‘Positive thinking has kept me strong’
Stunningly beautiful: June pictured in a play in1952
EastEnders legend June Brown – back on our screens again this Christmas as Dot Cotton – opens her heart to Yours about an amazing life ﬁlled with tragedies and triumphs By Richard Barber une Brown draws heavily on her everpresent cigarette and exhales a long plume of smoke. With the festive season almost upon us she is recalling one of her most precious Christmas times. “My mind immediately goes back to Christmases in Ipswich when Marise (June’s older sister who tragically died aged just eight) was still alive. Father put the bells on the tree and we made paper chains that crisscrossed the room.They bring back the happiest memories for me.” Her adored elder sister, Marise, died when June was seven, “And I’ve never felt such loneliness, such devastation from that day to this.” A baby brother also died in infancy. Sadly June was to experience
Merry Christmas from YOURS
more personal tragedy. Her ﬁrst husband, actor Johnny Garley, committed suicide in their bed where June found him. Her second daughter was born prematurely and only survived a couple of weeks. And her second husband, Bob, succumbed to an aggressive form of dementia ten years ago. But she refuses to wallow in self-pity. “Death is a part of life. You just have to deal with it. People like to think that they’re in charge of their own destinies, but it’s just not true. If life has taught me anything, it’s taught me that.” She’s equally robust about her own health. She’s got a strong stamina, she says, although she takes all sorts of vitamins and oils every day. “I also include turmeric and cinnamon in my diet. I read about an experiment in America where mice were injected with Alzheimer cells. Half of them
were fed curcumin, which is 98 per cent turmeric, and they all got better, while the other half perished. “It’s also a fact that far fewer Asian people get dementia and they use turmeric widely in their cooking. Another doctor told me that cinnamon can hold dementia at bay so I put that in powdered form on all my vegetables.” Sometimes, she says, she’d love to be young again. “There’s a photograph of me and Marise and our younger sister, Lois, walking on the beach in Suffolk with Father; the freedom in those little arms! And I loved my time when I was a drama student at the Old Vic School. It was just after the war and they were such lovely days. “People say that the end of the Forties and the Fifties were awful, but they weren’t for me. They were wonderful. I shared
a ﬂat in Bond Street and wasn’t frightened to walk the streets any more.” What’s her biggest fear now? “Dying poor. But I’ve got my bungalow in Surrey and my children are well provided for. My father made a lot of money before the June, left, with her father and sisters. Marise, far Great War and yet died right, died aged just eight poverty stricken; not a penny to his name. That’s not going to be me.” And you can see why. Her curtains. Anyway, I’ve never amazing energy and work ethic regarded this as a proper job. would put most of us to shame. Playing Dot keeps my brain alive.” Still hard at work on EastEnders So how did the EastEnders I ask her how she copes with dream start? It was 1984 and the grueling schedules? “What June was down on her luck. grueling schedules? Some of the From a clutch of TV roles, she’d young girls in EastEnders are earned just £3000 in a year. “My worked day after day until husband, Bob, and I had ﬁve they’re almost in tears, children and were hugely in debt. but the producers Work was thin on the ground. are very kind to me. “Then actor Leslie Grantham, I never do more than who’d already been cast as Dirty four days a week.” Den Watts in a new BBC soap, Remind June that happened to catch me in an she’ll celebrate her 87th episode of Minder with George birthday next February Cole and Dennis Waterman, and and she looks at you askance. he recommended me to Julia “What’s the alternative? I Smith, the producer of what was couldn’t retire. I’d climb the to become EastEnders.” Except for a four-year break in the mid-1990s, June has been Albert Square resident Dot Cotton (latterly Branning) ever since. “I could never have predicted that almost three decades later, it would still be going strong. Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale) and I are the only surviving characters from the ﬁrst show.” June has now written the ﬁrst volume of her autobiography, Before The Year Dot, which charts her life up to the age of 30, featuring great professional IN W k success mirrored by a catalogue of o o b w e n June’s t rs personal sorrow. ﬁ e th of es pi We have three co fore Be But despite everything, she y, ph ra og bi to volume of June’s au send a r, remains an optimist, “I don’t te en To . ay aw ve The Year Dot, to gi PO Box to ’ like to think negative thoughts. I ok Bo n ow Br ‘June postcard marked 13. The r be believe you get what you think. m ce De by e F, to arriv 57, Coates PE7 2F d Schuster an It’s the power of positive thought on m Si by ed publish ted in the book , out now, is ac by any other name,” says the nt co be to t an don’t w priced £20. If you rite w indomitable June Brown. se ea pl e in az ag future by Yours m card. clearly on the post t’ ac nt Co er ‘No Furth 15 Merry Christmas from YOURS
PIC: JOHNNY RING
Phillip Schoﬁeld I’ll never forget the year I got my miniature zoo. Mum and Dad had spent months before Christmas making me it. I wish I had kept it as it was utterly beautiful. So much work went into it.
