EASTENDERS star John Altman left the soap after bosses tried to make his character Nick Cotton gay.
The 67-year-old actor, who played Dot Cotton’s villainous son off and on from 1985 until 2015, has revealed he had a showdown with producers over the idea.
Speaking to Bang Showbiz, he insisted the idea would have been completely out of character.
John said: “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.”
However, that didn’t spell the end for Nasty Nick, with the character winding up making one of his many returns to the soap.
John added: “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 often popped back to EastEnders over the years, usually to torment his long-suffering mum Dot, even at one point trying to kill her and steal her bingo winnings.
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However, in the end it was Dot who did for Nick, allowing him to die after he suffered a fatal reaction to heroin.
The character is one of a handful of EastEnders legends to appear in the soap’s first ever episode in 1985.
He was responsible for the death of Reg Cox, whose dead body was discovered in the opening scene, and ended up dying himself in the same spot 30 years later.