Nasty Nick, the monologue and cannabis tea - Dot Cotton's EastEnders highlights

Chain-smoking, Bible-bashing Dot Cotton has been an EastEnders fixture since 1985, appearing in some of the soap’s most dramatic – and funniest – scenes.

As actress June Brown turns 90, we take a look back at some of her character’s best storylines.

Dot and Nasty Nick

Dot Cotton with Nasty Nick (Jack Barnes/BBC)

Many of Dot’s most powerful scenes came from her troubled relationship with one of soap’s biggest villains – her son, Nick (John Altman).

Nick caused Dot endless heartache with his shenanigans, even poisoning her for her bingo winnings. Much to viewers’ frustration, however, his “ma” always found it in herself to forgive him.

But even Dot had her limits and in shocking scenes in 2015, she allowed Nick to die in her arms without calling for help when he had a bad reaction to heroin.

“I ain’t called the ambulance,” she told him. “I prayed to let Jesus decide whether you get better or whether the world was a better place without you.”

She confessed to police, leading to a dramatic murder trial.

The death of Ethel

Dot and Ethel (Adam Pensotti/BBC)

EastEnders tackled the thorny issue of euthanasia in 2000, when Dot helped best friend Ethel take her own life.

Terminally ill Ethel was suffering in her final days and asked her long-time pal to help her take an overdose of morphine to end her pain.

Viewers were gripped as Dot wrestled with her decision, eventually deciding to put her own beliefs aside and grant her old friend’s dying wish.

The episode drew 16.5 million viewers.

Dot marries Jim

John Bardon and June Brown (BBC)

A soap power couple was born when Dot finally agreed to be Jim Branning’s bride.

Having bristled at his romantic overtures in the past, Dot finally said yes when Jim (John Bardon) popped the question during a romantic ride on the London Eye.

“I love you,” said Jim. “I don’t think you’re half bad either,” she replied.

The pair tied the knot in church on Valentine’s Day 2002.

The monologue episode

June Brown as Dot Cotton in 1997 (Derek Cox/PA)

In 2009, June carried an entire episode alone, with Dot dictating a special message for Jim into a tape recorder after he suffered a stroke.

The moving scenes – all the more poignant because actor John had had a stroke in real life – saw June nominated for a Bafta.

She missed out on the award but later quipped that she had given herself a pat on the back anyway, saying: “When I didn’t win the Bafta, my granddaughter and I made what we call the Nafta out of cigarettes and tin foil.

“It now sits in the BBC cabinet with all the awards.”

Dot and the drugs

June Brown (Yui Mok/PA)

Dot showed off her lighter side in several comic plots, including the time she dabbled in “alternative therapies”.

The senior citizen had returned to Walford in 1997 after some time away and moved in with fellow OAP Lilly Mattock.

Things were going swimmingly until Dot mistook some cannabis for herbal tea – and found herself under arrest.

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