June Brown

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June Brown
MBE
June Brown (2009).jpg
Brown at the 2009 Bafta Awards
Born June Muriel Brown
Years active 1952–present
Spouse(s)

John Garley (m. 1950; wid. 1957)

Robert Arnold (m. 1958; wid. 2003)
Children 6 children

June Muriel Brown, MBE (born 16 February 1927) is an award winning British actress, best known for her role as Dot Cotton in the long-running BBC soap opera EastEnders, and for making other high profile television appearances on shows such as Doctor Who, Coronation Street, Minder, The Bill and The Sweeney.

Early life and family[edit]

June Muriel Brown was born in Suffolk in 1927, the daughter of Louisa Ann (née Butler) and Henry William Melton Brown.[1] She was one of five children, although her baby brother died of pneumonia in 1932, aged 15 days, and her elder sister, Marise, died in 1934, aged eight, from a meningitis-like illness. Other than English, she has Irish, Scottish, Italian and Sephardic Jewish descent from Oran, Algeria.[2][3] On her maternal grandmother's side June is descended from the Jewish bare knuckle boxer Isaac Bitton.[4] She was educated at St John's Church of England school in Ipswich and then won a scholarship to Ipswich High School where she passed the school certificate examinations.[5] During the Second World War, she was evacuated to Pontyates, a village in Wales. During the later years of the war, she served in the Wrens (Royal Navy), and was classically trained at The Old Vic Theatre School.[6]

At 23, she met and married actor John Garley; he suffered from depression and committed suicide in 1957. In 1958, she married Robert Arnold,[7] a regular in the BBC television programme Dixon of Dock Green. They had six children, though her second daughter, Chloe (b. 1960) born prematurely at 28 weeks, died after 16 days. The other children are Louise (b. 1959), Sophie (b. 1961), William/Bill (b. 1962), Chloe (b. 1964), and Naomi (b. 1966). Chloe suffered paralysis, but Brown is reported as saying that it went away after she prayed for healing.[citation needed] Brown and Arnold were together for forty-five years, until he died in 2003 of Lewy Body dementia. Since then she has lived alone in their house in Surrey.[5]

She is a supporter of the Conservative Party.[8]

Film and television career[edit]

Brown has had a long television career, with small roles in Coronation Street as Mrs Parsons (1970); in the Play for Today, Edna, the Inebriate Woman as Clara (1971); in the Doctor Who story "The Time Warrior" as Lady Eleanor (1973/74); medical soap Angels; history-of-Britain Churchill's People; long-running comedy drama Minder; police drama soap The Bill; and cult sci-fi series Survivors. She also had a bigger part as Mrs Leyton in the very popular costume drama The Duchess of Duke Street (1976), and played Mrs Mann in Oliver Twist (1985).

She has also starred in the wartime big band comedy Ain't Misbehavin (1997), and played Nanny Slagg in the BBC's big-budget production of Gormenghast in 2000. She had a number of small roles in several famous movies, appearing as the grieving mother of an undead biker in British horror flick Psychomania (1971), as well as Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Straw Dogs (1971), Murder by Decree (1979), Nijinsky (1980), The Mambo Kings (1992) and the hugely successful Mr. Bean movie spin-off Bean (1997).

In 1984, she featured in the TV mini-series Lace which starred actress Phoebe Cates.

She also starred in a 1968 TV film called Gentle To Nora and had her very first acting role in 1952 in the movie "It Started In Paradise", she played an uncredited announcer. In 2006, Brown appeared as Aunt Spiker at the Children's Party At The Palace, an all-star event to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday. In 2010 Brown took part in the annual Christmas special for Strictly Come Dancing. Brown said "I'm terrified and apprehensive about what I've let myself in for, I must be barmy and I'm not sure what's come over me… I just hope I can remember the steps to the routines. I'm looking forward to working with the professional dancers and the other contestants."[9] Her dancing partner was Vincent Simone, with whom she danced the tango. She was the oldest contestant in the show so far.[10]

In July 2012 Brown hosted a documentary for the BBC called Respect Your Elders, which looked at society's treatment and attitudes towards the elderly.[11]

EastEnders and Dot[edit]

Brown was recommended to producers for the role of Dot Cotton by another one of its original cast members, Leslie Grantham, who played the show's villain, Den Watts. Dot is one of the longest-running characters in EastEnders. Brown played the role from 1985 to 1993, and from 1997 onwards.

Initially a highly unsympathetic character in EastEnders - a sanctimonious, judgemental, two-faced busybody, Dot Cotton was originally brought on for a short-term story arc to complement the storyline of her screen son, Nick Cotton, being accused of murder. However, Dot became a popular character, and has matured into one of the best-loved characters in the programme, a 'mother earth' figure to whom anyone can go in times of need. In an interview on The Paul O'Grady Show in December 2007, June expressed embarrassment at watching herself on screen and says she has a highly modest attitude towards her role as Dot.[citation needed]

Brown says she is pleased to have been able to restore Dot as a character of depth in her ground-breaking episode, especially after reports that she wanted to leave the series in 2007 because she had disagreed with a storyline in which Dot found a refugee baby abandoned in a church. She signed a £370,000 contract in April 2007 to play Dot Cotton for another year.[citation needed] She signed a £570,000 deal in April 2008 to play Dot for another year. June Brown said, "I feel better with the writers now, as they are coming up with sustainable story lines for me to play. On top of that, the arrival of John Bardon has boosted my confidence."

