The veteran actress, 92, no longer goes out socially and has a stack of fan mail she is unable to read. June has played Albert Square launderette worker Dot Cotton for more than 30 years and has become a beloved favourite with fans of EastEnders. But the soap star admits she is struggling with everyday tasks as her eyesight is now so poor. She has suffered from macular degeneration for 10 years and, despite a revolutionary operation in 2017 that saved her from going blind and helped her recognise faces again, she said the situation is getting worse. June said: “I’ve got very poor sight. I’ve got extra lenses inside my eyes to try and help me read better. They help with my peripheral vision, but I’ve got no central vision at all.
“I haven’t driven for years and I can’t really go out socially due to my eyesight. I never go to soap awards or such like now.
“I don’t recognise people that I know and they would think I was snubbing them.
“And I have got loads of fan letters that I haven’t been able to read or reply to since it all started.” She added: “I can’t tell you what it’s like, but you wouldn’t want it.
“So just pray for your health and strength, hearing and eyesight, and an active mind.
“I don’t think of myself as 92. I sometimes walk past a plate glass window and don’t recognise myself, because I still see myself as young and very beautiful. It’s better than feeling old.” June will next be seen in upcoming ITV series Hard To Please OAPs.
Narrated by Jennifer Saunders, the show follows eight elderly celebrities trying to get to grips with gizmos designed to make life easier.
But the electric cars, remote control golf trolleys, home saunas and pooper scooper vacuums inevitably leave them baffled and bemoaning modern life. June is joined by ex-football boss Harry Redknapp, 72, actress Amanda Barrie, 83, Hi-De-Hi’s Ruth Madoc, 75, Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson, 71, entertainer Lionel Blair, 90, former political correspondent John Sergeant, 74, and Jack Whitehall’s theatrical agent dad, Michael, 78.
In the series, June gets to grips with voice-activated digital assistant Alexa, a hi-tech tool linked to her computer.
Speaking of Alexa, she said: “It could help me keep up with what’s going on in the world, because I’ve given up on my papers now. I could read the headlines at one time but that’s impossible now.”
Hard To Please OAPS, Tuesdays, from April 9, at 8.30pm on ITV.