John Altman wanted a different exit from ‘EastEnders’.
The 69-year-old actor played Albert Square villain Nick Cotton on and off for two decades between 1985 and 2015 before finally making his final appearance in the 30th anniversary episode being left to die from a drugs overdose by his mother Dot Cotton (June Brown) in a recreation of a scene from the show’s very first episode when Reg Cox was found dead slumped in his chair, murdered by Nick.
Although the episode was a ratings hit for the BBC - being seen by 20 million people in total - John was unimpressed with his final storyline and would rather have gone out in a blaze of glory in an action-packed exit.
He said: “I’d have liked to have had a bit more of an exciting exit, like a major shoot-out with me on the roof of Dot’s house or something, me being picked off by a sharp-shooter in a helicopter like James Cagney, but that didn’t happen unfortunately. Instead I was slumped in a chair, drugged-up.”
John actually went to see the top boss to share his reservations about his last scenes but was told that everyone on the soap was happy with the plan.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz, he added: “I did almost change my mind at one point, well I did, I went to see the producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, and I said, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t do this.’ And he said, ‘No we’re going to go ahead with it. And June told me, ‘Well they’re kill you off anyway John so you might as well come in and do a few episodes and get bumped off.’ That’s the way it went.
John thinks his exit in 2001 when Mark Fowler spiked Nick with drugs and lured him to the top of the viaduct in Bridge Street to watch him fall and cripple himself was far more dramatic.
The actor - who recently released an album, ‘Never Too Late To Rock And Roll’ and has a new single out called ‘Looking For The Love Of My Life’ - said: “I fell off a bridge once, Mark Fowler put some drugs into Nick’s drink and he got him to climb up onto the bridge and pushed him off. That was quite interesting, I got a free leather jacket out of that. The stuntman had to wear the same full-length leather coat that I did so I got to take one home. I wanted to do the stunt myself, but they tend on films and TV not to allow actors to do the stunts because of the insurance.”
John is part of the cast of new radio soap ‘Greenborne’ in which he plays pub landlord Alan Godwin in the 12-part series, which focuses on a village community trying to rebuild their livelihoods and relationships in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
He stars in the audio show along with former 'Emmerdale' actress Corrinne Wicks, who plays his flirtatious younger wife Bev Godwin, and ex-'EastEnders' and 'Doctor Who' star Louise Jameson, who portrays former village school head teacher Evie Lejeune.
'Greenborne' is available from Sunday March 21 on community radio stations across the UK.
A full list of radio stations and details of how can be found at Greenborne.co.uk.
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