June Brown has announced her decision to quit EastEnders after 35 years on the BBC soap, admitting she has been disappointed with her recent storylines. The 93-year-old said that she has left the show "for good", but an EastEnders spokesperson has insisted that the door is open for her to return if she changes her mind.
WATCH: Get to know more about EastEnders in 60 seconds
Speaking on the Distinct Nostalgia podcast, June said: "It's almost as if I've been bereaved. I don't want a retainer for EastEnders. I've left for good. I've sent her off to Ireland where she'll stay. I've left EastEnders."
June Brown has quit her role as Dot Cotton in EastEnders
June's character Dot Cotton was last seen on the show in January, when she left Natalie Cassidy's character Sonia Fowler a voicemail saying she had moved to Ireland. And despite revealing it was her decision to leave the role after more than three decades, June admitted leaving the show had felt like a bereavement.
"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," she told Rani Singh, who played Sufia Karim on EastEnders from 1988 to 1990. "I've played two people simultaneously for 35 years. Really Dot wasn't me, but spiritually she probably was."
June joined the soap in 1985, and is seen here with the Queen in 2001
June first joined EastEnders in July 1985, playing the mother of notorious criminal Nick Cotton. She temporarily left the soap between 1993 and 1997, and also took six months off in 2012, but has been one of the most popular characters.
It's a big week for EastEnders, as the soap is currently celebrating its 35th anniversary with a special week of action-packed shows. Viewers have expressed their fears that two much-loved characters are going to die in Friday's episode after dramatic flash-forward scenes teased two fatalities.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.