25:48

Brushed past your father?

0:25:480:25:50

Well, you might have passed one another by.

0:25:500:25:51

He'd have probably gone for you, and there you go.

0:25:510:25:53

-Was he an officer?

-No!

0:25:530:25:55

-No.

-I more or less only went out with officers.

0:25:580:26:00

Oh, I see.

0:26:000:26:02

No, I shan't tell you about it. No, we won't talk about my history.

0:26:020:26:05

Oh, OK.

0:26:050:26:07

So, what are you doing there? What are you looking at?

0:26:070:26:09

I'm looking for your lovely message that you sent me

0:26:090:26:15

to the Heritage Society lunch,

0:26:150:26:18

and it went like this -

0:26:180:26:21

"Message for today from June.

0:26:210:26:23

"Johnny, dear, I wish I could be there with you today to say how much

0:26:230:26:27

"I've enjoyed working with you as my Nick, all these past years.

0:26:270:26:32

"I was only brought into EastEnders to be Nick's ma,

0:26:320:26:34

"and, 30 years later, I'm still Dot and my Nick is underground,

0:26:340:26:40

"or was he cremated?

0:26:400:26:41

"I wish my Nick was still there to come back and torment Dot.

0:26:410:26:45

"Much love and enjoy the celebration of your 40 years as an actor.

0:26:450:26:51

"I can beat you there, Johnny.

0:26:510:26:53

-"I've done 68."

-JUNE LAUGHS

0:26:530:26:55

"June.

0:26:550:26:57

"Dot."

0:26:570:26:58

There.

0:26:580:26:59

-That went down really well.

-Well, I mean that, yeah.

-Thank you.

0:26:590:27:03

'It's a very ephemeral business, acting.

0:27:040:27:07

'I mean, now it's captured on television and film,'

0:27:070:27:11

but before that, I mean, theatre performances, they've gone.

0:27:110:27:15

You see this one, and you go the next night

0:27:150:27:18

and maybe the magic's not quite there,

0:27:180:27:21

or maybe it is there that night, and...

0:27:210:27:24

But it's gone.

0:27:240:27:26

It's only in the memory of people who've seen it,

0:27:260:27:29

and it's only there for as long as they remember.

0:27:290:27:32

Gosh, life gets like that, doesn't it?

0:27:330:27:35

Everything is so fast, and they've all got so much to do,

0:27:350:27:39

and their heads are full of this, that and the other.

0:27:390:27:43

I've never known so many rules and regulations.

0:27:430:27:45

You can't do this and you can't do that.

0:27:450:27:47

It's worse than the Ten Commandments,

0:27:470:27:50

and Jesus only had two commandments and neither of them were negative.

0:27:500:27:53

Handbag, gloves...

0:27:530:27:55

'The world's going like a whirlpool, you know -

0:27:550:27:57

'it's going to come to an end.'

0:27:570:27:58

Whether it'll come to an end before I do, I don't know.

0:27:580:28:01

I'm quite interested to see that, cos I like new things.

0:28:010:28:05

Has anybody got a nice half-glass of red wine?

0:28:100:28:14

No? Oh, well.

0:28:140:28:16

Later, maybe.

0:28:160:28:17

Celebrate a milestone birthday and all things Dot Cotton as EastEnders actress June Brown chats about her life and career. Featuring famous Walford faces and one or two surprises.