After the death of Dot Cotton, a cherished veteran of the drama, EastEnders saw the appearance of former stars.
Many of the residents of EastEnders who moved away from the square left a lasting impression, creating a larger community for the show. One of them was Gary Hailes, who played Barry Clark in the BBC soap opera but hasn’t been seen in it in decades. He went back to Walford, especially for June Brown’s character Dot Cotton’s funeral, but the idea of making a comeback made him nervous.
In the 1980s, Barry Clark was Colin Russell’s lover. In 1987, the pair shared the first gay kiss in a soap opera, making history.
At the time, Colin was living under Dot Cotton’s roof because his family had kicked him out after learning of his homosexuality.
Even though Dot didn’t support Colin’s sexual orientation, she didn’t want to see him on the streets, and the two grew closer over time.
This connection, in turn, caused Dot and Barry to become close, something that actor Hailes always valued.
Hailes told thesuns.info and other media about going back to Walford: “When I first got the phone call, I was terrified, I really was.
“Coming back was a little freaky because I hadn’t been in it in 33 years, and I kind of had to settle down.
“When I arrived, everyone was so friendly and encouraging, and it was so well written.
“It really, really was such an honor to be a part of such a special episode.”
Barry was seen gazing at his former home in Albert Square in a scene from the funeral episode of Dot, which led him to further describe the experience as “surreal.”
The fact that it was for Dot and actress June Brown had passed away earlier in the year made his return all the more poignant.
“Having worked with June [Brown] and known June, I have never, ever met anyone who didn’t like Dot or June or both,” continued Hailes.
To be honest, it was an honor to be a part of that because she is so unique.
Colin revealed that his husband Eddie (Michael Melia) had passed away a few years earlier to Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) at the funeral, which he attended.
He was now dating someone else, and his romance with Barry wasn’t made public until the wake.
Hailes claimed that the first time around, Colin and Barry “weren’t allowed to do” something passionately kiss.
The delighted couple then departed, permanently leaving Walford behind.
After Dot passed away, there was plenty more drama to come as Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) fell in love with her great-nephew Reiss Colwell (Jonny Freeman).
Dotty Cotton (Milly Zero) was shocked when Sonia learned she would inherit Dot’s house at the will reading.
Before boarding a cab and driving away from Albert Square in tears, she made a threat to burn the house down.
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