EastEnders actress Lacey Turner said she was able to chat with June Brown “like she was a friend of her own age” – despite their age difference.
Rown, who played the chain-smoking Dot Cotton on the BBC soap for more than 30 years, died at her home on Sunday aged 95.
Turner, 34, who was a teenager when she joined the program, said she felt “blessed and fortunate” to have “so many special memories from June.”
The actress – who joined EastEnders in 2004 as Stacey Slater – said on BBC Breakfast: “It’s just so surreal. You show up on your first day on the job blessed with the presence of stars like June Brown, Barbara Windsor, Wendy Richard…all those incredible icons. It’s overwhelming.
“It’s really an honor to watch them at work over the years, as they work with an old-school glamor that no longer exists.
“Just to be around (Brown) … I was 16 or 17 and June would have been in her late 70’s and you could talk like she was a friend the same age. It was wonderful.”
Brown first set foot in Walford’s Albert Square on the 40th episode of the soap opera in 1985 and quickly became one of the most popular and memorable characters.
Turner added, “She wasn’t that much like Dot at all. She really had a great sense of humor, she was incredibly funny and she was so young at heart.
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“She knew everything. She was just full of knowledge. Which 90-year-old can befriend Lady Gaga? She was really quite amazing.”
Lacey said she learned “true professionalism” from sharing the screen with Brown.
“Many times you’d show up to a scene and she would have rewritten it on the day so you could have a few minutes to learn it, but you trusted June,” she said.
“You knew it would get better and she went out of her way to find someone to print it out for you, which always made me chuckle because you just show up and have to learn a whole new scene.
“Her professionalism, her care and passion for her craft and the details she put into her character was fascinating to watch. From both watching Dot and listening to June, I was absolutely mesmerized.”
EastEnders star John Altman, who played Brown’s “nasty” son Nick Cotton on screen, said she was a “genuine advocate” for the script’s accuracy and would often guide him through scenes.
“(They were) valuable moments for me in my career. It was such a pleasure to work with her,” he said on Good Morning Britain.
“She was older than me, so she was more experienced. Sometimes she would guide me and say, ‘Slow it down, love.’
“She was a dear friend, someone I could confide in, and probably my second mother, really. My real mom said she looked more like my mom than she did.”
Lord Michael Cashman, who joined EastEnders as Colin Russell in 1986, said he ” hit it off ” with Brown immediately and admired how she fought for her character on set.
“When she fell out with the show about what she was doing because she loved it, it was often because the writing didn’t fit what she was thinking and didn’t fit Dot,” he said.
“She fought for Dot. She understood Dot. As a national treasure, it easily stumbles off the tongue, but it was June who became a national treasure with Dot.
“You often know the character in a soap opera, but never the actress. June showed us, this brilliant woman, the truth, the integrity, and that’s what shone through her character, through her acting and through the show.”
Lord Michael said Brown “loved” being around good actors.
He added: “If you didn’t know the lyrics, she had little time for you. She was classically trained, she had worked her way up, and she expected you to do your job. She was incredible.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/eastenders-star-lacey-turner-remembers-june-brown-as-being-young-at-heart-41522169.html EastEnders star Lacey Turner remembers June Brown as ‘young at heart’