Actor Jonny Freeman is to join the cast of EastEnders in the role of Dot Branning’s great-nephew, Reiss Colwell.


The actor has previously appeared in Channel 4 crime drama Top Boy, CBBC series MI High, and, of course, BBC One drama Silent Witness.

Reiss is Dot’s great-nephew as his grandfather was Gerry Colwell, Dot’s half-brother.

Little has been seen or heard of from Dot's Colwell relatives throughout the years on EastEnders but the upcoming sad passing of Dot prompts Reiss to get in touch with his other relatives.

Attending the funeral of the much-loved Dot Branning, Reiss meets her step-granddaughter Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) and very quickly, sparks begin to fly.

Speaking of his casting, Jonny Freeman said: "I am delighted to be joining the cast of EastEnders, especially as part of the iconic Dot Branning’s extended family.

"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. I hope I can do Reiss justice."

Describing his character further, the actor added: "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."

Sonia Fowler gets an upsetting phone call in EastEnders
Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) learns about Dot's death next week in EastEnders. BBC

Meanwhile, the show's executive producer Chris Clenshaw also teased what fans can expect from Dot's relative.

"Reiss Colwell is a somewhat studious, humble and dependable kind of guy and, like his great-aunt Dot, is incredibly kind-hearted," revealed Clenshaw.

"Jonny is a wonderful addition to the EastEnders cast; it’s a joy to see him transform into Reiss when he puts on Reiss’s reading glasses and cardigan.

"And we’re all excited for Sonia to have a new squeeze in the Square – it’s been a while!"

Of course, Reiss won't be the only person heading to Walford for Dot's funeral, which comes following the passing of EastEnders acting icon June Brown, who died in April at the age of 95.

A number of classic characters will return to Walford for Dot's funeral, including Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt), Mary "the Punk" Smith (Linda Davidson), Colin Russell (Lord Michael Cashman CBE), Barry Clark (Gary Hailes), Disa O'Brien (Jan Graveson), and Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa).

Later this year, Dot's granddaughter Kirsty "Dotty" Cotton is also set to depart Albert Square as actress Milly Zero has already filmed her final scenes.

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