Walford residents learned that Dot Branning had passed away on a double bill for the BBC One EastEnders soap on Thursday.
The famous figure, known for his devout Christian faith and hypocrisy, as well as his addiction to tobacco, first set foot in Albert Square as Dot Cotton in 1985 before leaving in 2020 to live with his nephew Charlie in Ireland.
June Brown, the veteran actress who played the beloved laundry worker, died in April at the age of 95.
In the episodes that came back on Thursday, Sonia Fowler, played by Natalie Cassidy, missed several calls before discovering her grandmother, Dot, had passed away.
The episode showed Sonia going to the Queen Vic pub, where residents had gathered for a Christmas lighted party to announce the death.
She told those present: “I just received a phone call from Ireland. It’s Dot, she’s dead.
“She had dinner with Charlie and her great-grandchildren, took her last cigarette and went to bed with a paracetamol tablet. The last thing she said was ‘I have one of my heads floating’.
“She did not suffer, she fell into a peaceful sleep. Charlie found her this morning, her wheelchairs, fags pack and Bible beside her.
Mick and Linda Carter, played by Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright, offered shocked and emotional residents a free drink in the house to celebrate Dot’s passing.
Sharon Watts, played by Letitia Dean, says, “I’ve known her all my life… She always gives the best advice,” while Gillian Taylforth’s Kathy Beale says of Dot: “She’s got the edge. the most solid of us.”
Martin Fowler, played by James Bye, says: “God, she’s my grandmother’s best friend, my mother, my wife, my daughter, what are those four generations? I don’t know how to go on without her.”
Fan-favourite Alfie Moon, played by Shane Richie, joked: “The only exercise she gets is to rush to conclusions.”
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Meanwhile, Patrick Trueman, played by Rudolph Walker, gave a touching speech: “Losing friends at my age hasn’t been easier. Not any easier.
“But you know something, Dot is not a sentimental woman and if she were here now, she would appreciate each and every one of us and enjoy every moment of it.
“What can we do to remember her? Let’s give her something she won’t accept – it’s Dot,” he said, raising his glass.
The episode saw Mick keep turning on the Christmas lights in emotional scenes as he watched residents gather around Albert Square.
He said: “This has been an emotional year because we said goodbye to Dot and it was fitting because she loved that baby Jesus and she loved her family, and that is each one of them. you are standing here now.
“So in memory of Dot, Merry Christmas.”
At the end of the episode, Sonia picks up a picture of her grandmother in the living room, where the couple have shared many emotional moments over the years.
Walking towards the door in tears, Sonia looked around one last time before saying, “Good night Dot.”
The EastEnders theme tune doesn’t play at the end of the episode, instead, the credits switch to a ticking hour before ending in silence and going to a black screen.
Dot’s funeral will be broadcast this winter on BBC One.
Thursday’s double episode also saw the return of Ricky Butcher, played by Sid Owen, after 10 years away from the soap.
The actor reprized the role of Walford’s hapless mechanic after starring in the series from 1988 to 2000, with sporadic returns until 2012.
Ricky reunites with his troubled sister Janine Butcher on screen, played by Charlie Brooks.
He also faces his ex-wife Sam Mitchell played by Kim Medcalf.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/goodnight-dot-eastenders-mourns-death-of-dot-branning-42189501.html ‘Good night’ – EastEnders mourns Dot Branning’s death