'EastEnders' recreates late June Brown's first ever scene, starring Natalie Cassidy

June Brown in EastEnders
June Brown played Dot Cotton for more than three decades in EastEnders. (BBC)

EastEnders paid tribute to late soap icon June Brown in Monday's episode by recreating her first ever Albert Square scene with Natalie Cassidy.

The Walford veteran who played Dot Cotton in the BBC One soap died in April aged 95, and Monday marked the 37th anniversary of her debut in the programme.

Read more: EastEnders star Mona Hammond dies aged 91

In a nod to one of its most famous stars, the soap celebrated the milestone by including a scene where Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler, recreated Dot's first lines.

Wearing a trench coat and floral dress similar to Dot's first outfit on 4 July 1985, Sonia burst into Albert Square's cafe just as Dot had done and asked for a cup of tea.

Speaking to Kathy Beale, played by Gillian Taylforth, Cassidy said: “Give us a tea Kath, and a glass of water so I can take a paracetamol.

“That early shift was a nightmare, I called on the Lord so many times I think I’m turning into Dot.”

Read more: Pete Doherty says he was once offered EastEnders role

Brown arrived in Albert Square shortly after the soap began, and aside from a break between 1993 and 1997, was a regular for more than three decades.

June Brown as Dot Cotton
June Brown died in April aged 95. (PA)

She announced her exit from EastEnders in 2020 with little fanfare - Dot had not featured in the soap for a month, when she left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler saying she had moved to Ireland.

Brown won several awards for her portrayal of Dot, including a lifetime achievement honour at the 2005 British Soap Awards.

In 2009 she was nominated for the best actress prize at the TV Baftas for her standalone episode called 'Pretty Baby', in which she spoke to a cassette recorder about her life so that her husband Jim Branning (John Bardon) could listen to it as he lay in hospital following a stroke.

In December 2021 Brown was made an OBE in the New Year Honours, as she was recognised for services to drama and to charity.

She was previously made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 for services to drama and charity.

Watch: EastEnders cast on the show's shake-up