Inside EastEnders star June Brown’s dramatic life away from playing Dot Cotton

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June Brown is not just an actress, she is somewhat of a legend.

The 94 year old played Albert Square legend Dot Cotton on EastEnders from 1985 until last year, and is a household name.

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

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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?

At 23 she married actor John Garley 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; she has lived alone in their Surrey mansion ever since.

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.

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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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