Secret to being a good 'Baddie'

Manchester Evening News, 3 June 2016

John Altman says 'think of traffic wardens' as he helps the Stockport Plaza theatre launch its Peter Pan panto.

One of TV’s most infamous characters was at Stockport Plaza’s panto launch and revealed the secret to being a successful ‘baddie’ - think of traffic wardens.

John Altman - aka Nasty Nick Cotton in Eastenders - will play the role of Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the theatre this December.

Tickets are now on sale and speaking at the launch on Thursday John, 64, told how he searches for his ‘dark side’ before transforming into a bad guy.

And he warned that there will be no holds barred when it comes to frightening the audience - even if it leaves them quaking in their pirate boots.

John said: “You have to summon up your dark side, everybody has one. Mine comes out with parking tickets.

“I once went into a shop near the Eastenders set to buy a paper, it was on a yellow line but I wasn’t blocking anyone and I was two minutes but a parking warden gave me a ticket.

“He said, ‘that’s an expensive paper’, that made me swear. I want kids to believe I am Captain Hook.

“I once went on stage and without saying a word a child started crying and their mum had to take them out. It means I did a good job!”

Peter Pan is on at the Plaza, on Mersey Square, from December 2 to January 8. John will also play Mr Darling.

Other stars include Becky Bennett, who has previously starred in a Plaza panto, as Wendy, Bradley Thompson as Mr Smee, and Jamie Jukes as Peter Pan.

Read more: Gas leak igniting sees homes in Stockport evacuated and main road shut for hours

Despite playing a sweet, innocent character Becky is hoping to learn from John.

She said: “I always play a goodie at the Plaza but I like playing a baddie - my favourite role is the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz, you can get your teeth into it and let loose. “So this is an amazing opportunity and you learn something every rehearsal.”

But John says he had reservations before accepting his famous soap part. He said: “I ummed and ahhed about playing Nick and getting type-cast. I have been but I’ve done a lot of other things along the way.

“It can close a lot of doors being in a soap, which is a shame as there are a lot of great actors in them.”

Plaza manager Ted Doan added: “It will be panto at it’s very best. If you want a Captain Hook who better than nasty Nick, the original pantomime baddie?”

 

 

 

 

Wolverhampton Panto Star John Altman warms up with Parrot

Express and Star, 4 December 2015

Actor John Altman put in some practise for his upcoming stint as Captain Hook in Wolverhampton Grand’s panto with a parrot on his shoulder.

Rachel Doyle, who runs the EastEnders actor’s website, tweeted the pic with the caption: “John Altman warming up with a parrot for his role as Captain Hook in Peter Pan @WolvesGrand He is the Pirate King!”

Speaking about his upcoming role, John said: “I have done plenty of pantomimes now, so I know all about having to learn your lines and all these songs in a short space of time. It is tough going but, of course, once you are on stage it is all worth it.

“Obviously, for me, it is another bad guy role to get stuck into. I imagine a little bit of Nick Cotton will slip in somewhere, that usually gets a response from the crowds.”

John has recently been seen in leading roles in feature films On A Prayer and My Lonely Me but is probably best-known for his role as Nick Cotton in the BBC TV soap. He first appeared in 1985 and was finally killed off in February this year, concluding yet another tense storyline for one of the country’s favourite bad guys.

Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment, which is producing this year’s panto, said: “ John is a first-rate actor and to have him cast alongside the hilarious comedy talent of the Chuckle Brothers guarantees us another sensational season at the Grand Theatre.”

 

 

 

 

 

John Altman and friends visit the Elstree and Borehamwood

Museum

Sunday 22 November 2015

Yesterday we had a special visitor to the museum. John Altman who played character Nick Cotton in EastEnders for many years, brought some friends along to look at the EastEnders exhibition. John was in the soap from the opening episode in 1985 and has only recently been killed off.

There is still time to see the exhibition if you haven't yet had chance. It runs until 7th January. We have recently had some new editions to one of the display cases, so it's worth a return visit.

 

 

 

 

Back from the dead! EastEnders actor John Altman hams it up in macabre talent show stunt after being killed-off from BBC soap

Tuesday 24 February 2015

His on-screen character was recently killed off in Eastenders.

But actor John Altman has proved that nothing can keep a good man down - especially when it involves showbusiness.

The long-running BBC soap actor took to the streets of London on Tuesday in a gothic coffin as part of a publicity stunt for city centre bar, Archer Street.

