Brian Conley

Last updated

Brian Conley
Brian Paul Conley

(1961-08-07) 7 August 1961 (age 60)
Paddington, London, England
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • singer
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Anne-Marie Conley
(m. 1996)
Website Official website

Brian Paul Conley (born 7 August 1961) is an English actor, comedian, singer and television presenter. Conley has been the host of The Brian Conley Show, as well as presenting the Royal Variety Performance on eight occasions. In his 40-year television career, he has starred in multiple award-winning television sitcoms including Time After Time and The Grimleys . In the West End, he has played the lead role in musicals such as Me and My Girl , Chitty Chitty Bang Bang , Hairspray , Oliver! , The Music Man , Barnum and Jolson for which he was nominated for a prestigious Laurence Olivier Award. As a musician, he has released five albums, including Brian Conley Sings, Let the Good Times Roll, and Stage to Stage. He has won numerous awards in his career including The National Television Award [1] for Most Popular Comedy Performer, Best Live Performer in Manchester Evening News and a British Comedy Award.


Since 2021, Conley has appeared as Thomas Cotton in BBC soap opera EastEnders .

Early life

Conley was born on 7 August 1961 in Paddington, London. His father was a taxi driver. [2] He was brought up in West London and studied Performing Arts at the Barbara Speake Stage School. [2] As a teenager, Conley had a few minor television appearances, including an advert for hot dogs and a small role in a 1977 episode of the science fiction series Survivors . [2] At the age of 16, by lying about his age, Conley started work as a Pontin's Bluecoat. [2]


Conley's first major showbusiness success was fronting a comedy showband called 'Tomfoolery, who performed in pubs and clubs across England and Wales, sometimes as a support act for artists such as Johnny Mathis and the Nolans. [2] The group broke up due to internal disputes when Conley was 19, but his work with the band led to him being talent spotted by agent Bob Voice. [2] As a result of this, Conley started working as a warm-up man for television personalities such as the Krankies, Kenny Everett and Terry Wogan. [2]

Conley's career was then advanced by TVS casting director Bill Hatterley, who secured him onscreen appearances on comedy shows such as Make Me Laugh (1982), The Laughter Show (1984–1985), Live from Her Majesty's (1984–87) and Five Alive (1987). [2] In 1989, with the support of London Weekend Television (LWT)'s light entertainment controller, Conley starred in his own comedy sketch show, Brian Conley: This Way Up . [2] This programme was popular, but not hugely successful. [2]

After two series of the show, Conley made his first appearance in the West End, playing the lead role of Bill Snibson in a production of Me and My Girl . [2]

In 1992, LWT offered him another opportunity to star in his own comedy programme, with The Brian Conley Show . At the suggestion of producer and director Nigel Lythgoe, this new show had a variety format rather than being purely sketches. [2] This different format proved popular, and the show became Britain's most-watched light entertainment programme. [2] Conley's next success was a sitcom entitled Time After Time, in which he played the lead role. The show was named Best ITV Sitcom at the 1994 British Comedy Awards.[ citation needed ]

He then went on to play the Doug 'Dynamo' Digby, starring opposite Amanda Holden, Nigel Planer and Noddy Holder in The Grimleys . He was also given An Audience with... .[ citation needed ]

Conley recorded a live show in 1996 titled Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous, which was televised and featured stand-up plus special Nick Frisby/Larry the Loafer and Dangerous Brian sketches. The show was put on VHS and later on DVD.[ citation needed ]

Around 2000, Conley was given a new show for ITV consisting of chat and music called, once again, The Brian Conley Show . The show lasted for three series. The show's guests included some major Hollywood names like Kathleen Turner and Leslie Nielsen.[ citation needed ]

Conley also worked at the BBC for a couple of shows. His first being We've Got Your Number , a game show part of a long series of National Lottery game shows. Conley would later return to the BBC to present Let Me Entertain You in 2006.[ citation needed ]

He has done much stage work, including the parts of Buttons in Cinderella and Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .[ citation needed ]

In 2006, Conley returned to television, hosting a daytime variety show called Let Me Entertain You , a Lion TV production for BBC Two where 13-year-old operatic baritone Matthew Crane was the first series champion. On 1 December of the same year, he appeared as a guest presenter on The New Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4, where Larry the Loafer made an appearance in the beginning, and Conley referred himself to "Dangerous Brian" as he was about to enter the "Tank of Doom" as part of a Bushtucker trial.[ citation needed ]

Later in 2007, Conley presented a second series of Let Me Entertain You on BBC Two, and presented a gameshow, Dirty Rotten Cheater for the BBC. Twenty shows were recorded in May at the Maidstone Studios in Kent.[ citation needed ]

