One Dot Cotton

Dot Cotton appeared on the TV, halfway through an episode of Eastenders.

“There’s only one Dot Cotton!” sang Jimmy. “One Dot Cooootton-”

“Shut up Jimmy,” said Debbie.

“There’s only one Dot Cotton!”

“I’m trying to watch this, Jimmy!”

“ONE DOT COTTON! THERE’S ONLY ONE DOT COTTON!”

“Jimmy!”

“ONE DOT COOOOTTON-”

The scene with Dot Cotton ended as the TV was filled with a bunch of Mitchells. Jimmy stopped singing.

“She’s such a legend,” said Jimmy.

“Yeah, she’s alright,” said Debbie. “Now shut up!”

“Alright? ALRIGHT? Debbie, she’s an absolute icon. Ever since she appeared in episode 40 on 4th July 1985, Dorothy Cotton – officially Dot Branning after her wedding to Jim Branning, Rest In Peace – she’s been a staple of British culture.”

“Yeah, I know, sshh-”

“Seriously. The ups and downs that woman’s had over the years. The terrible, oppressive, cheating ex-husband of hers, a diagnosis of kidney cancer, finding an abandoned baby at church, the moral quandary of her best friend Ethel asking Dot to assist her with euthanasia, the loss of countless loved ones…”

“Yeah, tough-”

“And that’s not even mentioning being constantly let down by her violent, insidious, villainous son Nick! All she does is love and love and love that horrible little sod and he’s forever threatening, intimidating and letting her down.”

“Yep. I’m really trying to wat-”

“Plus, she’s an absolute stunner.”

“Yeah. Wait. What?”

“She’s absolutely bloody gorgeous.”

“Well, yeah, I guess for 82-”

“Nah, Debbie, for any age. Love me some Dot Cotton!”

Dot Cotton re-entered the scene.

“THERE’S ONLY ONE DOT COTTON!” sang Jimmy. “ONE DOT COOOOTTON-”

Debbie turned the channel over to a re-run of the previous night’s Coronation Street. 78-year-old Ken Barlow was talking to a friend.

“PHOAR,” said Jimmy. “THERE’S ONLY ONE KEN BARLOW. ONE KEN BAAAARLOW!”

Debbie tip-toed out of the house, deciding to give Jimmy “a little space”.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

Brief by Will: “Anything, just as long as you include one Dot Cotton…”

This piece was written as a part of a fundraising project for Rethink Mental Illness, where I’m inviting people to set me any writing brief in exchange for donations.

Read all of the details here and if you’d like to get involved, email ca.burkitt@gmail.com or Tweet @CarlBurkitt!

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