It’s not all that often the world of cleaning has a true fictional hero or heroine to look up to. Yet Dot Branning aka Dot Cotton aka June Brown has been steadily providing us with a role model for nigh-on 30 years. Here, we take a look at the classic soap character, and why she’s stood the test of time.
How did it all start? Dot Cotton was there from the beginning. Well, almost. The first ever episode of EastEnders went out on 19 February 1985, and Dot’s first appearance was in July of that year. Back then she was working as a laundry assistant at the Walford launderette, and her career aspirations have taken her no further since (save her part-time church warden role). Though Dot has taken a couple of hiatuses from the show since 1985, we reckon she’s still the number one character to go to for your ironing and Albert Square gossip.
Nice family? Not exactly. This is EastEnders after all. From the get-go, Dot had trouble with both her hubby and her son, Nick (John Altman). The former was having an affair with Dot’s sister while Dot herself was giving birth to Nick. The little one grew up to be a right terror, dreaming up numerous crooked schemes that shamed and even targeted his dear old mum.
Give us a low point. There are quite a few. But the time Nick tried to poison Dot in order to make off with her bingo winnings was pretty darn low. Back in 1987, she also discovered the body of suicide Donna Ludlow (Matilda Ziegler), who’d been staying with her. That was one clean up job she needed help with…
Give us a high point. That has to be finding the love of her life Jim Branning (John Bardon), whom of course, she later married. Things weren’t always easy (what with his chronic gambling and boozing) but they made an unlikely perfect couple. She spent plenty of time cleaning up after him too.
Why’s Dot our cleaning hero? Don’t you think it’s incredible how this woman, now in her eighties continues to churn out clean shirts and duvets, while surrounded by murder and scandal, and usually while she’s got a fag on the go too? Respect.