Brian is the second husband of Pat Harris. He only appears twice on-screen, but the character's history is heavily intertwined with several other key characters within the series, and he is mentioned regularly for the first three to four years. The character is involved in one of EastEnders most complicated storylines, the paternity of Simon Wicks.
Brian began an affair with Pat in the 1960s, while she was still married to her first husband, Pete Beale. During this time Pat became pregnant with her second son Simon, and claimed that Pete was the father. At the same time, she was also seeing Brian Wicks, who could actually have been Simon's biological father. When Pat and Pete eventually divorced, Pat latched on to Brian. They married in 1966 and Brian adopted Simon, and Pat's older child David. David was Pete Beale's biological child, and due to seeing Pat around the time Simon was concieved, Brian was actually Simon's father, but was unaware of this and assumed Pete was his father. Anyway, both boys took on Brian's surname. They moved from Walford to Romford in the 1970s, after his eldest stepson, David, was beaten up by Derek Branning, for getting his sister Carol Jackson pregnant resulting in the birth of David and Carol's daughter, Bianca Butcher.
Brian was mostly absent and used to beat Pat and her children, so she eventually left him in 1986 and returns Walford. Pat causes havoc by revealing to Simon that Pete is not his father. Several other men are put in the frame, including Brian, Den Watts, Frank Butcher and Pete's brother Kenny Beale. Furious rows erupt between all concerned, but Pat ominously refuses to divulge the father's true identity.
Brian first appears in April 1988. He has been informed that Pat has settled down with Frank Butcher, and is running The Queen Vic pub. Brian is interested in Pat's monetary affairs and their brief reunion is not pleasant. After calling Pat a slag and almost getting into a fight with Frank, Brian leaves. It isn't until Lou Beale died in July 1988 that Pat finally reveals that Simon's father is Brian, after Lou tells Pat to put Simon out of his misery. Pat was never 100% sure but was 99% sure it was Brian. Simon and Brian never appear on-screen together, although later plots imply that they do correspond with each other, despite Simon (who left Walford in December 1990) claiming regularly that he hates him.
Aside from this plot, Brian continues to remain a menacing off-screen presence, continuously pestering Pat for money. Brian isn't seen again until May 1989. Pat has decided that she wants to marry Frank, and in order to do this she needs to divorce Brian. She meets Brian and asks for the divorce, but he makes it clear that he will only divorce her if she gives him either £1000 or one of Frank's cars as pay-off. Pat has no choice but to get Brian the car. She deceives Frank by claiming that her aunt Mabel's car has been written off and asks if he can provide one for her. Frank agrees to get her the car free of charge. He manages to get hold of a mini, and Pat telephones Brian to tell him of her success. Although he is slightly annoyed that the car he is getting is only a mini, he nevertheless agrees to give Pat a divorce.
In 1988, Pat told Simon she thought Brian was his real father, as she had never gone the whole hog with Kenny or Den. Unless Pete Beale was the father after all, it is beyond reasonable doubt that Brian was Simon's genetic father.