THE BLOG

Exclusive: 'Nasty Nick' Actor, Others Doubt Moz's EastEnders Claim

15/12/2013 17:34 GMT | Updated 13/02/2014 10:59 GMT

Morrissey's assertion in Autobiography about being offered a role on EastEnders as Dot Cotton's long-lost son has been called into question by several people associated with the series.

"I would arrive unexpectedly in Albert Square and cause births, deaths and factory fires every time I opened my mouth," writes Moz on page 353.

John Altman, who would have played his on-screen brother 'Nasty Nick' Cotton (and has done so on and off since 1985), questions the revelation in an exclusive Walford Gazette interview from Fareham, England, where he's performing in a panto production of Jack and the Beanstalk through 5 January.

"I think Morrissey might have been making that up," says Altman, who would have not necessarily minded if EastEnders had given 'Nasty Nick' a brother. "I know that the late Gary Holton was up for it. We looked a bit similar back then." Holton, English actor and musician among his credits the comedy Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and as frontman of the Heavy Metal Kids, died in October 1985, about eight months after EastEnders debuted.

In his book Morrissey doesn't say exactly when this "offer" took place, presumably while he was living in California some time in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

An EastEnders executive certainly in the position to know if it were the case tells the Gazette: "I've heard this claim before but as far as I'm aware, it's untrue."

We then turned to Mal Young, former controller of BBC Drama 1997-2004 who oversaw EastEnders and was responsible for bringing to the cast the likes Martin Kemp (Steve Owen).

"No idea if it's true. I suspect it was something [Morrissey] said that he knew would create a myth, as he seems quite fond at doing that. We did once have him in Brookside (which Young produced 1992-1996) as he was a big fan in the 80s and I recall briefly meeting him when he came to visit as a fan."

There's no doubt Morrissey at one time was a huge British soap fan, and in the best-selling Autobiography Moz also says he offered to write scripts for Coronation Street before The Smiths made it big.

In late 1991, Morrissey and two mates had been photographed outside the Queen Vic in 1991 when his band was performing on Top of the Pops, which was then produced from the same BBC studio Borehamwood as EastEnders. Photographs of Morrissey and friends taken in various Albert Square settings appeared in the Kill Uncle tour programme later in the year.

In a 1994 interview in Q Magazine, Morrissey admitted, "Against my better judgement I'm affixed to EastEnders. I argue back at it. I despair of the writers. I'm one of those horrendously disposable people who has Sky [satellite TV service] but only because I moved into a house that had it. That's my excuse."

In a 1995 interview given to the Observer magazine, Morrissey said, "I think people wish that life really was like that.... I think that's how we'd all secretly like to live. Within EastEnders, within Coronation Street, there are no age barriers. Senior citizens, young children, they all blend, and they all like one another and they all have a great deal to say, which isn't how life is."

At least Morrissey doesn't have illusions of grandeur regarding his acting ability: "Funnier still, an offer slides in for a role in Emmerdale, and the most fascinating aspect of both ideas is that somebody somewhere had thought it a good idea."