John Altman (actor)

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John Altman
Born 2 March 1952 (1952-03-02) (age 63)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Nationality British
Occupation Actor/Singer
Years active 1979–present (actor)
2010–present (singer)
Notable work See below
Television EastEnders
Spouse(s) Bridgitte (m. 1986–97) (divorced)
Children Rosanna

John Altman (born 2 March 1952) is an English actor and singer, perhaps best known for playing "Nasty" Nick Cotton in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. He was among the show's original cast members in 1985 and recently reappeared in 2014 after a five-year absentce but was killed off in February 2015. In 2010 he became the new frontman of the band Heavy Metal Kids following the death of former frontman Gary Holton in 1985.


Altman was born in Reading, Berkshire. He made his acting debut in the 1979 film The First Great Train Robbery where he played a minor role. Later that same year he portrayed musician George Harrison in the biographical television film Birth of The Beatles. He made brief appearances in several other films including Quadrophenia (1979) and An American Werewolf in London (1981). In 1982 Altman played the role of a Royal Navy rating alongside Timothy Spall in the channel 4 screen play Remembrance. Altman also featured in a 1982 short public information film, "Stupid Git",[1] part of the British government's campaign against drink-driving.

In 1985, he first appeared as Nick Cotton in the new BBC television soap opera EastEnders appearing in the very first episode in February that year. He appeared in the show on a recurring basis from 1985 to 2009 and recently in October 2014, he returned to the show after a five-year absence. His character has been part of many famous storylines in the show including the murders of Reg Cox and Eddie Royle, his attempt to kill his own mother Dot by poisoning her and his drug addiction. His character was also given his own television spin-off episode The Return of Nick Cotton in 2000. His character was killed off in the episode that aired on 19 February 2015 which marked the 30th anniversary of the show.

He also appeared in an adult pantomime, which released on video in 1994 titled Pussy in Boots. In the pantomime he appeared alongside fellow EastEnders stars Mike Reid and Barbara Windsor. In 2001 he won the Rear of the Year Award alongside Claire Sweeney.[2] In the same year he also performed in the Leiber and Stoller tribute evening at the Hammersmith Apollo, singing Trouble, originally performed by Elvis Presley.

In 2002, he toured around the UK playing Billy Flynn in the long-running musical Chicago. He also appeared in the John Godber written stage play Bouncers opposite fellow soap actor Nigel Pivaro who is best known for playing Terry Duckworth in Coronation Street.[3]

In 2004, he made an appearance in the comedy sketch series Bo' Selecta! as his EastEnders character. In 2006, Altman was set to appear in an upcoming British film called It's Been Real, the trailer can be seen on YouTube.[4] It still has yet to be released in cinemas. John Altman also appeared on 18 July 2009 episode of Totally Saturday by climbing out of the boot of a car.

In August 2010, he joined a band called Heavy Metal Kids.[citation needed]From late 2010, until early 2011, Altman appeared in adverts for Daz along with actors (Michael Starke and Amanda Barrie), from rival soap opera Coronation Street. In February 2011, he appeared on Live from Studio Five. In January 2012, he appeared as one of the first five couples in the third series of Celebrity Coach Trip partnering fellow actor Derek Martin.

Personal life[edit]

Altman married Brigitte in 1986 and they divorced in 1997. He has one daughter named Rosanna.[5] Born in Reading, he moved to Kent as a young child, and attended the Community College, Whitstable, then known as the Sir William Nottidge.

He is a high-profile supporter of the Rose Theatre, Kingston. In 2008, Altman played the part of King Rat in Dick Whittington, a pantomime featured at the Hexagon venue in Reading, Berkshire.

June Brown who plays his on-screen mother Dot Cotton, shares a great working relationship with Altman and she campaigned for five years to the producers to bring him back to EastEnders following his departure in 2001. According to Altman, she is like his second mother and she helped him throughout his alcoholism during the 1990s.

Altman is a patron of the Born Free Foundation and has supported the wildlife charity for many years.

In September 2010, John participated in the Bupa Great Yorkshire Run to raise funds for Alzheimer's Society, Bupa's nominated charity for the 2010 Bupa Great Run Series.