Susan Boyle My most precious Christmas memory is the year I got a doll called Giggles. You pressed its stomach and it would giggle. I loved that doll! It had a wee fringe just like mine. Another vivid memory is coming downstairs at ﬁve in the morning and seeing all my presents laid out.
Fiona Fullerton Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me when I married and had children. I enjoyed my Christmases as a single girl but my most precious memories are of when my son and daughter were small and all the excitement about Father Christmas. Actually our Christmases haven’t changed much even though James is now 24 and Lucy, 18. We go the whole nine yards, have three trees in the house and Father Christmas still comes and ﬁlls the kids’ stockings! I love it!
memories Yours celebrity favourites reveal some of their fondest moments from the festive season
Alan Titchmarsh My most precious memories would have to be the Christmases when my parents were still alive and my two daughters were quite small – the classic family Christmas. Now it’s moved on a generation and I’m a grandfather. The most precious thing about Christmas is having all the family together.
Martin Clunes The year I got a James Bond Aston Martin model car. That was like everything to me! I was a child, I hasten to add. 24
Merry Christmas from YOURS
Hart My best Every Christmas and every Christmas memory is precious to me. I moment always spend it with my family was in 1994, when – my parents, sister and brothermy husband Ludo in-law and their two children – and and I were camping we’re very traditional with lots in Zimbabwe. We of fun and games. I’m always woke up to a herd of the Entertainments Ofﬁcer. buffalo walking past We do costumes and on their way to the lakes, everything! and later on we saw a rare African wild dog, which I had always wanted to see. It was magical.
❙ star chat ❙
Sheila Hancock I did spend a wonderful Christmas with John about 15 years ago when we decided to leave the family to their own devices and stay in a frightfully expensive hotel in Paris. It was an idyllic time and they were the most precious few days. Now I have a rule for Christmas. I spend one year with the family and one with the Kids Company charity, which has a big party on Christmas Day.
Alﬁe Boe Every year my dad made our presents, whether it was building us a bike or making a wooden fort. The house always smelled of paint around Christmas because of the things he was making! One of the funniest things was that we couldn’t afford to buy the lovely red Christmas stockings, so we used a leg cut from Mum’s tights! If you shoved a tangerine right at the bottom you could stretch it to make more things ﬁt in!
Susanna Reid Once, when I was a child, I woke in the middle of the night because I could hear Santa in my room. My dad was stufﬁng presents into my stocking, and I said ‘Hello Dad’ and he replied ‘Hello darling, I’m just helping Santa as he couldn’t quite get this last present into your stocking.’ I remember thinking it was all ﬁne because if Santa couldn’t do it, Dad was always there to help out!
We always had a traditional Polish Christmas celebrated on Christmas Eve, exactly as my mother had as a child in Poland. There would always be a white tablecloth, and a place set for the ‘unexpected guest’. When we were young, we had to sing Polish Christmas carols until both my parents were in tears – which never took long!
Julie Walters As a child, it was probably that ‘Santa’s been!’ moment around dawn when you wake up early to ﬁnd your presents. As an adult, it was when my daughter, now 25, was little and she did exactly the same as I’d done. The look of pure excitement on her face when she saw ‘he’d been’ is something I’ll never forget.
