He’s back and he’s meaner than ever! Yes, Walford’s original villain Nick Cotton has risen from the grave to cause his old Ma some more misery. Here, actor John Altman reveals all about his comeback to the BBC1 soap and what he says to EastEnders fans who truly believe he’d met his maker…
What made you decide to come back?
It’s never usually up to me, really! I don’t sit by the phone or pester them, so it was in the hands of the story producers. June Brown might have had a little word with the powers that be! I had a meeting with Dominic Treadwell-Collins [executive producer] and Alex Lamb [story producer] and they told me what would be happening with Nick and I thought it sounded exciting. It’s different from what he has done before.
Did you keep in contact with June while you were away and what are you favourite scenes with her?
I do see June when I’m not in the show – we don’t live very far away from each other. I enjoy all my scenes with June – she’s a very giving and caring actress. We’ve known each other for nearly 30 years. I treasure all my dramatic moments and lighthearted scenes with her and we have a lot more laughs off screen than you would see on-screen! I chuckle inside when I say, “hello ma”. On the script, it’ll say, ‘and Nick says the inevitable…’
Why did Nick fake his own death?
It was another one of his scams. There had been a robbery and he needed to disappear altogether, so he set up this scam with Charlie. Nick didn’t have another corner he could run to, so to fake his own death was the only way.
Who is Nick’s worst enemy?
Phil Mitchell is still Nick’s worst enemy. Nick’s not too bothered about anyone else. The public wouldn’t like it if Nick came back all nice. I wouldn’t like it either!
How are you getting on with the new additions to the Cotton family?
Declan Bennett [Charlie] and Pauline McLynn [Yvonne] are great to work with. I first met Declan at an event and I got on with him from the start. I first met Pauline on set and we got on from the beginning, which is a compliment to the casting.
What’s coming up for Nick?
Well, that remains to be seen – I think he could soften towards Ronnie seeing as she will be the mother to his grandchild, but she is still a Mitchell so Nick isn’t too keen on that! There is some gritty stuff coming up. It’s going to be a bit of a grim winter and he will sink to an all-time low.
What reaction did you get when Nick was killed off on screen?
Oh no! What a shame! People weren’t very happy about it really! Some people said, “I only watch it when you’re in it” which was quite nice – I’m sure some of the other actors get that too. People have been saying, “oh, I thought you were dead!” and I would respond, “well, if I’m dead then you must be too!”. You’ve got to have some sort of retort!
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes below: