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John Altman: 'EastEnders has too many episodes and too many characters'

John Altman: 'EastEnders has too many episodes and too many characters'
© BBC
John Altman, EastEnders' original villain 'Nasty' Nick Cotton, launches a surprise attack on the soap, branding it "shallow".

John Altman, who played original villain 'Nasty' Nick Cotton on EastEnders, has launched a surprising attack on the soap more than five years after his character was killed off.

The 68-year-old was one of the original cast members on the BBC soap when it launched in 1985 and continued to appear on and off until he was murdered by his mother Dot Cotton (June Brown) as part of a 30th-anniversary storyline.

Reflecting on his time on the show in a new interview with The Mirror, Altman said: "There's too many episodes. People do have lives to lead. I don't know how people keep up with it.

"There are other things in life, there's a lot more. I'd rather be exploring the planet I think than watching a soap opera.

"When I last went back I said to someone on the production team, 'How many characters are in EastEnders at the moment?' And they said there were over 50.

"If you go back to the original cast there were no more than 20 people in it.

"It was a bit like Charles Dickens, he had a great way of involving you with his characters. The more characters you've got everything becomes dissipated and storylines disappear, you think, 'What happened to that storyline, what happened to that character?' People just disappear.

"I think there's too many characters, when you have fewer characters you get deeper into the story."

Altman's on-screen mother Brown, 93, announced her impromptu EastEnders exit earlier this year, claiming that she had left "for good" after almost 35 years in the role.

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June Brown in her Dot Cotton EastEnders pomp
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