‘Goodnight Dot’ – EastEnders mourns death of Dot Branning
The soap’s theme tune did not play at the end of the episode, instead the credits rolled to the sound of a ticking clock before ending in silence.
The residents of Walford learned that Dot Branning had passed away during Thursday’s double bill of BBC One soap EastEnders.
The popular character, known for her devout Christian faith and hypochondria, as well as her cigarette addiction, first set foot on Albert Square as Dot Cotton in 1985 before departing in 2020 to live with her grandson Charlie in Ireland.
June Brown, the veteran actress who played the beloved laundrette worker, died in April at the age of 95.
During Thursday’s back-to-back episodes, Sonia Fowler, played by Natalie Cassidy, had missed a number of calls before finding out her grandmother Dot had died.
The episode saw Sonia head to the Queen Vic pub, where residents had gathered for a party to turn on the Christmas lights, to announce the death.
She told those gathered: “I just had a phone call from Ireland. It’s Dot, she’s died.
“She had dinner with Charlie and her great-grandkids, had her final ciggy and went up to bed with a paracetamol. Last thing she said was ‘I’ve got one of my heads coming on’.
“She didn’t suffer, she fell asleep peacefully. Charlie found her this morning, rollers in, packet of fags and her Bible next to her.”
Mick and Linda Carter, played by Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright, offered the shocked and emotional residents a free drink on the house to toast Dot’s passing.
Sharon Watts, played by Letitia Dean, said: “Known her all my life… She always gave the best advice”, while Kathy Beale played by Gillian Taylforth said of Dot: “She had the strongest shoulders out of all of us.”
Martin Fowler, played by James Bye, said: “God she’s best friends with my nan, my mum, my wife, my daughter, what is that four generations? I don’t know how to go on without her.”
Fan-favourite character Alfie Moon, played by Shane Richie, joked: “The only exercise she got was jumping to conclusions.”
Meanwhile, Patrick Trueman, played by Rudolph Walker, made a touching speech: “Losing your friends at my age doesn’t get any easier. Not easier at all.
“But you know something, Dot is not a sentimental woman and if she was here now she would be judging each and every one of us and enjoying every second of it.
“What can we do to remember her? Let us give her something that she will disapprove of – to Dot,” he said, raising his glass.
The episode saw Mick go ahead with the Christmas lights switch-on in emotional scenes which saw the residents gathered around Albert Square.
He said: “It’s an emotional one this year because we say goodbye to Dot and it’s appropriate because she did love that baby Jesus and she loved her family, and that’s every single one of you standing here now.
“So in memory of Dot, Merry Christmas.”
The end of the episode saw Sonia pick up a photograph of her grandmother in her living room, where the pair had shared many emotional moments over the years.
Walking towards the door in tears, Sonia looked around for a final time before saying: “Goodnight Dot.”
The EastEnders theme tune did not play at the end of the episode, instead the credits rolled to the sound of a ticking clock before ending in silence and fading to a black screen.
Dot’s funeral will air 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 reprised his role as Walford’s hapless mechanic after starring in the soap from 1988 until 2000, with sporadic returns until 2012.
Ricky was reunited with his troublesome on-screen sister Janine Butcher, played by Charlie Brooks.
He also came face-to-face with ex-wife Sam Mitchell played by Kim Medcalf.