One of EastEnders most popular actors, John Bardon, has passed away age 75.
He played the role of Jim Branning sporadically between 1996 and 2011, and was married on screen to Dot, played by June Brown.
EastEnders bosses announced the news on 12 September, saying that he was an “exceptionally talented actor.”
A statement read: “Everyone at EastEnders is absolutely heartbroken to learn that John has sadly passed away. His bravery, dignity and courage in battling against the devastating effects of his stroke were admired by all who had the privilege of working with him.”
“Loved by us all, John was an exceptionally talented actor whose humour, mischievousness and brilliant performances made Jim Branning one of Walford’s most loveable, memorable characters and we will miss John forever,” it continued.
It was also confirmed that last nights episode was broadcast in dedication to Bardon.
His on-screen life as Jim saw him marry Dot in 2002, but their relationship became strained when he had a stroke in 2007, a storyline which had to be written in when the same thing actually happened to Bardon, forcing him to partially-retire from the role.
Jim made his final appearance on the show in 2011, and was continually referenced by Dot throughout, who said that she would visit him in a care home.
Speaking about Bardon’s death, Brown commented “I am so sorry that John has passed away but hope that he is now at peace after seven difficult years. I shall miss him very much as I loved him dearly. My thoughts are with his devoted wife, Edna.”
Fellow actors Perry Fenwick and Natalie Cassidy also paid tribute to the actor. The former said “I’m absolutely gutted. John was a lovely, lovely man to work with. I’ll miss him,” with the latter saying “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.”
Bardon also made appearances in Birds of a Feather, Only Fools and Horses and Dad’s Army. Most notably, he won the Laurence Olivier Award in 1988 for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in Kiss Me, Kate.