On 31 January 2008, June made history by being the first and so far only actress to carry an entire episode single handed in the history of British soap, with a monologue looking back over her past life, dictated to a cassette machine for her husband Jim to listen to in hospital following a stroke. The fact that co-star and close friend John Bardon (who plays Jim) was recovering from a stroke in real life added extra pathos to the episode.[12][13] In an interview on This Morning[episode needed] she claimed it was relatively easy, as there were no co-actors forgetting their lines. In 2009, Brown was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress.[14] She is the first actress to be nominated in the category for a role in a soap opera since Jean Alexander's nomination for playing Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street in 1988. Brown's nomination came as a result of her "single-hander" episode of EastEnders, the director of which she praised.[15]

On 30 April 2012 it was announced that Brown would take a six-month break from EastEnders and planned to write her autobiography during her time off.[16] A spokeswoman for the programme said: "June is on a break but will be back in a few months".[17] In October 2012 it was announced she had returned to filming and she returned in January 2013.[18]

Theatre roles[edit]

Brown has also been active in British theatre, directing Pin Money by Malcolm Needs in London, and Double D in London and Edinburgh. She played Mrs Danvers in a production of Rebecca. Other plays include An Inspector Calls, The Lion in Winter, A View from the Bridge, and numerous pantomimes including The Witches, in which her sister also performed. During her early career, she played the roles of Hedda Gabler and Lady Macbeth.

In 2009, Brown played Jessie in the West End production of Calendar Girls at the Noël Coward Theatre. Also in the play were former EastEnders stars Anita Dobson (Angie Watts), Jack Ryder (Jamie Mitchell) and Jill Halfpenny (Kate Mitchell).

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Result Award Category Film or series Character
1999 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2000 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Single Episode - Ethell's Emotional Death EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best On Screen Partnership - shared with Gretchen Franklin EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2001 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Dramatic Performance EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Hero of the Year EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Storyline - Dot's Schizophrenia Plot EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Storyline - Dot's Schizophrenia Plot EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2002 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won British Soap Awards Best On Screen Partnership - shared with John Bardon EastEnders Dot Cotton
2004 Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2005 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated British Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won British Soap Awards Best On Screen Partnership - shared with John Bardon EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won British Soap Awards Lifetime Achievement Award EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Won Inside Soap Awards Best Couple - shared with John Bardon EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Soap Storyline - Dot's Cancer EastEnders Dot Cotton
2007 Nominated National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Dot Cotton
2008 Nominated TRIC Awards Best TV Personality EastEnders Dot Cotton
2009 Nominated National Television Awards Serial Drama Performance EastEnders Dot Cotton
Nominated BAFTA Awards Actress in a Leading Role EastEnders Dot Cotton

2009

2011

Acting roles[edit]

Film[edit]

Television[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Videogames[edit]

Directed[edit]

  • Double D (play)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.genesreunited.co.uk/blog/genes-reunited-blog/archive/2011/8/2/june-brown-family-history
  2. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are: June Brown". 
  3. ^ June Brown: 'I'm like a mongrel!' | Interviews | EastEnders | Soaps | What's on TV
  4. ^ Rajan, Amol (11 August 2011). "Last Night's TV: Who Do You Think You Are?/BBC1 Village SOS/BBC1". London: The Independent. 
  5. ^ a b June Brown Interview in The Independent. Retrieved 3 January 2013
  6. ^ June Brown Biography at entertainmentscene 360. Retrieved 11 January 2014
  7. ^ IMDb profile of Robert Arnold
  8. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (20 April 2009). "Decca Aitkenhead meets June Brown, EastEnders' Dot Cotton". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  9. ^ "BBC - Press Office - BBC announces Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special". BBC Online. BBC Press Office. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "EastEnders star June Brown signs up for Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special". Mail Online (London: Daily Mail). 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "BBC One - June Brown: Respect Your Elders". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  12. ^ Moreton, Cole (27 January 2008). "June Brown: All alone in Dot's kitchen". The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  13. ^ EastEnder legend June Brown's rise from the stage to the Square - Mirror.co.uk
  14. ^ "Television Awards Nominations 2009". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  15. ^ Fletcher, Alex (24 March 2009). "Santer hails 'remarkable' June Brown". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  16. ^ "'EastEnders' June Brown taking six-month break - EastEnders News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  17. ^ Llewellyn, Angharad. The Sun (London) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/soaps/4288166/June-Brown-to-take-a-break-from-EastEnders.html |url= missing title (help). 
  18. ^ "'EastEnders': Dot Branning makes return in January - EastEnders News - Soaps". Digital Spy. 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 

External links[edit]