EastEnders sign Brian Conley as Sonia’s long lost father – despite insisting he’d never do the soap

BRIAN Conley has joined the cast of EastEnders, despite previously insisting the soap would stop him from taking on lucrative gigs.

The stage and screen star, 59, will join Albert Square as Sonia’s long lost father Terry Cant, having previously said he had turned down the BBC1 soap twice.

Brian, whose first scenes will air this spring, said in 2012: “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."

But speaking about his new role, he said today: “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. I cannot wait to order my first pint at The Queen Vic.”

His character's entrance to Walford comes after Sonia searched for her lost father online last year.

But having failed to find him, his arrival will prove a shock.

Strict BBC rules mean stars are limited to what work they can take on outside of their contracts.

He has seen many of his work commitments dry up in the past year, having spent years in stage shows.

A West End production of A Christmas Carol in which he played Scrooge was cancelled after just a handful of performances in December due to tighter restrictions coming into force.

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