Olivia Colman Last year was pretty good. I always get excited months beforehand about Father Christmas coming – oh, I love it! I put on my Christmas CD in November, light the ﬁre and all that. Christmas morning is the one morning that I don’t mind waking up early. Last year, I rushed into my boys’ rooms really early on Christmas morning, shouting, ‘Get up! Get up! It’s Christmas!’ Merry Christmas from YOURS
PICS: REX FEATURES; ALAMY; ENDEMOL; ALEX JAMES/STAYSTILL; CAMERAPRESS; JEFF SPICER/ALPHA PRESS; GETTY IMAGES; SHUTTERSTOCK; SCOPE FEATURES
Christmas has always been very familyorientated for me, with a traditional Christmas, then Chinese Christmas on Boxing Day. Dad puts on an amazing banquet, puffs out his chest and takes his place as the head of the house! I love the excitement of the build-up – we ﬁrst start talking about it in September!
easy ways to
PARTY 19GLAMOUR Look gorgeous this Christmas with these simple ideas for festive glitz By Beauty Editor, Michelle Nightingale
Find your perfect red lipstick As a general rule pale skin tones look great wearing blue-based reds while medium to olive complexions suit coral and orange-based reds. We love Max Factor’s Colour Elixir Lipstick in Ruby Tuesday (£7.99), which is a true classic red and universally ﬂattering.
TIP: If you’re short of time, you can still get easy glam lips in seconds with one of the latest lip crayons. We like Max Factor’s Colour Elixir Giant Pen Stick (£6.99) which is really easy to apply. Merry Christmas from YOURS
3 steps to ﬂawless skin 1 Primer… Primers work by creating the perfect canvas, smoothing over ﬂaws and wrinkles so you can get the very best from your foundation. You can get cheaper ones, but bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer (£21/30ml) tackles dry patches and soothes irritated skin with a blend of plant extracts, antioxidants and Vitamins C and E.
Quick ﬁx party lips in minutes
2 Concealer… This is an essential next step; if you use concealer, you may ﬁnd you can get away with using less foundation. Dot under the eyes and gently tap, rather than rub, your concealer into your skin. ✢ The Body Shop Lightening Touch Concealer, £14/2.5ml
3 Foundation… Dry skin can look dull and accentuate wrinkles and this is ampliﬁed by applying foundation on top. This time of year you should use products that really hydrate. Max Factor’s Ageless Elixir 2 in 1 Foundation + Serum (£12.99/30ml) moisturises, protects, and gives medium coverage, just like a normal foundation.
3 steps to sultry smokey eyes
1 For this look you’ll need an eye palette like 1 Deﬁne lips with a lip liner that’s this one from Marks & Spencer (Autograph close to your natural lip colour or one that Eyeshadow Palette, £12.50), with a mix matches your chosen lipstick. Line all the way of shades to blend together. Start by around following your natural lip line and then applying a light shade over your entire ﬁll with the same pencil. eyelid to create a clean base. Now blend 2 Using a lip brush apply your lipstick over the a mid-tone shade over the top and, top and blot. Using a brush gives more precise using a ﬁne brush, work it into your lower application and blotting helps set the colour. lash line. Smudge with your ﬁnger for a 3 Apply another coat of lipstick, again softer ﬁnish. using a brush. You can add a little gloss, too, if you want a shiny ﬁnish.
TIP: Fix eye make-up mistakes with Simple Kind To Eyes Eye Make-Up Corrector Pen (£4.99/2ml). It removes wayward eyeshadow, eyeliner and even waterproof mascara.
Easy ﬁx If you ﬁnd that your eyeshadow always creases, then you need an eye primer. bareMinerals Prime Time Brightening Eyelid Primer (£16/3ml) is brilliant. The brand does have a neutral version, but we like this one with a subtle golden shimmer as it’s nice enough to be worn alone.
