It was time to say goodbye to Dot Branning in this week’s EastEndersShe was a BBC soap star, so it was no surprise that she and June Brown were given the most fitting farewell.
This week was a bit different after last week. questionable tributeThese episodes were a refreshing tonic. Dedicated to Dot’s final journeyAs the coffin made its way through Albert Square to reach her, the entire community was there to watch.
Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) revealed that, despite Dot’s ripe old age, she couldn’t comprehend a world without her. And for viewers, it’s still hard to imagine EastEnders without her.
Sonia, Dotty cotton (Milly Zero), Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), were getting ready to go for the service. They were joined by returning faces Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa), Colin Russell (Lord Michael Cashman), Mary Smith and more.
To pay his respects, he was hidden away. Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), who hadn’t been seen in almost two years. Ian didn’t make his presence known, saying a tender private goodbye to Dot before taking a mysterious phone call and departing once more. Whether he’ll be back is a question for another time, but the surprises weren’t even nearly over yet.
First, though, we were given one last chance to hear Dot’s voice on-screen. As her loved ones stood at her graveside, the wise woman reflected on the journey of her life. Then, seamlessly, a slow rendition of the hymn ‘Abide With Me’ transitioned into Dot’s very own EastEnders Theme.
Simon May composed Dot’s poignant composition and added it to his EastEnders Collection. The music was accompanied by this beautiful tribute.
Once we’d recovered from this emotional moment, it was time for the aftermath as tonight, the show continued where it left off. In the Queen Vic, the wake gave way to a celebration of Dot’s life. Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker, CBE) spoke fondly about lost friends while Jack recalled the happy times Dot shared with his father Jim (John Bardon).
Sonia found herself charmed by a long-lost relative of Dot’s, Reiss Colwell (Jonny Freeman). But they were interrupted by the rest of the mourners — some intent on drinking the evening away, others reflecting on growing old disgracefully. Later, Sonia was cheered to find Reiss playing a french horn to We’ll Meet Again, and she retrieved her famous trumpet, much to everyone’s amusement.
But now, back to those promised surprises, although the first wasn’t much of a shock. As revealed by his daughter Lauren, the absent Max Branning (Jake Wood) hadn’t changed one bit — she had caught him in bed with one of her best friends. But that didn’t stop her from calling out Max’s ex-lover Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) in true East End style after she remarked on the news.
Colin shared his grief with Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) and said that his husband had died but that he had reconnected. This turned out to be none other than Barry Clark (Gary Hailes), the man Colin had shared EastEnders’ first mouth-to-mouth kiss with decades ago. After some affectionate bickering, the pair left Albert Square with a kiss and another kiss.
As Dot’s wake came to an end, there was one last unexpected return which took the story away from her loss. Karen Taylor (Lorraine Stanley), was watching her mother. But, he had left Walford to escape from the wrathful love rival Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). So why is he returning? Keanu, Sharon’s young son Albie, will Keanu be there long enough?
EastEnders has closed a huge chapter with Dot’s beautiful send-off, and now a new one begins. And as always, there’s plenty of twists to come as the festive season truly gets underway.
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