EastEnders confirms all the actors returning for Dot Cotton’s funeral, including Jacqueline Jossa

EastEnders has confirmed six fan-favourite characters will return for Dot Cotton’s funeral  (BBC)
EastEnders has confirmed six fan-favourite characters will return for Dot Cotton’s funeral (BBC)

EastEnders has confirmed that six characters are set to return to Walford for Dot Cotton’s funeral.

The residents of Albert Square will say an emotional farewell to the beloved launderette worker in a special episode following the death of actress June Brown at the age of 95 in April.

Among those paying their respects is Jacqueline Jossa, who played Dot’s step-granddaughter Lauren Branning, and she said her return to the BBC soap was a “no brainer”.

Other faces from Dot’s past heading back are George ‘Lofty’ Holloway (Tom Watt), Colin Russell (Lord Michael Cashman CBE), Barry Clark (Gary Hailes), Mary ‘the punk’ Smith (Linda Davidson), and Disa O’Brien (Jan Graveson).

Brown portrayed the role of Dot for 35 years, and became part of the Branning clan after marrying Jim in 2002.

Jacqueline Jossa will reprise her role of Lauren Branning for the special episode (PA Archive)
Jacqueline Jossa will reprise her role of Lauren Branning for the special episode (PA Archive)

She left the show in January 2020, with her character deciding to live in Ireland with her grandson, Charlie.

Speaking on why it was important to have so many people from Dot’s past return, executive producer Chris Clenshaw said in a statement: “It’s an honour to invite so many of Walford’s beloved characters back to pay tribute to Dot.

“Over the years, Dot profoundly impacted the lives of many young people struggling with life’s biggest challenges. Her warmth, heart, and compassion changed lives – so we wanted to reunite some of the people she helped the most.

“I’m thrilled these talented and generous actors wanted to share this special experience with us so we can give Dot a fitting send-off.”

While exact details of the episode are being kept under wraps, what we do know is it will see Lauren (Jossa) return for the first time since leaving for a new life in New Zealand with son Louie back in 2018.

And while much of her former home has changed, there is one resident who catches her eye.

On how she feels about coming back for the emotional storyline, Jossa shared: “Coming back to EastEnders for Dot’s funeral was a no-brainer, and it was a real honour to be invited back.

“I had a lot of fun but, of course, it was bittersweet. It was amazing to be back, but hard to be filming this storyline. I can tell the viewers now that Dot gets the beautiful send-off that she deserves.”

Reflecting on what Brown meant to her, she added: “June was the light and joy of EastEnders. I had so much fun working with her, the incredible stories and how infectious and witty she was. June is a legend and I miss her very much.”

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