EastEnders star hints at 'return' with four-word response after brutal exit

EastEnders is set for sad scenes next week for one fan favourite as he plans to leave Albert Square
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

Brian Conley has disclosed the real reason behind his departure from EastEnders.

It was previously reported that Brian decided to leave after the show's bosses prohibited the cast from participating in lucrative pantomime roles this year. Brian, who portrayed Tom "Rocky" Cotton since May 2021, has now admitted that he felt "restricted" during his time on the show as he wasn't allowed to do other things outside the show.

While appearing on ITV's Good Morning Britain, presenter Susanna Reid queried: "You haven't been in EastEnders for six months, because you're in prison there is a release date at some point You could go back...but you've said actually, it's probably too much?"

Brian, aged 62, who is the one of the UK's biggest panto stars: "I left because you're not allowed to do anything else. Appearing slightly irritated, he continued: "Although I've now found out you can. But at the time, they said you can't do anything.""

"I'm a live performer, I love being live, I love getting out there - musicals and my own show which I'm currently doing. So for me I felt very restricted with those sort of ties.["

Co-host Ed Ball then asked if Rocky would be making a comeback since his character was sent to prison. Ed asked: "So Rocky's not getting an early release then? ".

Brian replied: "He might do, never say never, I could always wander in or I could make an escape." However, he swiftly shifted the conversation to his new hosting gig for RadioTimes.com Soap Awards this month

Brian will rake in a six-figure salary for his role as Buttons in Cinderella, joining other celebs who are panto regulars. A TV insider said: "Often in milestone celebratory years like the 40th anniversary, bosses need to have all cast available so that they can storyline appropriately up to and beyond December to guarantee that level of drama for audiences."

Brian Conley
Brian Conley

"There's a real buzz around the anniversary with plans already underway to bring audiences some explosive storylines. Filming for February usually takes place before Christmas, so for those wanting to do a five-week run would mean the show would be unable to use them in any of their plans relating to the anniversary."

Last year, Rocky's gambling issues on EastEnders got out of hand, which resulted in him burning his wife Kathy's cafe in hopes of cashing in on insurance. Rocky's final moments on screen were on December 29 when he came clean to the police.

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer