BRIAN Conley has revealed he agreed to join the cast of EastEnders in memory of his father.
The stage and screen star, 59, will join the BBC One show as Sonia’s long-lost dad Terry Cant, despite having previously said he had turned down the soap twice.
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Speaking about the emotional reason he signed up to star in the soap, he explained: “As you can imagine being a Londoner and now being part of EastEnders is such an incredible moment for me.
“I know for sure my dad’s looking down from above and saying “Good on yer son!” It was always his favourite programme.
“So in so many ways it really is an honour to be part of such an iconic show and to be working with an incredibly talented team on camera and off."
He added: “I cannot wait to order my first pint at The Queen Vic.”
Brian’s decision to join the popular BBC soap comes after he turned down a role in EastEnders in 2012.
The actor, whose first EastEnders scenes are expected to air this spring, said at the time: “I don’t hanker for fame. I just want to work. EastEnders wouldn’t allow me to do anything else and I do a lot of corporate gigs.
“Also, unless you are in it for three years, you don’t earn anything and I’ve got two children who go to private school."
But it looks like the most recent offer to join EastEnders came at the perfect time for Brian, whose work commitments have largely dried up in the past year due to the coronavirus.
The actor had been due to appear in a West End production of A Christmas Carol, playing Scrooge, in December.
But the show was cancelled after just a few performances due to tightening restrictions.
His character's entrance to Albert Square comes after Sonia tried to search for her long-lost father online last year.
Speaking about the new cast member, EastEnders’ executive producer Jon Sen added: “We are delighted to welcome Brian to Albert Square.
“We had been searching for some time but the moment we met Brian, we knew instantly we had found our man.
“Brian’s a talented performer whose charm, wit and charisma are exactly the qualities we want for Terry.
“We’ve got some wonderful stories in store for him and can’t wait for the audience to see Brian bring him to life.”
EastEnders fans are convinced never seen before Terry will turn out to be a villain following his arrival after previous teases by the soap.
- EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights on BBC One and is available for catch up on BBC iPlayer.
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