The true identity of Brian Conley’s character was revealed in tonight’s episode of the soap.
EastEnders aired a twist tonight (21/9) as it was revealed that ‘Rocky’ (Brian Conley) is in fact Thomas Cotton – Dotty Cotton’s (Milly Zero) uncle and partner in a scheme to relieve Sonia (Natalie Cassidy) of Dot’s money.
At Dotty’s suggestion ‘Rocky’ has been masquerading as Terry Cant, the birth father of Sonia ever since he arrived in Walford in May 2021.
The truth was revealed to viewers after ‘Rocky’ got himself in a spot of bother with the police – keying the car of a guy who has been messing Sonia around. At the police station he gave his real name and more became clear when he was released as Dotty was waiting to lambast him for nearly scuppering their plans.
Explaining his character’s motivations, Conley noted: “He’s very attached now to Sonia, he’s become very much a part of her world for some time now and he really feels like a fatherly figure without a doubt, so to see this guy [Ethan] on another date – well, he just snaps, without really thinking if he does this the big secret could possibly get out.”
Asked if viewers were seeing the ‘real Rocky’ when he lashes out, Conley said: “I don’t think so, no. He’s not a million miles away from what everyone sees, but I think as he’s gone on, he’s got deeper and deeper into Sonia’s world, and of course Kathy’s and he feels very strongly about that and he’s not even thinking when he lashes out. I think he’s a bit of a wheeler dealer. I don’t think he’s ever resorted to violence [before].”
On the ‘huge bombshell’ of Rocky’s true identity, Conley stated that he was “very aware” of it from the start, explaining: “It was one of the reasons that they called me Rocky because he’s meant to be Terry but he’s actually Thomas, and that could get confusing, so they decided on Rocky – much to my amusement, as I couldn’t be further from Rocky!
“For me, the hardest thing was keeping it a secret [so] it’s a relief that it’s come out, I want them all to know who he really is, and how the story will unfold. He’s always been charming and fun and nice but there’s never been anything more than that, so now to get this whirlwind of information as an audience, there’ll be a treat now to find out what he’s doing there, why he’s resorted to this, why this whole thing has gone on for so long.”
Conley continued: “He has been brought in by Dotty, who has given him all the back story to be able to convince Sonia that he is her father, to fleece her of the money from Dot. However as he goes on he feels more strongly that this is his world now and he doesn’t want to give it up.
“He’s gone in with his bravado thinking yes I can handle this, let’s get all this money, but as the weeks and months have gone on he very much realises now that this is his home, this is his family. It’s very well-written, I’m really excited for people to see it.
On the dynamic between Rocky and Dotty, he said: “Obviously she is much younger but I think she does have a power over him. She is the one that brought him in, she’s the one that gave him all the information to be able to con Sonia, so he feels very much under her thumb.
“I feel that he is frustrated with her and he is frustrated with her manipulating him. He knows that she can dish out the dirt to everyone so for him it’s like he’s got to play this game but he knows he shouldn’t. He’s in too deep now.”
Conley added: “I just really hope it has come out of left-field for everyone and is a big surprise. That’s what you need in a soap, you need these moments where people go – oh my God. I hope that it was an ‘oh my God’ moment because it was for everyone in the studio that day.”