EastEnders star June Brown is fronting a new TV campaign to improve life for the elderly.

The 85-year-old actress is currently on a six-month break from playing Albert Square OAP Dot Cotton and is joining a new BBC show launching in July to help encourage more respect for old-aged pensioners.

June said: “I want to find out why older people are undervalued and ignored and what can be done to change the lives of millions.

“My own belief is that we must try and somehow reconnect the young and old before the gap between them grows so wide that it’s impossible to fix.”

The EastEnders icon will be joined by The Apprentice advisors Nick Hewer, 68, and Margaret Mountford, 60, as they investigate how pensioners are coping in the recession as they are forced out of retirement and back into work.

The show will be part of a new BBC One season called When I’m 65, focusing on ageing, as statistics show that by 2030 a quarter of the population will be pensioners.

Another programme will see Blackadder star Tony Robinson, 65, BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson, 67, broadcaster Gloria Hunniford, 71, and Birds Of A Feather’s Lesley Joseph, 66, move in with OAPs suffering loneliness, bereavement and poverty to show what their lives are like.

The season will also include a show called How To Live Beyond 100, with centenarians showing the positive and uplifting sides to what it is like to live into triple figures.