EastEnders star Brian Conley reveals why bosses called his character Rocky

Rocky is a name that drew some mirth from EastEnders fans – and we must admit that we didn’t exactly find it fitting either – but now that he has been revealed as Thomas Cotton and not Terry Cant, Brian Conley has explained the logic behind the name decision.

He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I was very aware when I started. I was fortunate enough to have it mapped out, we didn’t know his name or things like that, but it was one of the reasons that they always 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. Friends would go “Oh I love the fact that you’re a father.” Lots of people have commented on that and when I initially came on everyone was like “oh you’re Sonia’s dad”.

‘You want to go  – “yeah you just watch this space!” 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.’

Tom is clearly a wrong ‘un as he works with his niece Dotty (Milly Zero) to fleece Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy). But the actor insists that his alter ego isn’t an out and out villain and the Tom we have met over the past eight months isn’t all an act.

He explained: ‘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 ever resorted to violence. I just think he’s a cheeky ducking diving, bobbing, weaving – the cocky cockney Rocky.

‘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.’

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