John Altman had a showdown with a "really harsh" EastEnders producer when she tried to "make Nick Cotton gay".
The 67-year-old star played 'Nasty' Nick Cotton on and off from 1985 until the Walford villain's eventual death in 2015.
He's now revealed he once objected to a plot idea that would've seen Nick develop feelings for another man, which resulted in the star leaving the show.
He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "They tried to make Nick Cotton gay, it was years ago now.
"I went in there straight, and so did the other guy, Lofty, who was a bit of a lovable bozo in the early days.
"Anyway, they suddenly decided that he weren't gay, they were gonna make him gay, and I didn't think that was a good idea as it would've changed Nick's character completely, really.
"So I went to the producer, I said, 'I hear you've got this idea, but I don't think it will work,' and she said, 'Well, write him out,' and I walked away.
"She was really harsh."
As well as objecting to the idea, he didn't think the public "would've wanted" that storyline for his character.
He said: "But, I went back. I was just written out for that period.
"If I'd have gone in playing a gay character, fine. But to suddenly make the character... I dunno, to me, as an actor, it would've been wrong.
If I'd have gone in playing a gay character, fine.
"I don't think the public would've wanted it either."
John wrote "a lot" about his EastEnders memories in his autobiography In the Nick of Time.
He added: "It's the story of John Altman, and it incorporates quite a lot about EastEnders over the years, from when I went in, up until the final death scene with Dot.
"And there's a load of stuff in it people may not know about.
"If you wanna know how Nick Cotton is quite accurate, then read the book and you'll see that I did all the research that I needed to, really."
Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think of this story.