June Brown has told how she feared radiation fallout at the height of the Cold War.
The EastEnders star, 86, who plays Dot Branning in the soap, said she had "worked out what to do" in the event of atomic war.
She told the Radio Times: "Someone once wrote that people who were born before the explosions of the atomic bombs have a different attitude to life than those born afterwards.
"In the early 60s there was this tremendous fear about atomic war. I had four children at the time, and I'd worked out what to do.
"I'd have filled the bath with cold water immediately - it would affect the water, you see - I had lots of tinned milk, tinned food, a great deal of junior aspirins to kill them all... the radiation would have been absolutely hideous."
June, whose first husband suffered depression and committed suicide in 1957, joined EastEnders as launderette assistant Dot in 1985, when she was 58.
She said of her career: "I shouldn't say I'm disappointed, but I am disappointed that it didn't go the way I expected it to go. Which was in the classical theatre. You know, playing Chekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare and Marlowe."
But the actress said of her life: "However much sadness there was, you always saw the funny side of things and there was laughter all the time.
"Everyone's so serious now and there are so many rules and regulations. We didn't have all that awful health and safety. It's all a load of rubbish, that."
Asked whether she thought young people should watch the BBC soap, she said children were more like adults now.
"Children have grown up so fast," she told the magazine.
"They don't have the advantage of our childhood. They can't stay children for long enough. They put make-up on and have their ears pierced and wear short skirts. They're not children."
Brown admitted that the soap's audience was not what it used to be.
"Before there were so many soaps, if we got 18 million we thought we were really going downhill," she said.