EastEnders Sonia gets potential new love interest as Dots great-nephew comes to the square
Jonny Freeman has joined the cast of EastEnders as the late Dot Branning’s great-nephew.
As he turns up at Walford to say his final goodbyes to Dot – along with the rest of Albert Square – Jonny’s character Reiss quickly ends up meeting Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy).
Reiss is related to Dot through her half brother Gerry, as Reiss is Gerry’s grandson.
Speaking ahead of his EastEnders debut, Jonny, who is best known for starring in Silent Witness and CBBC’s MI High, said he was “delighted”.
“I am delighted to be joining the cast of EastEnders, especially as part of the iconic Dot Branning’s extended family,” he said.
“Everybody has been so welcoming and I’m very lucky to have been working so closely with the lovely Natalie Cassidy who is not only a fantastic actress but a delightful person; she has very kindly helped me navigate my first few weeks.”
Jonny continued: “I hope I can do Reiss justice. He is kind but socially awkward and seeing how he manages, or doesn’t manage, his early exchanges with Sonia and her nearest and dearest has been quite interesting! I’m looking forward to seeing how both audiences and the residents of Walford respond to him.”
Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer, added: Reiss Colwell is a somewhat studious, humble and dependable kind of guy and, like his great-aunt Dot, is incredibly kind hearted. Jonny is a wonderful addition to the EastEnders cast; it’s a joy to see him transform into Reiss when he puts on Reiss’ reading glasses and cardigan. And we’re all excited for Sonia to have a new squeeze in the Square – it’s been a while!”
Ahead of Dot’s heartbreaking funeral airing on this week’s EastEnders, many soap fans were left devastated to realise that the actress playing Dot, June Brown, has actually passed away.
June died at the age of 93 in April of this year.
Characters of past and present are set to attend Dot’s funeral in a special 40-minute episode in tribute of the character, that airs on Monday 12 December.
Viewers shared their heartbroken reactions to Dot’s passing as a black-and-white photo of the longstanding square resident was shared on the soap’s official Instagram on Thursday.
Some surprised fans didn’t realise the actress had passed away, as one wrote: “Omg has she left us? Won’t see the episode until a good 6 weeks late.”
A second said: “Sorry I live in Austria and did not know that June died and yes my programs are six weeks behind GB, Lola is just getting back with Jay and is having funny turns”.
Other viewers praised the late character and actress who portrayed her, ahead of what is bound to be a touching and poignant tribute episode on Monday.
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