However, the woman behind the chain-smoking, gossip-mongering launderette worker was even more legendary.
As the showbiz world mourns the loss of the EastEnders star – who has died at the age of 95 – we’re remembering the soap icon with some of her cheekiest moments...
1. She revealed she once went skinny-dipping with Letitia Dean (aka Sharon from EastEnders) in Greece
”Why are you so interested in her? Why aren’t you interested in me?”
2. Of course, she was no stranger to getting her kit off, having stripped naked on stage in Calendar Girls
3. Then there was also her shot in the official EastEnders calendar a few years back
Oooh, I say.
4. In fact, she actually led rather a racy life
“I joined the Wrens at 18 and that gave me a tremendous sense of liberation. As you couldn’t be sure what tomorrow might bring, you felt like making the most of today. If I’d stayed at home I’d have married as a virgin. But, in the heady post-war years and afterwards when I was a drama student at the Old Vic, I fell in love all the time.”
5. There were so many highlights of her appearance alongside Lady Gaga on The Graham Norton Show
Where she puffed on an electronic fag and downed loads of red wine throughout...
6. At 83, she was the oldest person to ever take to the Strictly Come Dancing floor at the time, when she appeared on the 2010 Christmas Special
Sadly there is no footage of her routine on YouTube.
7. Here she is singing Little Donkey on a TV show in 1998
We have no idea why this exists, but we’re so glad it does.
8. She made soap history by becoming the first ever soap star to be given a single-hander episode
She received a Bafta nomination for Best Actress as a result of the episode, which focused on her recording a voice message for her husband Jim, who was in a care home following a stroke.
9. When she failed to win the Bafta, she made no secret of how disappointed she was
“I would’ve liked it, yes. I would’ve felt it had crowned my acting in a way, made it sound worthwhile, I think.”
10. She and Gretchin Franklin had an amazing off-screen partnership, as well as their one on screen
Ultimate friendship goals.
11. This is how she celebrated her double win at the British Soap Awards in 2005
She was literally all of us if we won a big award.
12. Here she is having it large with Rizzle Kicks
We’re still desperate to know how this meeting happened.
13. Here June is having a hilarious fight with Alexa
14. And she had the naughtiest limerick explaining her decision to quit EastEnders in 2020
“I went back to do a good story. Alas and alack, when I got back it had gone up in smoke. Well that is no joke. I got a small part, a very small part. And that ended up as a big wet fart. Alas and alack, I will never go back.”