Brian Conley cried after landing 'Eastenders' role after lockdown forced career hiatus

Brian Conley in EastEnders (BBC)
Brian Conley in EastEnders (BBC)

Brian Conley says he cried when he was told he had landed a role on EastEnders, because it ended a career hiatus like he’d ‘never experienced before’.

Conley, who is joining the BBC soap as Terry Cant, Sonia Fowler’s (Natalie Cassidy) estranged father, told Radio Times that he was very emotional when he got the call from the BBC.

“Were it not for Covid, I’d have been touring with 9 to 5 the Musical,” Conley explained.

“But instead, there was this career hiatus that I’d never experienced before – and I’ve had my Equity card since I was 12, so I cried when they said I’d got the part.”

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Opening up about why he was so emotional to land the soap role, he admitted that it was his late father Colin’s ‘favourite show’ and that he had become obsessed with it in the last six months of his life during his battle with bowel cancer.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 11/05/2021 - Programme Name: EastEnders - April-June 2021 - TX: 20/05/2021 - Episode: EastEnders - April-June 2021- 6275 (No. 6275) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 11TH MAY 2021*** Sonia Fowler (NATALIE CASSIDY), Rocky (BRIAN CONLEY) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes
Picture Shows: Sonia Fowler and Terry Cant - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes

Furthermore, he revealed that his father used to work in production as a prop man and while in charge of the BBC’s outside broadcast units, he used to put his son’s tour posters up on the wall, which were visible to eagle-eyed viewers in the background of the scenes.

Conley joined the Albert Square-based cast back in February, when bosses revealed that he had secured the role of Terry Cant. Writers hoped the star could bring some Cockney charm back to the soap with his character.

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Despite his performing experience, the 59-year old described the initial ‘nerve-racking experience’ of stepping onto set for the first time:

“Just standing by those back stairs in the Queen Vic where Dirty Den handed over the divorce papers… it’s iconic. I’m really appreciative of how lucky I am.”

The comedian also admitted that the whole cast had been “premier league” and that, even as a veteran in the industry, he often sits back and watches and learns from them.

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