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Tom Cotton, most commonly known as Rocky and falsey aliased as Terry Cant is a fictional character and major protagonist of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders. He appeared as a supporting antagonist turned anti-hero in 2021 and a supporting protagonist in 2022 onwards.
In his storyline, the man who first came to Walford as "Terry Cant" had initially appeared to be the long-lost father of Sonia Fowler and had also embarked on a relationship with her neighbour Kathy Beale. However, it is soon revealed that he is actually "Tom Cotton" and the brother of the late villainous Nick Cotton. It further transpired that Tom had been collaborating with his 'niece', Dotty, in a scheme to defraud Sonia from the inheritance that belonged to Nick's mother Dot. By the time this was exposed on Christmas Day 2021, it later emerged that Tom was actually Dotty's biological father.
The character is portrayed by Brian Conley.
Tom Cotton first came to Walford in May 2021 when he was tracked down by local resident Sonia Fowler, who had been trying to locate her long-lost father Terry Cant. During the COVID-19 panedemic last year in 2020, Sonia had sought to reconnect with her father and attempted to find him on genealogy websites to no avail.
When he first came to Walford, the man originally appeared to be "Terry Cant" had soon encounted Sonia when they crossed paths at a nightclub owned by businesswoman Ruby Allen. It was then Sonia noticed that the man was following her around, to which she responds by calling him a pervert before storming off to The Queen Victoria public house. When he arrived in the pub, the man claimed to be "Terry Cant" and thus making Sonia believe that he was her long-lost father. She initially wanted nothing to do with him, but eventually decided to give him a chance when he claimed to have loved her mother Carol Jackson and would've spent the rest of his life with her were it not for her other lover Alan Jackson being the one to marry her. Sonia comes to believe this as her mother had also been involved in past relationships with her "true" love David Wicks, and ex-fiance Dan Sullivan during her childhood.
As time went on, Tom's identity was revealed when he gets acquainted with Sonia's roommate Dotty Cotton and it discloses that the latter is related to him - as Tom is actually the brother of Dotty's late villainous father Nick Cotton and who also had a past fling with her estranged mother Sandy Gibson. It soon transpired that Tom and Dotty are planning to defraud Sonia from the inheritance that belonged to Nick's beloved mother Dot, who had entursted Sonia to look after her possessions due to their growing friendship over the years. By then, however, Tom is starting to have doubts in going through with Dotty's plan due to his growing closeness with Sonia - with whom he has formed a surrogate father-daughter relationship with even though she remains oblivious to his true identity. Furthermore, he has started dating Sonia's neighbour Kathy Beale and thw two have proceeded to embark on a relationship together. He has also struck close friendship with local publican Mick Carter and his punters after the pair were acquainted with legendary football manager Harry Redknapp.
Soon enough, Tom is rushed to hospital after he collapses from a heart attack. Sonia and Kathy visit him to ensure he is okay, with Dotty joining them under the guise of supporting them. When she is alone with Tom, however, Dotty wishes to know how they can continue with their plan. It is then Tom begins to take control of the situation when Dotty begins to have doubts off her own, whereas Tom persists on going through with their scheme. On Christmas Day when both join Sonia and Kathy for dinner, Sandy turns up and begins causing trouble until Tom forces her to leave. Dotty then learns that Tom had left Sandy to die at one point when she suffered from a drug overdose and he never really cared for her. Outraged by this revelation, Dotty exposes the truth to Sonia and Kathy by revealing Tom's true identity and also their scheme to steal Dot's inheritance from Sonia. This ultimately causes Sonia and Kathy to disown Tom, whose true identity would later become public knowledge the following day.
Later on that night, Dotty confronts Sandy when the latter goes to leave Walford. Thereupon the two have an argument about each other and Tom. It is then Sandy makes a shocking revelation to Dotty - that Tom is not her uncle, he is actually Dotty's biological father and not Nick as she had originally believed. Dotty promptly questions her mother about this, but Sandy ignores her daughter before departing the square for good.
In 2022, Tom attempts to reconcile with Sonia to no avail. He does manage to gradually recoup his relationship with Kathy and also continues to get along well with the residents due to his charisma and charming personality. At one point Tom and Kathy end up getting locked in a car lot by fellow neighbour Jean Slater during the latter's mental breakdown. During that time, Kathy assures Tom that he is not the worst of her past relationships - noting that she had previously been raped by her former boss James Willmott-Brown; had formerly been married to the square's local hardman Phil Mitchell as well as giving birth to their son Ben in 1996; and had been subjugated to coercive control from her previous spouse Gavin Sullivan only a few years ago.
- Tom Cotton was born on 14 July 1961.
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