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Dot set for EastEnders return in new year

EastEnders veteran June Brown is to make her comeback to the BBC soap in the new year when Dot Branning returns to Walford.

The 85-year-old actress (below) left the show in the spring as she took a sabbatical to write her memoir, as well as working on a BBC1 documentary Respect Your Elders.

But the chain-smoking character is now set to make her return in January, shortly after what is said to be shaping up as "an explosive Christmas".

Brown joined the series the year it launched in 1985, when she was known as Dot Cotton, changing her name in 2002 when she married Jim Branning. She took a four-year break from Albert Square in the 1990s.

Executive producer Lorraine Newman said: "Albert Square hasn't been the same without her."