Conley presented the Midweek Lottery show on BBC One in 2008. On 24 April 2008, Brian took over from ill presenter Paul O'Grady on The Paul O'Grady Show on Channel 4, where he starred once again as 'Dangerous Brian' and he contested against 'Nearly Dangerous Joyce'. Larry the Loafer also made an appearance. On 22 June 2008, Conley performed a cameo role in Last of the Summer Wine as "Boothroyd", Barry's fitness mad neighbour.[ citation needed ]

He appeared as part of Team Ant on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway , and took over from Michael Ball in the musical Hairspray playing the role of Edna Turnblad at London's Shaftesbury Theatre. He also played the same role in the UK Tour of Hairspray, sharing the role with Michael Ball and actor Michael Starke, at selected UK venues. He has also partaken in his own live show, "The Best of Brian Conley", which showcases 'the best' of Conley's material from his past shows, interspersed with occasional showreels of either Larry the Loafer, Dangerous Brian (depending on who Brian is about to come on stage as) or a generic showreel of his work. Like the Brian Conley Show, the stage show invites guests to perform on stage alongside Conley. In 2010, the show went on tour again, covering more areas of the country.[ citation needed ]

He then played Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh's Oliver! and also finished a West End run as Edna Turnblad in Olivier Award-winning Hairspray . His recent stage career has included lead roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang , The Music Man at the Chichester Festival, Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show (directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood) and Olivier Award-winning Jolson , in which he played Al Jolson.[ citation needed ]

On 7 November 2012, ITV confirmed that Conley would feature in the 2012 series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! . On 19 November 2012, Brian left the jungle on medical grounds. [3]

In April 2014, Conley was a contestant on CBBC's Driving Academy programme. In 2014, he hosted a game show for Challenge called Timeline and he presented two series of the daytime BBC show The TV That Made Me in 2015 and 2016.[ citation needed ]

On 18 August 2017, it was announced that Conley would be taking part in the fifteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing . [4] He was partnered with Welsh professional dancer Amy Dowden. [5] Conley and Dowden were voted off the show in Week 5 after their Jive to Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual". [6] In February 2021, it was announced that he would be joining the BBC soap opera EastEnders as series regular Terry Cant, the long-lost father of established character Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy). [7] [8]

Personal life

Conley married Anne-Marie on 4 August 1996, in a ceremony at a Stoke Poges chapel, Buckinghamshire.[ citation needed ] The couple have two daughters, Amy and Lucy. [9]

Film, television and theatre credits


As title star

As actor

As presenter

As guest/performer

Conley's appearances on chat shows include Aspel & Company (1993), This Morning (1993 & 2005), Open House with Gloria Hunniford (1998), The New Paul O'Grady Show (2005 & 2009), GMTV (2005), Breakfast (2008), The Alan Titchmarsh Show (2009), The One Show (2009), The 5 O'Clock Show (2010), The Michael Ball Show (2010) and Loose Women (2007–11, various episodes).

Additionally, Conley has appeared as a talking head on many compilation shows and documentaries including: The 100 Greatest Musicals (2003), Bob Monkhouse's Comedy Heroes (2004), Who Killed Saturday Night TV? (2004), The Story of Light Entertainment (2006), 100 Greatest Stand-Ups (2007), 50 Greatest Comedy Catchphrases (2008) and The Nolans: In the Mood for Dancing (2009).



Pantomime appearances

2021-2022-Cinderella(as Buttons)Southend Cliffs Pavilion

Other roles



Awards and nominations


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  1. Awards, National Television. "Winners | National Television Awards". Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Leedham, Robert (31 October 1993). "The laugh of Brian: Brian Conley". The Sunday Times .
  3. "Celebrities | I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  4. Reporters, Telegraph (18 August 2017). "Strictly Come Dancing: comedian Brian Conley joins line-up". Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  5. "Strictly Come Dancing – Amy Dowden". BBC. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  6. Bagwell, Matt (23 October 2017). "Strictly Come Dancing': Brian Conley Is The Fourth Celeb To Leave The Competition". Huffington Post . Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  7. Kitson, Calli (15 February 2021). "EastEnders spoilers: Brian Conley cast as Sonia Fowler's long-lost father Terry Cant". Metro . Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  8. Dainty, Sophie. "EastEnders casts Brian Conley as Sonia's dad Terry Cant". Digital Spy . Hearst Magazines UK . Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  9. "Lucy Conley Photostream". Retrieved 31 July 2020.