BBC says ‘no truth’ to Brian Conley feud rumours as star confirms EastEnders exit

The BBC has confirmed Brian Conley is leaving its popular soap EastEnders, while denying reports that his departure is linked to a “feud” with its executives.

Conley, 62, has played the role of Tom “Rocky” Cotton (formerly Terry Cant) on the show since he first arrived at Albert Square in May 2021.

On Tuesday, it was reported Conley was asking to be written off the show following a rumoured row with BBC bosses. The British broadcaster has said “there is absolutely no truth” to these claims.

“We can confirm that Brian Conley will be leaving EastEnders,” a spokesperson for the show told The Independent. “There is absolutely no truth in any claims of a feud with bosses and the show fully support Brian in his decision to leave, which was made some time ago.

“We wish him the best of luck for the future as we continue to work towards his exit storyline which has been in the works for some time.”

Conley also confirmed he had made the “tough decision” to exit EastEnders while refuting rumours he had “clashed with TV bosses and crew”, in a video statement posted on his Instagram account.

“You might have heard reports that I’m leaving EastEnders and it was a tough decision, but it is true. I am going,” he addressed the show’s fans.

“I made it for many reasons, that decision, and it is tough because they’re such a wonderful crowd – in front of the cameras and behind the cameras – and I’ve loved my three years there.”

“That’s the truth in the reports. There’s other parts of the reports saying I clashed with TV bosses and crew. I didn’t clash with anyone, I didn’t have a rant,” he continued. “They’re probably reporting this [message] now that I’m ranting about ranting, but I’m not ranting.

Teasing the show’s fans, he concluded: “I have gone with their blessings at the Beeb and I’m excited about the future... I’m also excited about Rocky’s exit ‘cause I know its good. I’m sending you much love.”

 (BBC/Jack Barnes)
(BBC/Jack Barnes)

It would also appear the show’s crucial Christmas storyline will not be derailed by Conley’s departure, as EastEnders viewers continue to theorise about the identity of the man who was found dead at the Old Vic.

In the flash-forward scene, the women of Walford, Denise (Diane Parish), Kathy (Gillian Taylforth), Linda (Kellie Bright), Sharon (Letitia Dean), Stacey (Lacey Turner) and Suki (Balvinder Sopal) are seen gathered around the dead body under a Christmas tree.

The BBC addressed speculation that the man will now be revealed as Rocky, in light of Conley’s impending exit, in a statement to Digital Spy.

“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,” a spokesperson said.

The actor previously described joining the show’s cast as“such an incredible moment for me”, adding that EastEnders was his father’s favourite show.

“As you can imagine being a Londoner and now being part of EastEnders is such an incredible moment for me,” Conley said. “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. I cannot wait to order my first pint at The Queen Vic.”