Wearing a black suit with a blood-red shirt, the performer - who unnerved viewers as bad boy Nick Cotton - certainly looked the part as he promoted singing competition Archer Street's Got Talent.

The contest, which promotes local performers, awards £5,000 to the West End's next big thing, with several of last year’s contestants being scouted for both X-Factor and The Voice.

Clearly happy to be mocking his recent-on-screen demise, the 62 year-old seemed to relish the opportunity to scare theatre fans.

Carried through the streets by a group of pretend pallbearers, the procession was dramatised with the help of sound effects and dry ice.

As the quirky stunt snaked its way though the capital, drawing attention along the way, it stopped outside the venue - where John was seen announcing the second year of the bar's competition.

Thankfully, John managed to infuse the 'role' with a little more humour than his previous TV character allowed.

'Nasty Nick' provided the dramatic climax to EastEnders’ very first episode on 19 February 1985 when, as a drug-addicted burglar, he put his fist through the Queen Vic window – and he was in trouble with the law from then on.

After admitting in 1988 that he’d killed Albert Square war veteran Reg Cox – a murder victim in the opening episode – three years later he stabbed pub landlord Eddie Royle to death while coming off heroin.

In 2001 the conniving criminal decided to murder Mark Fowler by cutting the brakes on his motorbike, but unintentionally killed his own son, Ashley. Then in 2009 he attempted to poison his mum Dot for her life insurance, before faking his own death earlier this year.

He was killed off with an emotive Heroin overdose, which involved his on-screen mother Dot - played by June Brown - earlier this month.

 

 

 

John on 'This Morning'

Monday 9 February 2015

Phillip Schofield and co-host Christine Bleakley with John

John Altman appeared on This Morning to talk about his friendship with June Brown and how he's been sober for 18 years

EastEnders star John Altman has spoken about his battle with alcohol addiction after admitting he also took heroin "by accident" many years ago.

The actor, who has filmed his final scenes as Nasty Nick in the BBC soap, appeared on This Morning after opening up about his experiences of taking drugs, admitting he's tried everything from marijuana to LSD and heroin.

Talking about his character in the show, host Phillip Schofield said to John: "He's got his demons, you have had yours..."

He explained: "I talked about in the paper, about 40 years ago now, [that's] how long ago all that was. I'm a surviver, I survived all that.

"I tried lots of things once. I haven't had a drink now for about 18 years, [I'm] fit as a fiddle, I've given up cigarettes as well."

He told The Sun on Sunday newspaper last week: "I met people while travelling who were buying heroin and fixing up. But I've always hated needles, which probably did me a favour because I always avoided heroin.

"The only time I took it was at a party by accident, because I thought it was cocaine. I saw a white line on the table, I snorted it and then it made me sick."

He went on to admit that June Brown, who plays his on-screen mum Dot, has tried to tempt him to start smoking AGAIN, telling him during filming: "You look tense, have a cigarette..." while puffing away herself.

Phillip and co-host Christine Bleakley giggled and John said the pair are great friends and he got a bit emotional filming his final scenes with June.

"During our final scenes I did shed some tears, some emotion [came] up with dear June but I'll still see her of course," he told them.

John said he had "mixed feelings" about being killed off in the show and felt "very sad" to be leaving the character behind after so many years.

Phillip asked if he would be going out in a "massive great blaze of glory" liked he had hoped.

The 62-year-old actor replied: "No, it's quite low key in a way," joking: "Budget cuts ... but the story is quite powerful. He's quite honest with her [Dot] for once."

He also said the cast are getting "quite nervous" about the upcoming live episode for the show's 30th anniversary.

John said they have been rehearsing non-stop and "it's like the opening night of a play that's only on once."

John Altman and addiction expert Gary Topley on 'This Morning'

 

 

‘I’ll pay to rebuild Herne Bay Pier if I get role in a blockbuster movie’ says John Altman

Kent Online, 20 December 2014

He may play EastEnders bad boy Nasty Nick, but Herne Bay-raised John Altman has proved he is anything but by offering to fund a rebuild of the town’s pier.

But there’s one slight catch: He has to first win a part in a Hollywood blockbuster to pay for his philanthropic mission.

Mr Altman revealed his passion for the pier to presenters Garry and Emma on kmfm's breakfast radio show when he told how much he misses the structure, which was such an important part of his childhood.

Currently starring in pantomime in Middesborough, he said: "If ever I make a movie in Hollywood and make millions I would actually build a new pier in Herne Bay, definitely, let’s pray I get a big job because I really miss it."

