EastEnders Tony looking sinister; inset, Whitney (Credit: BBC/YouTube/Composite: ED!)

EastEnders’ Tony King: The vile grooming storyline revisited

Our low-down on the soap lowlife

Tony King is one of EastEnders most grotesque villains, remembered for the soap’s hard-hitting grooming storyline between 2008 – 2009. In this time, he was in a sexual relationship with underage stepdaughter Whitney Dean – leading to his subsequent trial and exit from the soap.

But who was Tony King? And how did he leave the soap?

Plus, all about the actor who played Tony King, and where else you might have seen him before – and since.

Read Entertainment Daily’s low-down on one of EastEnders’ most evil villains.

Tony talks to Whitney on EastEnders
Whitney was groomed by her stepfather, Tony King (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Who was Tony King on EastEnders?

Tony joined the soap in 2008, as the partner of Bianca Jackson. Bianca and Tony met during her time away from Walford.

He came to Walford after being released from prison, having served time for allegedly beating up a minor. He reunited with ex Bianca, and resumed their relationship from there.

Upon his return, he served as adoptive father to Morgan, and a father figure to Liam and Tiffany. It was then that he also reunited with Whitney Dean, Bianca’s daughter from a previous relationship.

Kind and caring on the outside, Tony was actually a paedophile – having been in a sexual relationship with Whitney from the age of 12 years old.

Tony stares intently at Lauren Branning on EastEnders
Tony set his sights on Lauren Branning next (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

After attacking Peter Beale in a fit of jealousy, Tony broke off his relationship with Whitney, his attraction waning since she was no longer a child.

After taking a job at a children’s community support centre, Tony began grooming Lauren Branning. Jealous, Whitney tried to convince Tony that they should run away together.

Rejected by Tony, Whitney revealed the relationship to mum Bianca. Horrified, Bianca confronted Tony – and realised that Whitney had been telling the truth.

Bianca then called the police, who subsequently arrested Tony.

Tony King on the phone in EastEnders
Tony continued trying to manipulate Whitney from prison (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

How did Tony leave EastEnders?

Tony was charged and put on trial for his crimes. He attempted to take his own life in a ploy to see Whitney.

However, his attempts to manipulate the situation failed, and he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his abuse of Whitney and other crimes.

Tony looking sad on EastEnders
Tony left Walford in the back of a police car… and later died behind bars (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

What happened to Tony King?

In 2013, Tony did take his own life after another failed attempt to manipulate whitney. His legacy lived on in the form of son Leo, who sought out Whitney in a campaign of revenge for his father’s death.

Whitney then killed Leo, stabbing him in an act of self-defence. However, Tony’s influence didn’t end there: as Whitney was kidnapped by Leo’s mother, now seeking revenge for her own son’s death.

However, Whitney managed to talk the grieving mum around, explaining what her son had done – and revealing Tony’s crimes.

Tony King talking to Max Branning on EastEnders
Actor Chris Coghill portrayed Tony on the soap (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Who played Tony King?

Tony was played by actor Chris Coghill. Chris was shortlisted as ‘villain of the year’ in 2009 and 2010 at the British Soap Awards for his role as Tony.

Outside of EastEnders, Chris has appeared in Shameless, The Bill and Waterloo Road.

His time in Walford may have been short lived, but his evil is unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon.

Read more: Complete EastEnders cast list for 2023 right here!

Eastenders: Tony and Whitney sleeping together aftermath… Tony puts a lock on Whitney’s door.

EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One

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Joel Harley
Freelance Writer