Nasty Nick says his long-suffering Ma Dot Cotton could be tempted back to Albert square on one condition…a brilliant EastEnders plot.
Actor John Altman, 68, made his soap debut alongside June Brown, 93, in the show’s very first episode in 1985 – and the Walford legends still keep in touch.
He said: “If they offered her a really good storyline she would be tempted. I think that would be the key.
“But she’s getting on, bless her, and being 93 she does get tired easily.”
June left the Square earlier this year. John had various lengthy stints in the show until Nasty Nick’s death in 2015.
He revealed he argued against his character being killed off. He said: “I was a bit upset. I did say to the producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t do this.’ And he said, ‘No, we’re going ahead with it.’
“June said to me, ‘Well you might as well do it, love. Because even if you’re not in the programme they still might kill you off.’
“It’s a shame, because sometimes they do these things just to up the ratings for a week.
“I always thought Nick could still be sitting in a corner of The Vic, moaning and cursing everybody. Still evil at the age of 80.”
Heroin addict Nick gave poor old Dot nothing but grief over the years.
In 2001, he caused the death of son Ashley, played by Frankie Fitzgerald, after he tampered with some motorbike brakes. Horrified Dot was left cradling her dying grandson in her arms.
And in 2009 the villain even tried to get daughter Dotty, played by Molly Conlin, to help him murder the mum who always forgave him.
But in real life, divorcee John is devoted to his family and loves nothing more than spending time with daughter Rosanna and grand-daughter Lily, who live in Luxembourg.
He said: “Being a Grandad is a joy, although I haven’t seen much of my family recently, because of the pandemic.
“I’ve tried reading Lily stories on WhatsApp, but it’s just not the same as snuggling up with somebody with their head on your shoulder.”
Romantic John is keen to find love again and has considered joining a dating site.
He said: “I’ve been doing quite a few lovely things recently and it’s a shame when you’re not actually sharing them with somebody. Just a moment, like a rainbow over a vast landscape.
“I’ve had a couple of dates over the year, but nothing serious has happened yet. I may join a dating site, but I’m slightly wary. You don’t know who you’re going to get.
“It might be somebody who wants a date with Nick Cotton and expects me to turn up in a leather jacket and talk in a gruff East End voice!”
John has also been busy making music and has recorded debut album Never Too Late To Rock and Roll.
It is released on November 20 via NUB Music/The Orchard. The lead single Hallucinating You is out now.