Herne Bay Pier Trust chairman Doreen Stone was thrilled to learn of Altman’s commitment, suggesting he would make a great patron for the charity, and we can exclusively reveal he has agreed to become the Trust’s figurehead.

Mr Altman said: "I would be honoured to become patron."

Mrs Stone said: "I think having a big name on board would be marvellous and it would be lovely to talk to him."

The Trust is on a high at the moment having been given a boost by an ITV Meridian's The Peoples' Millions £50,000 grant to help fund a cover over the pier platform, which may be re-named the Food Plaza.

A loan of £60,000 from the Kent Community Foundation will pay for a further 17 huts, which will be rented out to traders, and plans are in hand to develop a cafe on the platform. Three individual proprietors have shown keen interest in running the venture.

Mrs Stone said: "Regenerating the existing pier is bringing a magical mix of retail and entertainment and we are trying to bring back the heritage of the pier.

"Herne Bay is certainly on the up and the Peoples Millions was a real community effort with a lot of local groups working together."

Mr Altman was a pupil at Whitstable's Sir Nottidge School, now the Community College Whitstable, where he enjoyed his first acting experience.

He gained cult status in EastEnders as Dot Cotton's wayward son Nick from 1985 to 2009 and his role is currently enjoying a revival.

He has just released a single, an Iggy Pop cover, Real Wild Child (Wild One), with JOAN ovARC.

He is busy promoting the song with an eye to achieving the elusive Christmas number one slot. He said: "It would be great to put my name to the pier even though I'm massively busy. I have such treasured memories of the pier in the 60s with the track still running to the cafe at the end. It was such a joy to walk down there. I haven't made pots of money yet but when a big movie comes along I would be glad to make a huge contribution to rebuilding the pier".

"Maybe I'll meet a millionaire on my travels and I could ask if they would like to invest in a pier."

 

Lorraine, ITV1

Monday 15 December 2014

Actor John Altman, aka Nasty Nick in EastEnders, joins Lorraine to discuss his return to the soap after five years and his current storyline which will run up to Christmas.

He'll also talk about his role in panto this year, and his new single Wild One which he hopes will compete for the Christmas No 1 slot.

 

 

The Northern Echo

Tuesday 9 December 2014

 

Middlesbrough Theatre, Jack and The Beanstalk Review

IT’S looking a lot like Christmas down at Middlesbrough Theatre with the opening of yet another outstanding Yuletide pantomime.

Extravaganza Productions never fails to impress with its annual panto that, in my humble opinion, is one of the best seasonal shows in the region.

Once again, they have pulled off a masterpiece with this year’s performance of Jack and The Beanstalk, which boasted an incredible set – complete with an almighty giant that reached out to the audience – wonderful costumes, song and humour.

Brilliantly written, witty, fast-paced and colourful, there is never a dull moment in the two-hour show that had children giddy with excitement and parents hoarse by the time the final curtain came down.

Scott Gallagher stole the show once again as the panto’s funny man, this time as the loveable Simple Simon. He’s such a regular at the Middlesbrough Theatre now, he has the Boro dialect down to a tee and has the audience eating out of his hand.

But as always, he is surrounded by a talented and strong cast, which this year includes John Altman, better known as EastEnders’ Nasty Nick, as Fleshcreep, Danny Posthill as Dame Dottie Durden, and Shelley Anne Rivers as the gorgeous Fairy Vegetable. . .

Will Breckin and Hannah Marie Kilminster led the cast as Jack and Princess Rosalinde, showcasing their brilliant singing voices with an array of songs, not least the young audience’s favourite Love is an Open Door, from the Frozen movie.

Try to get tickets for this year’s show if you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Review - Karen Westcott

 

 

Small Faces’ fans head for original 1965 Ruskin Arms gig in East Ham for Galaxy awards

4 December 2014

John with Danny Dyer and Carol Harrison

Hundreds of fans of the 1960s Small Faces band are coming to East London’s newly-reopened Ruskin Arms pub on Saturday night where the rock clock is being turned back to the Swinging Sixties.

 

 

EastEnders' John Altman to rival X Factor winner for Christmas No. 1

25 November 2014

EastEnders star John Altman is set to rival this year's X Factor winner for the coveted Christmas Number One spot.

John, who plays villain 'Nasty' Nick Cotton in the BBC One soap, is swapping the screen for the stage this Christmas.

The 62-year-old actor has teamed up with female rock band JOANovARC to cover 'Real Wild Child (Wild One)' by Iggy Pop.

