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21 February 2020, 07:02 | Updated: 21 February 2020, 11:31
June Brown has revealed she’s ‘left EastEnders for good’ after quitting her role as Dot Cotton.
It’s the end of an era for EastEnders fans, as legendary actress June Brown has quit her role as Dot Cotton.
The 93-year-old actress joined the BBC soap three decades ago, but her character was last seen on screen in January when she left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) revealing that she’d moved to Ireland.
But revealing she won’t be returning to Albert Square, June has now told Made in Manchester's Distinct Nostalgia podcast: “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.”
June is arguably one of the most well-known EastEnders actors in the soap's history, and has been a regular since it began 35 years ago.
She did take a break between 1993 and 1997, and another in 2012 when she was writing her autobiography, but has always found her way back to Walford.
Opening up about leaving her role behind for good, June said saying goodbye to Dot has been like losing a loved one.
She said: “I was feeling down a few days ago. I thought, ‘What’s the matter? Why do I feel so sad?’ It’s almost as if I’ve been bereaved.
“I’ve played two people simultaneously for 35 years. Really Dot wasn’t me, but spiritually she probably was.”
And fans of the BBC soap are equally devastated by the news, as one wrote on Twitter: "No! she’s such a legend!"
"Oh no! This sad news! I hope they won't finish her time there with her dying," said another, while a third added: "Aww that's so sad. Enjoy your retirement Dot x"
June has had some huge storylines in the past, including her relationship with villain son Nick (John Altman) who she ended up killing with a fatal dose of heroin.
Despite the announcement, June is expected to attend a gathering for the soap’s 35th anniversary, with bosses saying there are no plans for June to leave for good.
An EastEnders spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: “We never discuss artists contracts, however as far as EastEnders are concerned the door remains open for June, as it always has if the story arises and if June wishes to take part.”
An insider also added to The Sun: “Everyone is a little baffled by this as June’s dressing room and all her contents are still where they have always been, in fact we were under the impression that she is attending a gathering tomorrow to mark the 35th anniversary.”