Brian Conley ‘cried’ after landing EastEnders role after career hiatus he’s ‘never experienced ‘

He’s set to join the cast of EastEnders as Sonia Fowler’s long-lost father Terry Cant. 

And Brian Conley has admitted that he burst into tears after hearing he landed the part in the iconic BBC soap after months of being out of work due to the coronavirus lockdown.

In a new interview in the Radio Times, the actor, 59, told how his new role made him ‘really appreciative of how lucky I am’ after being forced to take a career hiatus that he’s ‘never experienced before’.

Emotional: Brian Conley has admitted that he burst into tears after hearing he landed the part in the iconic BBC soap after months of being out of work due to the coronavirus lockdown

Emotional: Brian Conley has admitted that he burst into tears after hearing he landed the part in the iconic BBC soap after months of being out of work due to the coronavirus lockdown

Emotional: Brian Conley has admitted that he burst into tears after hearing he landed the part in the iconic BBC soap after months of being out of work due to the coronavirus lockdown

Speaking on how he felt after getting the phone call, he said: ‘Were it not for Covid, I’d have been touring with 9 to 5 the Musical. But instead, there was this career hiatus that I’d never experienced before – and I’ve had my Equity card since I was 12. So, I cried when they said I’d got the part. 

Discussing why he became so emotional, Brian explained that being on the soap meant a lot because it was his late father Colin’s ‘favourite show’, adding that his father, who died of bowel cancer, become ‘obsessed ‘ with the soap in the last six months of his life.

He added that proud Colin used to work as a prop man in production and while in charge of outside broadcast units at the BBC, he used to put Brian’s tour posters up on the wall, which were visible in the background of scenes.  

Grateful: In a new interview in the Radio Times , the actor, 59, told how his new role made him 'really appreciative of how lucky I am' after being forced to take a career hiatus that he's 'never experienced before'

Grateful: In a new interview in the Radio Times , the actor, 59, told how his new role made him 'really appreciative of how lucky I am' after being forced to take a career hiatus that he's 'never experienced before'

Grateful: In a new interview in the Radio Times , the actor, 59, told how his new role made him ‘really appreciative of how lucky I am’ after being forced to take a career hiatus that he’s ‘never experienced before’

Meanwhile, the veteran actor of stage and screen shared what it was like stepping onto the Albert Square set for the very first time. 

He said: ‘Initially, nerve-racking. Just standing by those back stairs in the Queen Vic where Dirty Den handed over the divorce papers… it’s iconic. I’m really appreciative of how lucky I am.’

His role will see him playing Sonia’s (Natalie Cassidy) long-long father Terry and Brian gave his thoughts on how he’d feel if Sonia’s mother Carol, played by Lindsey Coulson, would return to Walford. 

Big moment: 'There was this career hiatus that I¿d never experienced before ¿ and I¿ve had my Equity card since I was 12. So, I cried when they said I¿d got the part'

Big moment: 'There was this career hiatus that I¿d never experienced before ¿ and I¿ve had my Equity card since I was 12. So, I cried when they said I¿d got the part'

Big moment: ‘There was this career hiatus that I’d never experienced before – and I’ve had my Equity card since I was 12. So, I cried when they said I’d got the part’

Read more: Brian's interview is featured in this week's Radio Times (front cover pictured)

Read more: Brian's interview is featured in this week's Radio Times (front cover pictured)

Read more: Brian’s interview is featured in this week’s Radio Times (front cover pictured)

He mused: ‘Well, that’d be lovely. Let’s see how it pans out, eh? She’s an incredible actress and everyone talks about how lovely she is. So, yes, that’d be fun. But I have to say, it now really feels as though Natalie Cassidy is my daughter. She’s been so kind and encouraging.’

The star added that whole cast had been ‘premier league’ and that at times he sits back and watches and learns from them.  

It comes after Brian recently revealed that he got emotional while filming in the Queen Vic after seeing a prop taxi which reminded him of his late cab driver father Colin. 

Speaking about the moment in the pub, Brian told The Mirror: ‘I’m holding court, telling a few jokes, but I just look over and, I’m getting emotional now, on the shelf there is a little cab. 

‘And I just knew that was my dad, who was a cab driver. Of course, he’s gone, he went 20 years ago, but it was like, ‘You’ll be all right’.’ 

Brian joined the EastEnders cast back in February when bosses revealed he’d landed the role of Sonia’s father, and hoped the star could bring some Cockney charm back to the soap with his character. 

Big role: 'Initially, nerve-racking. Just standing by those back stairs in the Queen Vic where Dirty Den handed over the divorce papers¿ it¿s iconic. I¿m really appreciative of how lucky I am'

Big role: 'Initially, nerve-racking. Just standing by those back stairs in the Queen Vic where Dirty Den handed over the divorce papers¿ it¿s iconic. I¿m really appreciative of how lucky I am'

Big role: ‘Initially, nerve-racking. Just standing by those back stairs in the Queen Vic where Dirty Den handed over the divorce papers… it’s iconic. I’m really appreciative of how lucky I am’

Speaking about the role he said: ‘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.’ 

Learning curve: The star added that whole cast had been 'premier league' and that at times he sits back and watches and learns from them

Learning curve: The star added that whole cast had been 'premier league' and that at times he sits back and watches and learns from them

Learning curve: The star added that whole cast had been ‘premier league’ and that at times he sits back and watches and learns from them

The former host of The Brian Conley show added: ‘I cannot wait to order my first pint at The Queen Vic.’

Despite this, in 2012 he claimed he turned down a role in EastEnders twice because they were too rigid about him being able to do other work.

Speaking to The Daily Record, he said: ‘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.’

Proud: When his role was announced, Brian said: 'I know for sure my dad's looking down from above and saying: 'Good on yer son!'

Proud: When his role was announced, Brian said: 'I know for sure my dad's looking down from above and saying: 'Good on yer son!'

Proud: When his role was announced, Brian said: ‘I know for sure my dad’s looking down from above and saying: ‘Good on yer son!’

Sonia, who is played by Natalie Cassidy, first searched for her lost father’s name online last year when she was feeling lonely but without success.

Having given up hope of finding him, his arrival in Walford ‘will be a huge shock’, the BBC One soap said. 

It was previously reported that Brian took the EastEnders role after all of his corporate and acting work dried up during the Covid pandemic.

The Sun claimed that he could take home as much as £25,000 per corporate engagement and had been paid up to £120,000 for stints in high-end pantomimes.

Searching: Sonia, who is played by Natalie Cassidy, (pictured) first searched for her lost father's name online last year when she was feeling lonely, but without success

Searching: Sonia, who is played by Natalie Cassidy, (pictured) first searched for her lost father's name online last year when she was feeling lonely, but without success

Searching: Sonia, who is played by Natalie Cassidy, (pictured) first searched for her lost father’s name online last year when she was feeling lonely, but without success

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