EastEnders: Brian Conley ‘quits’ BBC soap ‘following row with executives’

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EastEnders star Brian Conley has ‘quit’ the BBC soap ‘following a row’ with the show’s bosses

Brian Conley has reportedly quit EastEnders following a row with the show’s bosses,  causing the Christmas storyline to plunge into crisis. The actor plays fan-favourite character Tom “Rocky” Cotton, who made his first appearance on the show back in May 2021.

According to The Sun, the 62-year-old has demanded to be written out of storylines, following a clash with BBC bosses which has left them “furious” with the actor. A source told the tabloid: “It’s all come to a head.

“The truth is, bosses are furious.”

On the show, Rocky recently married show stalwart Kathy Beale, played by Gillian Taylforth. An EastEnders insider revealed to the news outlet: “Brian was a brilliant signing and has been a big hit with fans. But it looks as though he’s just not enjoying being on EastEnders any more — and has been telling a lot of colleagues and telly friends he wanted out for a while.

Brian Conley plays Tom ‘Rocky’ Cotton in EastEndersBrian Conley plays Tom ‘Rocky’ Cotton in EastEnders
Brian Conley plays Tom ‘Rocky’ Cotton in EastEnders | BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

“It’s all come to a head, and at the National TV Awards last week he was pretty open with co-stars and friends about his exit.They’d made so many plans around him and his character, and they really thought he was in for the long haul.

“Whatever has wound him up, it feels like he can’t get out of there quick enough — and now they’re going to have to rewrite their storyline plans for his rapid exit.”

Sources told the tabloid plans had already been drawn up for another major character death in this year’s Christmas storyline. However, it is now thought Rocky will be killed off instead.

One insider said: “There was always a plan for a major death at Christmas — but it wasn’t initially going to be this. If Brian wants out, it makes sense to switch it around.”

In February 2023, the BBC announced Conley, who has appeared in a number of West End musicals as well as TV sitcoms, would be joining the cast of EastEnders. At the time, the actor described his arrival at Albert Square as “such an incredible moment for me,” adding that the soap was his father’s favourite show.

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