Ex-EastEnder June Brown to star in drama podcast

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image captionWriter Richard Vergette said he had June Brown's voice in mind when he wrote the drama

Former EastEnders star June Brown is set to star in a Christmas drama podcast about family separation due to the pandemic.

Brown announced in February that she had left her role as the much-loved character Dot Cotton after 35 years.

Now, the 93-year-old will return in Missing You, playing the mother of a son with Down's syndrome.

"I thoroughly enjoyed recording Missing You and thought the writing was very good," Brown told the BBC.

The audio piece will explore the mother-son relationship, which becomes strained by Covid-enforced isolation.

The 30-minute podcast will kick off a series of monologues and duologues for Distinct Nostalgia's Generation Games, aimed at exploring relationships across the generational divide.

In it Brown plays Margey, who against advice, refused to give her son, portrayed by actor Sam Barnard. up for adoption when she was told he had Down's syndrome.

image captionJune Brown had starred in EastEnders as Dot Cotton since 1985

"Being the parent of a young man with Down's syndrome I'm aware that the compassionate response we received by medical staff at our son's birth, wasn't always the experience of parents from previous generations," said Missing You writer Richard Vergette.

"When writing the role of Margey I had the voice of June Brown in my head and so asked the producer, Ashley Byrne, 'Can we find a June Brown type of actress?'" he added.

"'How about June Brown?' he replied! I still can't quite believe that a living legend is playing in a piece I've written."

The producers described Brown as being "far from retired" and noted how the vocal recordings were done separately "via the wonders of technology" to ensure the safety of both Brown and Barnard.

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Barnard commented that Brown was such a "hero" of his that he "did a little dance of joy", when he found out that he was going to appear alongside her.

Missing You is available on podcast platforms from Boxing Day.

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