John is hoping the single will chart well - and in particular, he's hoping to beat the winner of the popular ITV talent show.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: "We're going all out to beat the X Factor winner because we've got a good song."

 

 

Blue Plaque unveiled at club where ‘best live band of all time’ The Who first played

19 November 2014

EastEnders actor John Altman, who stared in The Who's 1979 film Quadrophenia, the band's manager Bill Curbishley and singer Dave Berry at the plaque unveiling

They were the band that defined a generation with the incredible energy of their live shows and some of the greatest guitar riffs of all time.

So it was no surprise that a tribute lunch for The Who, held in Swiss Cottage on Sunday to mark the band’s 50th anniversary, attracted a star-studded crowd.

The group was honoured at the Marriott Hotel in King Henry’s Road at the Heritage Foundation’s annual pre-Christmas lunch.

Earlier that day a Blue Plaque was erected outside Shepherd’s Bush Club, the venue where the band first started playing in 1963, then called Goldhawk Social Club.

Image is copyrighted to © Gemma Reynolds Photography

 

The plaque was officially unveiled by actor and EastEnders star John Altman, who appeared in The Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia, and the band’s manager Bill Curbishley, whose office is in Oval Road, Camden Town.

The luncheon culminated in a performance by tribute band, Who’s Next, whose lead singer Gary Charman is a Roger Daltrey look-alike.

Music publisher David Stark, of Belsize Park, helped to arrange the plaque with organisers Gary and Melissa Hurley and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr Stark, who has seen The Who live more than 200 times, said: “They were the best live band of all time in my opinion.

“To me nobody’s ever come close to the energy that they had in the 60s and 70s, especially with Keith Moon in those days. And they’ve got an incredible catalogue of songs, one of the greatest in rock music. We were honouring that legacy really.”

 

 

Nicks Return

Thursday 23 October 2014

By Etasham Hussain in News stories for EastEnders Ultra

John, you’re back! Walford is lucky to have you. Tell us, what made you want 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 [who plays Dot Branning] 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.”

We know you’re good friends with June. Have you kept in contact with her over all these years?

“I do see June when I’m not in the show – we don’t live very far away from each other.”

Do you have any favourite Nick, Dot scenes?

“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…'”

So, 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.” We know Nick will get on the wrong side of Ronnie, but does he have other enemies? “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!”

 

 

Filming for movie 'Perfect Break'

June 2014

 

You may have spotted actor John Altman aka Nasty Nick, filming in Hanworth, and getwestlondon can reveal the former EastEnders star was shooting scenes for his next big project - Perfect Break.

The film crew were at Middlesex County FC (formerly Feltham ex-servicemens club) off Bedfont Lane recording some scenes in which Altman plays a manager of a men's club.

Snooker fans are also in for a treat as legends Jimmy White and John Virgo star in the comedy as themselves. Shooting scenes alongside Mr Altman was actor Robert Cash.

This is the first feature film for producer Len Evans, following nine short film releases, and is due to release in 2015.

The 90-minute comedy is about a snooker player who falls on hard times after being beaten in a tournament and is on a downward spiral, making a living doing trick shots in a men's club.

But it's a 12-year-old girl who helps turn his life around after encouraging him to enter the Jimmy White tournament, which eventually helps him get his confidence back.

The film is directed by Will Moore.

 

 

Ex-Eastenders and Pop Idol stars judge beach hut contest

August 2011

Herne Bay famous faces John Altman and Nicki Chapman had a stiff challenge on their hands as guest judges at the annual beach hut competition.

A fiercely contested event saw owners get right into the festival spirit with an array of colourful designs and themes for their huts.

Former EastEnders star John and TV personality Nicki were joined by Jenny and David Cross from the Friends of the Herne Bay Museum in the judging as the number of entries exceeded expectations.

Organiser Andrew Cook was overwhelmed with the response.

He said: “The sun came out to shine and many hut owners frantically dressed theirs in time for judging.

“Competition was fierce and the quality was higher than ever before, some owners came from as far away as Yorkshire to enter. We had to give out some additional prizes to make the judges’ lives a bit easier.

“Jill Bell eventually took the honours for best dressed hut with her Mrs Sweeney Todd theme.

“It was great to have both Nicki and John there as they are firm believers of what Herne Bay has to offer and the town’s future potential.”

Beach Hut Idol: Judges Nicki Chapman and John Altman, right, join Jenny and David Cross before the event