EastEnders responds to claims of cast 'ban' ahead of 40th anniversary

Brian Conley reportedly quit EastEnders after being banned from taking part in pantomime next year, but the soap has categorically denied the claims.

The actor has even personally refuted accusations that there was any friction.

‘Now you may have heard reports that I am leaving EastEnders, and it was a tough decision but it is true – I am going, and I made the decision for many reasons,’ he shared.

‘It is tough because there’s such a wonderful crowd in front of the camera and behind, and I loved my three years there. As to truths in the reports, there are parts saying I clashed with TV bosses and the crews, I didn’t clash with anyone or go on a rant.’

Despite his denial of any disagreements, some reports suggest that he was made to decide between taking part in the pantomime circuit as Buttons in Cinderella, which allegedly earns him a six-figure sum, in 2024 and EastEnders.

This is due to the BBC soap already making preparations to mark its landmark anniversary in February 2025, claims The Sun.

An official spokesperson for EastEnders told Metro.co.uk: ‘EastEnders cast take part in panto every year, but as we lead up to our milestone 40th anniversary, all cast members have been asked to be involved for storyline purposes – we’ve received no complaints, in fact, everyone has been supportive of the plan.’

‘As previously stated by Brian Conley earlier in the week, EastEnders are fully supportive of Brian’s decision to leave at the end of his contract, and we wish him the very best for the future,’ they concluded.

Speaking on This Morning, writer Sharon Marshall also confirmed that this was the case, saying that Brian was loved among the cast and crew of the BBC soap and that his exit had already been written.

‘He told us months back,’ She confirmed. ‘And we love him. We were only supposed to have him for three months, and we’ve ended up having him for [two] years because we didn’t want to let him go.’

Theories have already been flying around about how Rocky may leave Albert Square, with many wondering if his exit may be linked to the huge fire set to rip through the café this autumn, or the big Christmas murder teased in February’s flashforward episode.

Rocky’s relationship with Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) links him to both of these storylines, seeing as Kathy owns the café and is a central figure in the Christmas murder, being one of The Six.

Could Rocky’s exit see him fall victim to a tragic death?

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One and from 6am on BBC iPlayer.

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