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|“||"People won't understand what it is that we've got, they won't understand our love! They'll say I've committed a crime, I'll go back to prison, I'll go away for 20 years! We'll never see each other again, I'll be an old man...... so you just look her in the eye and you lie!"||„|
|~ Tony's quote as he attempts to get Whitney to lie to Bianca about their relationship, which instead causes Bianca to discover Tony's nature as a paedophile who has been sexually abusing Whitney all along.|
Tony King is a fictional character major antagonist in the BBC British soap opera drama EastEnders who appeared from 12 September 2008 to 18 December 2009. He served as a supporting antagonist in 2008 and 2009, before becoming a posthumous antagonist in 2013 and then in between 2019-2020 altogether.
At first Tony started out as the new boyfriend of established character Bianca Jackson and a somewhat father figure to her children, but was revealed to be a pedophile who sexually abused her adopted daughter Whitney Dean for three years - since the latter was 12 years old. Tony was eventually arrested and jailed for his abuse towards Whitney before committing suicide off-screen in 2013.
He is portrayed by actor Chris Coghill.
Tony King first came to Walford after being released from prison for allegedly beating up a minor. He reunites with his old girlfriend Bianca Jackson and they make plans to start their relationship again. Tony is also the adopted father of Bianca's youngest child Morgan and is a father figure to both his brother Liam and their sister Tiffany as well.
He soon meets Bianca's adopted daughter Whitney Dean and it is revealed that she started a relationship with Tony three years ago. Tony resumes his sexual relationship with Whitney despite feeling less than interested at her more adult appearance. He insists to Whitney that she remove her make-up and jewellery in order to appear more attractive to him. He later becomes jealous of Whitney's schoolmate Peter Beale working with her in a school play and beats him up because of it. Peter's sister Lucy Beale nearly reports Tony to the police until Whitney convinces her not to do that. Tony deceives Whitney into believing they will run away and start a new life together when she turns sixteen. Whitney gives him money she has been keeping for his return and Tony later gives it to Bianca as a deposit for her house in a bid to cover up his secret. When Lucy tells Bianca about Tony attacking Peter and she later tells him off for the incident, he confronts Whitney for supposedly allowing Bianca to discover this and they argue. Tony then realizes that he is no longer attracted to Whitney after she tells him that she isn't a child anymore.
Tony begins grooming Whitney's best-friend Lauren Branning and feigns support over her mother Tanya Branning being put on trial for falsely running over Lauren's father Max Branning in a car. Whitney discovers what Tony has been doing and later books flights for her to run away with him once she turns 16. Tony attempts to foil her plan by stealing her passport, but it is later found and returned. He again confronts Whitney, but is shocked when she tells Bianca about her relationship with Tony. When Bianca confronts Tony over what Whitney just told her and he tries to pin the blame on her, she realizes that Tony has been sexually abusing Whitney and breaks up with him. She then calls the police and Tony is arrested while Bianca tells Whitney that Tony is a pedophile who has groomed and raped her since she was 12. Tony is later released on bail and visits Whitney in her house to try and convince her to not give a statement to the police. But Whitney refuses and Tony is rearrested for breaking his bail conditions.
Tony is eventually charged and put on trial. He attempts suicide, but this was a ploy to try and get Whitney to visit him in prison so that Tony can again try to convince her to not send him to jail. But Bianca discovers his plan and stops Whitney from visiting Tony by telling her that it is his form of manipulation. Tony repeatedly attempts to contact Whitney by phone, but after the first day of the trial, he flushes the SIM card down the toilet in his cell. Tony looks set to be acquitted when Whitney refuses to testify against him. Bianca attempts to change her mind by telling that Tony will target other children unless he is put in prison for good. Tony protests his innocence when Whitney is put on the stand. But Tony is shocked when Whitney proclaims that she trusted him and he abused her, finally revealing the extent of his predatory nature. Tony is later found guilty for abusing Whitney and other sexual-assault crimes he has been charged with and is sentenced to 13 years in prison.
In 2013, Tony commits suicide after failing to try and exploit Whitney once more. His death later impacts Whitney in the following years when his son Leo King appears and forges a relationship with Whitney in his campaign to avenge his father's death. But this fails when Whitney discovers who Leo is and she ends up killing him after trying to convince him of his father's evil nature to no avail. Whitney is then kidnapped by Leo's mother Michaela Turnbull as she embarks on a vendetta over her son's murder. But Whitney stops her by explaining how Leo spent his life living up like Tony and also learns that Michaela had previously been aware of Tony's pedophiliac character. Whitney then gets arrested for Leo's murder, but is ultimately released without charged thanks to the efforts of local lawyer Gray Atkins - her apparent friend. Since then, Whitney has appeared to moved on with her life and it all but implies that her prolonging ordeal with Tony is over at last.
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- Chris Coghill (the actor who played Tony King) was shortlisted for "Villain of the Year" at the 2009 and 2010 British Soap Awards respectively.