Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarronBBC
EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa has reflected on her years working alongside the late June Brown.
The BBC soap have 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 many confirmed characters who have reprised their roles for Dot’s funeral, after news reached the Square that she’d passed away in Ireland.
Related: EastEnders‘ Dot Branning to get special ending theme in funeral episode
Lauren will be jumping on a plane from New Zealand to pay her respects to Dot, and Jacqueline has reflected on her years working alongside June during a recent EastEnders press event.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other media, she said: “I used to be terrified of June. Only because it really was like, what June says, goes.
“I was young and she’d just come in and she’d have changed the whole script! But it would be for the better, genuinely. 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 would often be like: ‘Are you cool with that?’ I’d say: ‘Yes, June said it, so we’re doing it’.”
“I was a fan of EastEnders before and to come in and be part of her family – she already feels like your nan. You watch an episode and she feels like Grandma Dot – she’s part of the furniture, she feels like part of the family.
“The whole of Britain will feel that when you watch it. It felt like you were at a funeral. And with her family there – for them to come in and be part of it was like a dream come true.”
Admitting she was nervous about reprising her role as Lauren after four years away, Jacqueline added: “I was quite scared and it had only been four and a half years.
Related: EastEnders boss explains Sonia Fowler focus in Dot Branning’s death storyline
“I was like: ‘I can’t remember how to act, I can’t do it’. It just felt like I was a bit rusty. I wasn’t sure if people were going to see me as Lauren again, but as soon as I was in amongst it, you’re in The Vic again, you’re talking about people that you know, and you’re catching up with old friends, who all feel like family. It feels like you get straight back into it.
“I’d see people like Natalie [Cassidy] and Scott Maslen and you’re like: ‘Oh, it’s Uncle Jack!’ and the people behind the camera as well, it’s like: ‘Hello! You’re still here!’. It’s friendly faces. You just feel like a family again.
“I worked with Richard [director] years ago and he was one of my favourite directors. It was genuinely like being back at home.”
Explaining how her return came about, Jacqueline said: “It was just a WhatsApp message from my agent, who said: ‘You’re not really free for 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 really sure [what she’s been up to]. She’s just popping in. I think she’s there to let people know that there’s still hope and a future for the Brannings and that it’s not over yet.”
EastEnders airs on Mondays-Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
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