John Bardon Dead at 75

Actor John Bardon, who played Dot Branning's husband Jim in British soap opera EastEnders, has died at age 75.

Bardon was born in Brentford, Middlesex in 1939. He appeared in numerous TV series including sitcom Birds of a Feather, Rumpole of the Bailey and Dad's Army. He had a recurring role in ITV comedy Up The Elephant and Round The Castle.

He also worked on the stage in a number of productions during his career, winning an Olivier Award in 1988 for his performance in the musical "Kiss Me Kate."

Bardon made his first appearance on EastEnders in 1996. His character was a regular fixture in the Queen Vic pub, and devoted to God-fearing Albert Square stalwart Dot, whom he married in 2002 after proposing to her on the London Eye.

Bardon suffered a debilitating stroke seven years ago and was forced to drastically reduce his appearances in the show. His character caused great anguish for Dot after his stroke when he required full-time care and was eventually moved to a nursing home.

June Brown, who played his on-screen wife, said; "I shall miss him very much as I loved him dearly."

Bardon's illness was reflected in the series and he was last seen on screen in May 2011.

A spokeswoman for the soap said they are "absolutely heartbroken" at the news of the actor's death.

"John was an exceptionally talented actor whose humor, mischievousness and brilliant performances made Jim Branning one of Walford's most loveable, memorable characters, and we will miss John forever."

Jim had a fractious relationship with his screen son Max, who he buried alive in a coffin during his childhood.

Actor Jake Wood, who plays Max, wrote on Twitter it is "such sad news. I'm honoured to have known him. John was a gentleman and will be missed by all who knew him."

Friday night's episode of EastEnders was be dedicated to the late actor.

Actress Natalie Cassidy, who plays his screen granddaughter Sonia, said: "I never had a real granddad so John was like an actual granddad to me. He was a lovely man and I learnt a lot from him."

Former EastEnders actor Robert Kazinsky (Sean Slater) remembered Bardon's performances after he fell ill.

"John showed immense courage playing Jim Branning after his stroke, he brought his own pain and reality to it and shouldn't be forgotten."

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