The soap legend, who portrayed the much-loved Dot Cotton (or Branning) on the BBC soap for more than three decades, passed away in April, aged 95.
The BBC confirmed in August that the residents of Albert Square will gather for a funeral in a “special episode airing this winter”.
June’s character, Dot, is currently living in Ireland but as per her wishes, her funeral will be held in Walford also known as “the place she always called home”.
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) October 11, 2022
June has played the iconic character Dot Branning since 1985 and “is one of the Square’s most adored faces,” the BBC said in a statement.
Appearing in a staggering 2884 episodes during her time on the soap, “her family and friends will be sure to give her the send-off she so very well deserves,” the soap added.
The returning cast is currently filming scenes of the special episode as they gather to share their cherished memories of Dot and update viewers on their character’s lives since leaving the square.
Executive Producer Chris Clenshaw has said that it was important to bring back significant people from Dot’s life to join her Walford loved ones for her final farewell.
Mr Clenshaw added: “It’s an honour to invite so many of Walford’s beloved characters back to pay tribute to Dot. Over the years, Dot profoundly impacted the lives of many young people struggling with life’s biggest challenges.
“Her warmth, heart and compassion changed lives – so we wanted to reunite some of the people she helped the most. I’m thrilled these talented and generous actors wanted to share this special experience with us so we can give Dot a fitting send-off.”
Which Eastenders stars are returning for Dot Cotton’s funeral episode?
The BBC has confirmed some of the familiar faces heading back to Walford for the tribute episode.
The “old friends” who will make an appearance at the funeral include Colin Russell (Lord Michael Cashman CBE), Barry Clark (Gary Hailes) George ‘Lofty’ Holloway (Tom Watt), Mary ‘the punk’ Smith (Linda Davidson) and Disa O’Brien (Jan Graveson).
They will join Dot’s step-granddaughter Lauren Branning, played by Jacqueline Jossa, to say goodbye.
Jacqueline Jossa makes shock return to BBC Eastenders
Jacqueline Jossa was recently announced to be making a shock return to the soap four years after quitting the soap.
Her character, Lauren Branning, has been in New Zealand since 2018, where she started a new life with her son Louie.
Speaking about her return, Jacqueline said: “Coming back to EastEnders for Dot’s funeral was a no-brainer, and it was a real honour to be invited back. I had a lot of fun but, of course, it was bittersweet. It was amazing to be back, but hard to be filming this storyline.
“I can tell the viewers now that Dot gets the beautiful send-off that she deserves. June was the light and joy of EastEnders. I had so much fun working with her, the incredible stories and how infectious & witty she was. June is a legend and I miss her very much.”
Jacqueline isn’t the only fan favourite making a long-awaited return to Albert Square in recent months.
Walford’s beloved mechanic Ricky Butcher, played by Sid Owen, is also back after 10 years away.
Although we don’t have an exact date for when the special tribute will be broadcast, the episode is expected towards the end of this year.