John Altman had a showdown with a "really harsh" 'EastEnders' producer when she tried to "make Nick Cotton gay".

John Altman

John Altman

The 67-year-old star played 'Nasty' Nick Cotton on and off from 1985 until the Walford villain's eventual death in 2015, but he once objected to a plot idea that would've seen Nick develop feelings for another man, which resulted in the star leaving the show.

He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "They tried to make Nick Cotton gay, it was years ago now. I went in there straight, and so did the other guy, Lofty, who was a bit of a lovable bozo in the early days.

"Anyway, they suddenly decided that he weren't gay, they were gonna make him gay, and I didn't think that was a good idea as it would've changed Nick's character completely, really.

"So I went to the producer, I said, 'I hear you've got this idea, but I don't think it will work,' and she said, 'Well, write him out,' and I walked away.

"She was really harsh."

As well as objecting to the idea, he didn't think the public "would've wanted" that storyline for his character.

He said: "But, I went back. I was just written out for that period.

"If I'd have gone in playing a gay character, fine. But to suddenly make the character ... I dunno, to me, as an actor, it would've been wrong.

"I don't think the public would've wanted it either."

John wrote "a lot" about his 'EastEnders' memories in his autobiography 'In the Nick of Time'.

He added: "It's the story of John Altman, and it incorporates quite a lot about 'EastEnders' over the years, from when I went in, up until the final death scene with Dot.

"And there's a load of stuff in it people may not know about.

"If you wanna know how Nick Cotton is quite accurate, then read the book and you'll see that I did all the research that I needed to, really."