2 A brown eyeliner pencil is a softer alternative to black on paler skin tones. Use it to apply a line close to the upper lash line, which gradually thickens from the inner to the outer corners. Line under the eye working the pencil in-between your lashes. Don’t worry about being neat as you can use a cotton bud to soften the line and get rid of any mistakes or heavy areas. 3 To really make the most of your lashes use an eyelash curler. It’s worth spending a little more as, although they look the same, very cheap versions often pinch and don’t do a lot. Beauty experts rave about Shu Uemura and Shiseido both around £20, but if your budget won’t stretch try Mac, Bobbi Brown and No7. Finish with a coat of mascara like Revlon’s Grow Luscious Lash Potion (£9.99). Merry Christmas from YOURS
FASHION EDITOR’S TOP TIPS
Kathy wears: Petrol blue dress, £89, 10-22, Monsoon; shoes, £25, 3-8, Marks & Spencer; earrings, £15, necklace, £15 and bangle, £10, all Mood at Debenhams. Gill wears: Black ﬂoral and mesh detail dress, £169, 10-18, Monsoon; shoes, £25, 3-8, Marks & Spencer
✢ Dresses with sheer arms and panels across the décolletage stylishly hide problem areas ✢ Fuss-free straight-leg trousers help slim and lengthen the legs
Kathy wears: Black and gold sequin tunic dress, £45, 8-18, M&Co; trousers, £32, 6-22, Next; earrings, £8, Mood at Debenhams. Gill wears: Purple beaded top, £45, 8-18, M&Co; velvet trousers, £40, 10-22, Next; earrings, £10, Butterﬂy by Matthew Williamson at Debenhams
PARTY LOOKS Dress to impress with party looks for every occasion By Fashion Editor, Michelle Nightingale
Merry Christmas from YOURS
FASHION EDITOR’S TOP TIPS ✢ If you’re pear shaped choose a nipped-in waist and ﬂared skirt to ﬂatter your thighs and bottom ✢ Create curves with a belt or contrast panel at the waist
Gill wears: Dark red lace dress, £50, 8-22, Next; earrings, £10, Mood at Debenhams. Kathy wears: Gold dress, £89 and shrug, £49, both 8-22, Monsoon; earrings, £15, Butterﬂy by Matthew Williamson
PHOTOGRAPHY RUTH JENKINSON; STYLIST JO WINCH; HAIR AND MAKE-UP HANAN TOUHAMI
Kathy wears: Red top, £28, 10-20, Bhs; lift, slim and shape trousers, £45, 6-18, Next; shoes, £32, 3-8, Bhs; earrings, £10, Betty Jackson.Black at Debenhams Gill wears: Lace print dress, £65, 8-22, Autograph at Marks & Spencer; tights, £5, Tesco; shoes, £90, 3-9, Hotter Shoes
Gill wears: Top, £18, 8-22, Next; sequin maxi skirt, £45, 10-24, Isme; silver shoes, 3-8, £15, Bhs; bracelet, £12, Principles by Ben de Lisi at Debenhams. Kathy wears: Maxi dress, £100, 6-18, Next; shoes, £25, 3-8, Marks & Spencer; necklace, £10 and bracelet, £7, both M&Co
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Good to KNOW... | IT’S A FACT | Consumers spent an average of
on Christmas last year, with children receiving around £130 worth of presents. Four million turkeys were paid for on plastic. This year, draw up a budget and challenge yourself to undercut it so you don’t have a January debt hangover.
42 WAYS TO...
y p p a H a e v Ha as Christm out
(with spending a fortune!) Compiled by Sarah Ja
7 WAYS TO...
DECORATE YOUR HOME WITH BAGS OF STYLE ( 1 3 Make your own Christmaswreath using berries, ﬁr cones and greenery from your garden and get creative with a 30cm (12in) foam ring and ﬂorist’s bind wire (from garden centres). Use energy-efﬁcient LED fairy lights which use around 80 per cent less electricity than traditional lights. Find good deals at www.lights4fun.co.uk
Pick up bargain candles from Poundland. Ivory Dinner Table Candles (4-pack) and this Large Red Church Candle (right) are an incredible £1 each and will look lovely on the dining table on Christmas Day. Make your dining table ultra chic with a simple white tablecloth and a runner made from a long strip of festive fabric. Tie napkins with a strip of ribbon and add a small single glass tree bauble.
SAVE ON SHOPPING 1
Christmas shopping on impulse is dangerous, so make a list and stick to it. 2 Write down people you want to give presents to, with a budget next to each name to stop spending spiralling out of control. 3 Most adults would prefer a Christmas gathering to a gift, so suggest this instead. 4 Save by shopping online using price comparison sites and cashback sites. 5 For personalised gifts, The Photo Print Finder (www. moneysavingexpert.com/ deals/free-photo-prints) lists the top photo book, canvas, card and calendar discount codes. 6 Shop in Lidl and Aldi for food basics and drink. Aldi’s Ballycastle Irish Cream Liquer (right) is £4.29 (70cl), while Baileys Original Irish Cream Liquer is around £14 (700ml). For our round-up of best budget food buys, see page 82.
Homemade items such as photo albums, homecooked food or even paintings make special presents. 8 Use a cashback credit card if you’re conﬁdent you can pay off your bill in one go. You’ll earn money while you spend. Get best deals at www.moneyfacts.co.uk 9 Wilkinsons, Marks & Spencer, and Boots are offering savings on selected gifts. Also check out B&M Stores (www.bmstores. co.uk) and Home Bargains (www. homebargains.co.uk) for goodvalue Christmas goodies. 10 Stock up on must-haves when they’re on the supermarket shelves, and watch out for BOGOF offers, then store or freeze ahead.
