Actor and comedian Brian Conley is reportedly leaving his EastEnders role as Tom "Rocky" Cotton.


A report from The Sun has claimed that Conley has unexpectedly quit the role of loveable rogue Rocky and has suggested that his abrupt exit from the BBC One soap - which recently won Best Soap at the British Soap Awards and the Best Continuing Drama award at the National Television Awards - may impact the upcoming Christmas storyline which will see six women surrounding a mystery man's dead body on Christmas Day.

When approached the BBC for comment on this report, the broadcaster did not confirm or deny the report and replied: "There are many rumours and theories circulating about whose body is under the Christmas tree but, to not spoil the drama for the audience, we will not be commenting on any speculation."

Regardless of whether Conley will be departing the soap for good, the actor and comedian will be continuing his long-running tradition of pantomime roles in Cinderella at the Milton Keynes Theatre this festive season.

So, whatever happens, we can expect Rocky to be absent from the soap for a time at the very least - but will it be for good?

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Speaking on Steph's Packed Lunch earlier this year about the chances Rocky could end up dead, Conley said: "You're in an ongoing drama so you know people do pass away and you do live on tenterhooks, especially if you’re enjoying it and we all are, they’re a lovely bunch, everyone there."

He added: "I'm very happy to be there and I just think what we're doing now and the fact that it’s the number one soap is very exciting."

Conley made his debut on the BBC One soap in 2021, being introduced as Terry "Rocky" Cant, the supposed biological father of long-established character Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy).

However, it was subsequently revealed that Rocky was actually Tom Cotton, the half-uncle of Kirsty "Dotty" Cotton (Milly Zero) who asked him to come to the Square to financially con Sonia.

Brian Conley for his arrival in EastEnders.
Brian Conley for his arrival in EastEnders in 2021. BBC

Subsequent storylines saw Rocky exposed to Sonia and his love interest Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) during Christmas 2021 but he eventually managed to repair his relationships with both, having truly begun to care for them.

This year, Rocky and Kathy finally tied the knot only to be confronted once again by his first wife Jo Cotton (Vicki Michelle) who later revealed that she and Rocky had not got divorced as she suggested and he had committed bigamy by marrying Kathy.

At present, Rocky and Kathy have been ousted from their previous home by her son Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) who has also prevented her sale plans for the chippy to pay off a loan she got to stop a blackmailing Jo who had threatened to report Rocky for bigamy.

Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale, Brian Conley as Rocky Cotton and Vicki Michelle as Jo Cotton for EastEnders.
Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale, Brian Conley as Rocky Cotton and Vicki Michelle as Jo Cotton for EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Reports have suggested that Kathy's Cafe will face a fiery disaster later this year. Could this be linked to a way to pay off Jo? Also, could this story now result in Rocky's exit?

There also remains the small matter of who Jo has mysteriously been calling amid her schemes against Rocky and Kathy.

Kathy is also one of 'The Six' women on Christmas Day who will be standing over a dead body. Could it be Rocky?

It seems the mystery will continue as to just how the latest story for Rocky and Kathy will go...

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EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and from 6am on BBC iPlayer. Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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