Year Film Role Notes
2016 I am Khama Rev. William Willoughby (voice) Pre-production
2015 Perfect Break Filming
2015 My Lonely Me Tom post-production
2015 1066 Earl Leofric pre-production
2009 Photo Shoot Wayne Wilson
2006 The Insane John Vincent Narration Short Film
1969 Matt Short Film
2005 Hell to Pay Policeman
It Could Be You Tony Mantana
1994 To Die For Dogger
1993 The Higher Mortals Mr. Thomas
1983 Return of the Jedi Rebel Pilot (uncredited)
1982 Remembrance Steve
1981 Memoirs of a Survivor Gerald's Courtier
An American Werewolf in London Assorted Police
1979 Birth of the Beatles George Harrison
Quadrophenia John
The First Great Train Robbery First Pickpocket


Year TV Show Role Notes
2015 The British Soap Awards 2015 Himself
1985–2015 EastEnders Nick Cotton Series regular, 1985–93, 1998, 2000–01, 2008–09, 2014–15
2012 Celebrity Coach Trip Himself
2011 Live from Studio Five Himself 1 episode
2010 Fern Britton Meets Himself 1 episode : June Brown
The Wright Stuff Himself – Guest Panelist 1 episode: Episode No.14.52
EastEnders: The Murders of Lucas Johnson Himself One Off Special Documentary
Loose Women Himself 1 episode: Episode No.14.141
EastEnders: The Greatest Cliffhangers Himself 3 episodes
2007–2010 The Weakest Link Himself 2 episodes: Goodies and Baddies/'EastEnders' Special 3
2009 The Alan Titchmarsh Show Himself 1 episode
Hole in the Wall Himself 1 episode
Totally Saturday Himself 1 episode
The British Soap Awards 2009 Himself
The Podge and Rodge Show Himself 1 episode
2008 EastEnders: Comebacks Himself One Off Special Documentary
GMTV Himself 1 episode
EastEnders: Whodunnits Himself One Off Special Documentary
2007 No. 1 Soap Fan Himself
Granada Reports Himself 1 episode
Soapstar Superchef Himself 2 episodes
2005 Balamory Unknown Role 1 episode : The Game Show
2004 100 Greatest Christmas Moments Himself TV documentary
Win, Lose or Draw Late Himself 2 episodes
Simply the Best Himself 1 episode: Episode No.1.5
Celebrity Fear Factor UK Himself 1 episode: Episode No.1.1
Bo' Selecta Nick Cotton 1 episode: Episode No.3.4
2003 EastEnders: Christmas Party Himself TV film
Loose Lips Himself 1 episode
2002 Kelly Himself 1 episode
Top Ten Himself 1 episode: Soap Queens
2001 Liquid News Himself 1 episode
2000 EastEnders: The Return of Nick Cotton Nick Cotton (TV film)
1998 Lenny Goes to Town Unknown Role 1 episode : Cambridge
1997 Adam's Family Tree Angus the Caveman 1 episode: I'm the Urban Caveman
1996 Chef! Pianist 1 episode : Lessons in Talking
The Famous Five Simmy 1 episode: Five Fall into Adventure
Cold Lazarus Restaurant Policeman 1 episode: Episode No.1.1
1995–1996 Blackhearts in Battersea Midwink 6 episodes
1994 Pussy in Boots The Wicked Giant TV: Mike Reid Live
1992 Noel's House Party Unknown Role 1 episode: Episode No.1.13
1991 The Ghosts of Oxford Street Thomas De Quincey TV
The Adventures of Scragtag and Toddles, Ace Detectives Unknown Role TV series
1990 The Paradise Club Eddie 1 episode: Rock and Roll Roulette
1984 Minder Cabbie 1 episode: The Car Lot Baggers
1983 Pictures Lance Repton 1 episode: Episode No.1.1
1982 The New Adventures of Lucky Jim Vic Slater 1 episode: The Apartment
Play for Today Young man on tube 1 episode: Life After Death


  1. ^ Public Information Films | 1979 to 2006 | Film index | Stupid Git, John Altman. Retrieved on 16 August 2012.
  2. ^ Rear of the Year – History. Retrieved on 16 August 2012.
  3. ^ Beds, Herts and Bucks Theatre – Milton Keynes Theatre – Bouncers – John Altman interview. BBC (13 September 2003). Retrieved on 16 August 2012.
  4. ^ Movie Trailer: "It's Been Real" starring Samantha Fox on YouTube (3 November 2006). Retrieved on 16 August 2012.
  5. ^ ::The Speakers Agency – Speakers::

External links[edit]