Will Dot die at Christmas?

EastEnders fans have been left in shock as Dot Branning made the stunning revelation in Tuesday’s episode that she is dying and has simply returned to Walford to say her goodbyes.

In hugely moving scenes, Dot (played by 91-year-old June Brown) confessed to Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) that she didn’t have long to live.

Armed with her trademark cigarette, Dot and Jack had a heart-to-heart over the kitchen table, where Dot eventually told Jack the truth – she’s dying. Quoting the Bible and remembering those she’d lost herself, including her infamous son, Nick Cotton, Dot at last plucked up the courage to tell Jack her diagnosis.

Jack Branning: “What did the doctor say?”

Dot Branning: “It doesn’t matter what he said. You see Jack, I’m dying. And I’ve come back here to say my goodbyes.”

Heartbroken EastEnders fans flooded Twitter. “EastEnders better not kill off Dot!!!,” said one. “I will cry so hard if Dot dies,” wrote one.

Another wrote: “They’ve brought Dot back in EastEnders for her to die and it’s broke me. Flashbacks of when Ethel died and I’m not ready for it I can’t cope.”

All were in agreement that June Brown was a soap legend as Dot, a character she first played way back in 1985, the year the soap memorably launched.

Dot with Sonia Fowler – she has come back to Walford to say her goodbyes

Viewers also praised the acting skills of June, with one writing: “June Brown was absolutely outstanding as Dot Cotton last night on EastEnders. Well worth watching that episode if you haven’t already.”

The question now is how long has Dot got? Is it being set up so Dot makes a tear-jerking exit at Christmas?

Another legendary character, Pauline Fowler (played by Wendy Richard) famously passed away on Christmas Day 2006. Will it be the same exit for Dot?

EastEnders continues on BBC1.