February 4, 2023

Lauren and Sonia at Eastenders

Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarronBBC

East Enders spoilers follow.

East Enders star Jacqueline Jossa has reflected on her years of collaboration with late June Brown.

The BBC soap has planned an emotional tribute to June in next week’s episodes after she passed away in April this year at the age of 95.

Jacqueline, who is known for her role as Lauren Branning, is one of several confirmed characters to reprise their roles for Dot’s funeral, after news reached Square that she had passed away in Ireland.

Related: East EndersDot Branning gets special ending theme in funeral episode

Lauren will hop on a plane from New Zealand to pay her respects to Dot, and Jacqueline has reflected on her years during a recent collaboration with June. East Enders press event.

Speak against Digital spy and other media, she said: “I was terrified of June. Just because it really was, what June says goes.

“I was young and she just came in and she would have changed the whole script! But it would really be for the better. I never really learned my lines properly when we were doing scenes because I knew she was going to come in and change them anyway.

“The director often said, ‘Are you cool with that?’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, June said it, so we’ll do it’.”

Lauren and Sonia at Eastenders

Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarronBBC

“I was a fan of East Enders for it and to come in and be part of her family – she already feels like your grandma. You watch an episode and she feels like Grandma Dot – she’s part of the furniture, she feels like part of the family.

“All of Britain will feel that when you look at it. It felt like being at a funeral. And with her family there – for them to come in and be a part of it was like a dream come true.”

Jacqueline admitted she was nervous about reprising her role as Lauren after a four-year absence, adding: “I was pretty scared and it was only four and a half years ago.

Sonia Fowler, Lauren Branning, Eastenders

BBC

Related: East Enders boss explains Sonia Fowler’s focus in the Dot Branning death storyline

“I was like, ‘I can’t remember how to act, I can’t’. It just felt like I was a little rusty. I wasn’t sure if people would see me as Lauren again, but once I got there in between, you’re back in The Vic, you’re talking about people you know, and you’re catching up with old friends, who all feel like family, it feels like you come right back into it.

“I would see people like Natalie [Cassidy] and Scott Maslen and you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s Uncle Jack!’ and so are the people behind the camera, it’s like, ‘Hello! You’re still here!’. They are friendly faces. You just feel like family again.

“I’ve worked with Richard [director] years ago and he was one of my favorite directors. It really felt like I was back home.”

linda carter, lauren branning, eastenders

BBC

Jacqueline explained how her return came about, saying: “It was just a WhatsApp message from my agent saying ‘You’re not really free these two weeks, but you’ve been asked back’.

“I said, ‘We have to move everything, I’m going back – yes, yes, yes’. That was literally it.

“I’m not quite sure [what she’s been up to]. She’ll drop by. I think she’s there to let people know there’s still hope and a future for the Brannings and it’s not over yet.”

East Enders airs Monday-Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One. The show is also streamed on BBC iPlayer.

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