If you’re an East Ender and you go as far as to kill someone then, normally, you’d quite literally get away with murder. I mean, there was that time when Janine pushed Barry to his death. And then, of course, the time Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) killed rapist and abuser Archie Mitchell and managed to escape a prison sentence due to her bipolar diagnosis. Oh, and remember that time when Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) killed Carl White then shoved him in a boot and had the car crushed?
It’s Dot what done it!
But now, the tables have turned. After years of torturing his mother and being a general nasty piece of work, Nick Cotton (John Altman) made his return to the Square last October, coincidentally right in time for Halloween. Amidst the 30th anniversary live week episodes, in a scene that directly reflected EastEnders’ first ever scene, Stacey was amongst a group who stumbled across Nick’s body. Before calling the police, Stacey felt it was only right to tell her once grandmother-in-law, but the angelic Dot (June Brown) didn’t seem altogether surprised.
It’s a HUGE week for #EastEnders and it all kicks off tonight when we find out the verdict of Dot’s trial and the father of Linda’s baby!
— EastEnders Press (@EastEndersPress) May 18, 2015
So, facing the facts, Nick had mentally abused poor Dot for years. After years of murder (which, yes, he did get away with), drug abuse, attempting to poison his mother and faking his own death, Nick really was the lowest of the low. But Dot loved him no matter what.
When creepy Charlie (Declan Bennett) made his debut in the soap last year it seemed obvious that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. If it hadn’t been for his entrance, perhaps Dot wouldn’t be on her way to rotting in jail now.
Leading up to Nick’s death he cut the brakes of the Mitchell car, leading to Charlie’s wife Ronnie being left in a coma. When Charlie found out the truth he finally did something sensible and kicked out both his parents, fed up with their stream of lies, deceit and attempted murder. But, instead of realising that her son was beyond saving, Dot chose to harbour him in the burnt out remains of the house next door.
Dot buys smack
Not only did she guard a criminal but she even visited a drug dealer and bought heroin. In her desperation for her son to love her Dot really has gone to some extremes. She confessed her sins to Charlie, who tried to cover up the mess, but Dot eventually confessed to Nick’s murder.
— Tracy Spinks (@lullylully77) May 18, 2015
In that sense, Dot really has been her own downfall over the last few months, confessing to a crime she didn’t actually commit and continuously implicating herself. Throughout her trial, Dot has been shown as a kind and generous elderly lady who couldn’t harm a fly, but clearly she feels guilty because she decided to plead guilty to his murder. With a poor lawyer on her side and a conniving menacing prosecution, Dot incriminated herself further when she took to the stand last week.
Monday night’s episode, after a cliffhanger the week before, gave us a verdict that many were expecting and saw Dot imprisoned for 14 months for manslaughter. The nation are now up in arms over the verdict but, with EastEnders attempting a move towards more realistic depictions of events (think Dean not being taken to court for raping Linda), perhaps it was the only thing the soap could really do. Dot didn’t murder her son but she was guilty of something.
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) May 18, 2015
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And so, of course, is soap drama. Dot will most likely be back on our screens soon – in real life June is taking a break, having recently discussed that she is losing her eyesight but needs to keep working following the financial crisis. Though, with Kat and Alfie set to have their own spin off show, perhaps we’ll end up with a Bad Girls style prison drama starring our very own Dot. You can almost picture it now – Mrs B ruling with rollers in her hair and a fag in hand.