E (but not much cash)! 5 Make your party go off with a bang with Christmas Day Party Crackers (below) and Christmas Mini Kids Party Crackers (8-pk) just £1 each from Poundland. Mix-and-match dining chairs and mismatched crockery and cutlery are ﬁne
Head to a Christmas market to get good-value gifts, decorations and food. Leeds Christkindelmarkt German Market and Southbank Centre Christmas Market in London topped a recent UK festive markets poll. For a special treat, Frankfurt, Paris and Vienna's markets are favourite European destinations says ABTA. Find one at www.christmasmarkets.com Frankfurt Christmas market
Cash in the Attic The ﬁrst souvenir snow domes were sold at the 1889 Paris Exposition and featured mini Eiffel Towers. Early domes were made from hand-blown glass and ﬁlled with water. They had wooden, ceramic, rubber, metal, or marble-bases and plastermoulded interiors. The ‘snow’ was chipped bone, porcelain, treated wax, rice or sand. Now it’s white plastic fragments or glitter in distilled water. The water evaporates over time affecting values, although later models can be reﬁlled. Look out for moving parts or scenes ﬁlling the whole dome. This 5in-high late Sixties rocking snowman (above) is valued at £15-£25.
for Christmas entertaining. Don’t waste money on items you won’t use the rest of the year! If you’re short of tableware, head to IKEA or Matalan for budget dining items.
| DID YOU KNOW? | Consumers will £1 8 pk
spend £20,072 on Christmas over their working life of 50 years Merry Christmas from YOURS
10 WAYS TO....
0 1 BEST... of the
✢Victorian Christmas tours NOV 30-DEC 24, KIRKGATE, YORK On this tour you can stroll along a Victorian street, plus enjoy festive activities at York Castle museum, a Christmas Trail, A Christmas Carol brought to life, and ﬁnd out what makes the perfect mince pie! Check the website for dates and times, which are subject to change. Adult £8.50, Conc £7.50, under16s free. Call 01904 687687 or visit www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk
✢ Christmas Fair and Candlelit Mansion House NOV 30-DEC 1, SHUGBOROUGH ESTATE, STAFFS For an authentic candlelit Christmas, head to Shugborough, where the Mansion House will be ﬁlled with fresh ﬂowers and decorated in the very best Victorian fashion. Plus there’s festive crafts, food and gifts at the fair. House open11am-4pm. Adult £9, Conc £7.50 (discounts for advance purchase and groups), under12s free. Call 0845 459 8900 or visit www. shugborough. org.uk
Winter wonderlands ✢ Creative Peninsula Christmas Craft Fair DEC 6-7, ARDS ARTS CENTRE, NEWTOWNARDS, CO. DOWN Listen to harpists and marvel at the Georgian Arts centre decked to perfection, while you peruse a selection of unique gifts. As if you needed persuading, there’s a complimentary wrapping service and mulled wine, too! Fri10am-8pm, Sat10am-4pm. £1 entry (for Mayors Charity and Alzheimer’s Society), under18s free. Call 0289181 0803 or visit www.ardsarts.com
✢ Christmas Kingdom NOV 29-DEC 24, CELTIC MANOR RESORT, NEWPORT Go ‘walking in the air’, at the Manor’s rooftop garden! Visit Santa’s Grotto and send the nimble-footed ice-skating while you relax in the Forum Café. There’s a shuttle service from the free car park, too. Book ahead – skating prices: Adult £9, Conc £6, Child £5. Grotto prices date dependent. Call 01633 410318 or visit www.celtic-manor.com/ christmas-kingdom
✢ Festive Carols and Seasonal Songs
A CHRISTMAS TRADITION
DEC 7-8, BELSAY HALL, NORTHUMBERLAND Bring the wintry Belsay estate to life with a good old singsong. The Ponteland Ladies’ Choir will lead on Saturday, and Sunday’s carolling comes courtesy of Ayres and Gracenotes. Please dress warmly, and limber up those vocal chords! Performances at12 and 2pm in the Library. Tickets include entry to the Hall, Castle and Gardens. Adult £7.90, Conc £7.10, Child £4.70. Call 01661 881636 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk YOURS