Natalie Cassidy talking on Loose Women; inset, June Brown (Credit: ITV/BBC/YouTube/Composite: ED!)

Natalie Cassidy reveals ‘very difficult time’ following EastEnders icon June Brown’s death

The pair were close on and off screen

EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy has revealed how she struggled following the death of soap icon and co-star June Brown.

Natalie, who has played Sonia Fowler on the BBC soap since 1995, acted alongside June as the onscreen step-granddaughter of Dot Cotton.

June died aged 95 in April 2022, and Dot’s funeral was aired in December that year, with the characters paying emotional tribute to the life and times of a Walford legend.

Natalie Cassidy in interview on Loose Women
Natalie has talked about how losing June affected her (Credit: ITV)

Natalie Cassidy opens up about co-star June Brown’s death

Speaking to The Mirror in an interview with actor Joanna Page – with whom she hosts a new podcast, named Off The Telly, Natalie discussed the impact losing June had.

“It was very, very difficult for me because obviously I’ve lost a dear friend,” Natalie said. “She taught me a lot and we had a lot of laughs over the years. When she was 82 years old she’d be partying in a nightclub, and she was just so amazing.”

She went on to talk about the episode of Dot’s funeral, saying: “There was a lot resting on my shoulders, I think I did her proud.”

Sonia shouts at Dot on EastEnders
Natalie and June played Sonia and Dot on the BBC soap (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

What happened to Dot on EastEnders?

Dot first appeared in the soap in 1985. Her final appearance was in January 2020, two years before her death.

She departed Walford for Ireland, where she lived with her grandson Charlie and his wife up until her passing.

The character died off-screen following June’s own real-life death, leaving a heartbroken Sonia to arrange the funeral.

This very special episode was marked by a number of returning faces, including Colin Russell, Barry Clark, George ‘Lofty’ Holloway, Mary ‘the punk’ Smith and Lisa O’Brien. Ian Beale – who had, at the time, also quit Walford – also made a brief cameo appearance.

“Over the years, Dot profoundly impacted the lives of many young people struggling with life’s biggest challenges,” said executive producer Chris Clenshaw.

“Her warmth, heart and compassion changed lives – so we wanted to reunite some of the people she helped the most.”

Read more: Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2024? Complete list of cast exits, arrivals and returns

Sonia snatches Chloe part 2 - EastEnders - BBC

EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One

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Joel Harley
Freelance Writer