EastEnders star John Altman quit when writers wanted Nick Cotton to be gay

EastEnders star John Altman has revealed the reason for Nick Cotton’s original exit from the show – as he has recounted a showdown he had with a producer over plans to write in a gay relationship for the character.

Villainous Nick was one of the show’s original characters and John has argued that the storyline would not have been a good fit for the Albert Square killer – but he added that when he refused to do it, it meant the end for his time in the soap for a good while.

Speaking to BANG Showbiz, he explained: ‘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 loveable 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.

‘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.’

Nick was central to some of EastEnders’ darkest storylines, including the murder of Eddie Royle, several schemes to murder his own mum Dot (June Brown), accidentally causing the death of his son Ashley and holding the customers of the cafe hostage.

He was eventually killed off for good 2015, ironically at the hands of Dot, the ma he tried and failed to finish off so many times.

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