EastEnders legend June Brown should have been on the big screen, co-star says

EastEnders actor John Altman reckons his on-screen mum June Brown should have been a legend of the big screen.

John – famous as Dot Cotton's wayward son Nasty Nick on the soap – claimed that they took the BBC show roles for the cash and that decision cost them bigger roles in the movies.

He said: "I truly believe that June could have been a Penelope Keith or a Vanessa Redgrave if she'd had the 'Sliding Doors' moment we used to talk about.

"We both joined EastEnders because we needed the money and security it brought, but it has meant that lots of other doors have remained firmly shut to us and career opportunities have been limited.

"That's something I have worked hard to try and overcome but I know deep down a lot of people won't even consider a former East End bad boy for some of the roles I would love to play.

"I guess something has to give if you are prepared to shackle yourself to an institution like EastEnders."

Albert Square legend June passed away earlier this week aged 95 and Nick, 70, said that choosing a life in Walford instead of going for bigger parts was something the pair discussed.

He said: "I have spent a great deal of time wondering what would have happened if I hadn't been Nick Cotton, if my time in the theatre had continued without the TV soap interruption and what would have become of my acting path had I stuck to the more classical route.

"I discussed it a lot with my co-star June.

"She really understood my conflicting emotions when it came to my love/hate relationship with Nick Cotton – she had the same struggles when it comes to loving her own character, Dot Cotton."

In his memoirs, In The Nick Of Time, John also spoke of the strong bond the pair shared off camera.

He added: "The most important relationship and pairing for me was with June, Nick's long-suffering 'Ma'. Dot Cotton is an institution.

"Working with June was a constant joy – she was wonderfully particular about her scripts and like a terrier when it came to protecting and preserving the Dot she had created.

"I am aware there aren't many actors lucky enough to have a partner in performance so revered and skilled as June and I know Dot and Nick are the characters they are due to the spark we have together.

"My relationship with June deepened the more we worked together.

"I remember thinking she was a wise person; she was well liked by the rest of the cast too."

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