John Altman: EastEnders' June Brown was 'higher class' than Dot Cotton

Watch: EastEnders star John Altman remembers on-screen mother June Brown

EastEnders star John Altman has said the late June Brown was 'in a higher class' than her character Dot Cotton.

The soap actor has died at the age of 95 and will always be remembered as chain-smoking laundrette manager Dot, one of the original residents of Albert Square when the BBC soap launched in 1985.

Altman, who played her on-screen son Nick Cotton, told Good Morning Britain: "What can I say? I would say June Brown was in a higher class, better spoken, she's got a beautiful voice, dressed well, not dowdy in any way. A very smart lady. More upper middle class than working class, I guess I should say."

Read more: Dot Cotton's most memorable storylines

Brown — who is said to have died "peacefully at her home in Surrey with her family by her side" — was appointed an MBE in 2008, and an OBE in 2022 for services to drama and charity. She officially retired from EastEnders in 2020.

John Altman fondly remembered his on-screen EastEnders mum June Brown, who has died aged 95. (Getty Images)
John Altman fondly remembered his on-screen EastEnders mum June Brown, who has died aged 95. (Getty Images)

Altman, 70, played Dot's bad boy son 'Nasty Nick' who was killed off in 2015.

Talking about the last time he saw Brown, Altman revealed: "[It was] about a month ago. She was tired. She’d slowed right down.

"I’d like to say, so much thanks and God bless her family who’ve been fantastic, rallying round her - they’ve taken great care of her. She didn’t have to go into a home or anything. She spent her last days in her lovely home in the Surrey Hills."

June Brown as Dot Cotton smoking a cigarette.
June Brown played Albert Square's Dot Cotton since 1985. (PA)

Dot Cotton was known for her devout Christian Faith and Altman revealed Brown would say 'healing prayers' for people in need on the set of the soap.

He said: "We’d walk to the canteen at the BBC and it would always take about half an hour because she’d stop along the way chatting to people. She was so kind.

"She used to say healing prayers, actually. She was quite a spiritual person - she definitely believed in a higher power, something more than we know, perhaps. We were a good team.”

Guests June Brown and John Altman during filming of a special episode of the Graham Norton Show to celebrate 30 years of EastEnders, at the London Studios, south London, which will be aired on Monday 16th February.
John Altman said June Brown was like a sceond mother to him. (PA)

Altman also likened Brown to a "second mother".

Read more: Why June Brown ruled out quitting smoking in 2019

He said: "She was a dear friend. Someone I could confide in, and probably my second mother, really. My real mother said she looked more like my mother than she did!"