Brian Conley to join EastEnders as Sonia Fowler's long-lost father

West End star Brian Conley, 59, set to join EastEnders as Sonia Fowler’s long-lost father in ‘shock’ arrival… after previously turning down a role in the soap TWICE

He is known for playing the lead roles in West End shows Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hairspray and A Christmas Carol.

And now Brian Conley is set to star in EastEnders as Sonia Fowler’s long-lost father in a ‘shock’ arrival to Albert Square.

The actor and West End star, 59, is joining the cast in the role of Terry Cant with his first scenes as Terry due to air later this spring – despite previously turning a role on the soap in the past. 

Newcomer: Brian Conley is set to star in EastEnders as Sonia Fowler’s long-lost father in a ‘shock’ arrival to Albert Square

Brian will begin filming his role as Sonia’s absent father next month and says he cannot wait to order his ‘first pint at The Queen Vic’.

Speaking about his new 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.’ 

Father figure: The actor and West End star, 59, is joining the cast in the role of Terry Cant with his first scenes as Terry due to air later this spring

Exciting: Brian will begin filming his role as Sonia’s absent father next month and says joining the cast is ‘an incredible moment’ for him

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 at the time, 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.’

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. 

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

Commenting on the new arrival to the cast, EastEnders’ executive producer Jon Sen said: ‘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.’ 

West End star: The actor is known for playing the lead roles in West End musicals Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hairspray as well as A Christmas Carol (Pictured as Scrooge in December 2020)

This comes just days after Natalie Cassidy confirmed her return to the BBC soap as she shared a series of snaps from the set.

The actress, 37, who plays Sonia Fowler, recently took an extended break from the show, with the character heading to India to visit her daughter Bex.

And Natalie took to Instagram to declare that ‘Sonia’s back’, as she documented her first day back in Albert Square.

She’s back: EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy, 37, confirmed her return to the BBC soap last Tuesday following extended break from the show

In one photo, Natalie beamed for a selfie as she sat in her car on her way to work, captioning the snap: ‘This smile is my ‘I AM GOING TO WORK’ smile.’

While another image sees her pose with a member of the EastEnders crew, with the two clad in face masks as the soap star stated that she ‘missed seeing’ her pal ‘each day’.

Later Natalie shared a short video as she got into her alter-ego’s clothes, donning a beige cardigan and a floral top.

 

Speaking into the camera, Natalie, who joined the soap in 1993, said: ‘She’s still got her cardigans, I’ve missed her.’

The TV personality also captioning the clip, saying: ‘Soon as I put a cardigan on Sonia’s back.’

In the soap, nurse Sonia was seen struggling to cope with the pressures of the pandemic, resulting her snapping at both her colleagues and patients.

Concerned about his worn-out pal, her colleague Ash Kaur suggested her took a break, with Sonia following his advice. 

Back together: She shared a series of snaps from the set, seeing her pose with a member of the EastEnders crew, stating she ‘missed seeing’ her pal ‘each day’ 

Speaking of Natalie’s break, an EastEnders source previously told The Sun: ‘Natalie like other actors on EastEnders was given a break for a few months.

‘In real time she is back filming in the next few weeks but on screen she will leave and be off for a few months because the show is filmed so far ahead. She’ll be back again early Spring.’

The added: ‘Giving actors on the show breaks is nothing unusual and when it’s a quieter period for their character, it makes more sense to rest the characters rather than them not doing much on set.’ 

Sonia’s back! Later Natalie shared a short video as she got into her alter-ego’s clothes, donning a beige cardigan and a floral top

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