Is Nasty Nick Cotton coming back to EastEnders? John Altman hopes for a ghostly return

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Nick Cotton may be dead but that is not necessarily a barrier to his EastEnders return, John Altman has said.

The actor, who played TV villain 'Nasty Nick' Cotton, said he would jump at the chance to head back to Square, even if it means he has to reappear as a ghost.

John Altman and June Brown (The BBC Store EastEnders Iconic Exits Collection is available from 17 May www.bbcstore.com)

Nick was killed by a fatal dose of heroin at the hands of his own mother last year - but is that really the end?

"I would go back after all these years, yeah of course I would," he told the Daily Star. "It's not going to do me any harm."

The actor, who first appeared on the show in 1985, said his character's fate was intertwined with that of his mother Dot Branning, played by June Brown.

EastEnders' star John Altman (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

"June and I are intertwined on the show, we go together," he said. "It's like like Morecombe and Wise, Reg and Ronnie, Nick and Dot."

He suggested to the Mirror: "Maybe Nick could return as a ghost - a bit like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol."

Nick Cotton comforts son Charlie in EastEnders

There is a precedent for ghostly appearances on EastEnders. Earlier this year Pam St Clement (Pat Butcher) returned as a spirit as Peggy Mitchell (Dame Barbara Windsor) prepared to take her own life.

Dame Barbara has also suggested Peggy could reappear on the BBC soap as a ghost.