EastEnders star Brian Conley reveals he felt late dad’s presence in The Queen Vic

Brian Conley plays Terry Rocky Cant in EastEnders
(Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes)

Conley makes his Albert Square debut next week as Sonia’s dad

EastEnders’ new signing, Brian Conley, has spoke movingly about his late father, Colin, and revealed that he felt his beloved parent was with him when he filmed his first scenes in the iconic Queen Vic.

Colin died back in 2002 from bowel cancer. He started out as a cabbie, but in a twist of fate, he also once worked at EastEnders as a rigger - a job that involves assembling and dismantling equipment on the set, such as scaffolding and cables.

Conley explains: “My father was a cab driver, then for 25 years he worked at the BBC, but he always kept his badge up.

"In those 25 years and in the early days of EastEnders, they would use outside broadcast units. My dad was a rigger supervisor, so he would be there a lot. He used to put posters up in the market of the shows I was doing!”

He adds: “I was filming my first scenes in The Vic, and on one of the shelves, there is a little model of a cab - it’s actually screwed in so it’s obviously been there a long time. And I just knew that that was my dad, going ‘You’ll be alright’ and looking out for me.

“He was always a fan of EastEnders but in the last six months of his life, when he was at home, he got really into it. To know that I’m there, now, it really is quite weird.”

Conley has been cast as Terry Cant, the biological father of Sonia Fowler. Terry, nicknamed Rocky to his pals, arrives in Walford this coming Tuesday, May 18th, to reconnect with Sonia, who has had virtually no contact with him since she was a small child.

“He’s come to find his daughter; he’s been away for a long time and we find out why in future episodes,” Conley adds.

“He’s cheeky and got the gift of the gab, but Sonia is annoyed that he hasn’t been there for her, and he just turns up and says ‘I’m your dad.’

“He tries to gradually convince her that he is, through telling her stories of when she was a kid, like when he used to take her to Southend.

“She’s like ‘Anyone could say that’ but there are certain things that hit her like a shovel over the back of her head, where she goes ‘Oh my God, no-one else would know that!’”

EastEnders continues on BBC1.

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.