Little Mo Mitchell

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Little Mo Mitchell
Little Mo Mitchell.jpg
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Kacey Ainsworth
Duration 2000–06
First appearance 18 September 2000
Last appearance 26 May 2006
Created by Tony Jordan
Introduced by John Yorke
Spin-off
appearances
EastEnders: Slaters In Detention (2003)
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Occupation Barmaid
Home Barnstaple

Maureen "Little Mo" Mitchell (previously Morgan and Slater) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Kacey Ainsworth from 18 September 2000 to 26 May 2006.

Storylines[edit]

The first love of Little Mo's life is Trevor Morgan (Alex Ferns), but his severe mood swings and physical and emotional violence ruin their marriage; when she tries to leave, he always manipulates her into staying. He also isolates her from her family, who despise him. She always forgives him and even agrees to start a family. But when he rapes her for buying a hat to wear to her sister Lynne Hobbs' (Elaine Lordan) wedding after he'd forbidden her to attend, she realizes she cannot bring a child into such an environment and goes back on the pill. She finally leaves Trevor when she discovers he had deleted a message from Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan), who has run away from home. On New Year's Eve 2001, timid "doormat" Little Mo attacks Trevor, hitting him repeatedly with an iron when he attacks her. She goes home thinking he is dead, but when she and her sisters return to the scene, he is gone. Little Mo is prosecuted and found guilty of attempted murder but is released after Trevor does a deal with the Slaters: he won't give evidence against Mo if her sister, Kat (Jessie Wallace) doesn't press charges for him assaulting her.

After Little Mo moves out and threatens to divorce Trevor, he terrorizes her and takes her and Sean, the baby son he'd had with Donna Andrews (Paula Jennings), hostage in the Slater home, which catches fire. Fireman Tom Banks (Colm Ó Maonlaí) saves Little Mo and Sean. He goes back for Trevor but the fire explodes a can of petrol Trevor had brought into the house. Tom and Trevor die in the explosion.

Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) and Little Mo bond over their respective abusive pasts. They become friends while Little Mo is married to Trevor and start dating after she is released from prison. Billy reveals his feelings during Trevor's trial when Mo admits that part of her reason for staying with Trevor was that he was the only man who ever noticed her that way. Trevor does his best to wreck things but Billy proposes by spelling out "MARRY ME" in alphabet macaroni and she accepts. After Trevor's demise, the pair marry on Christmas Day 2002.

Little Mo fights back (2001)

Late one night shortly before their first wedding anniversary, Little Mo is raped by Charlie's darts buddy, Graham Foster (Alex McSweeney), in The Queen Victoria public house. When she tells her family, Charlie attacks Graham. Little Mo gets tested for STIs after reporting him to the police. All the tests come back negative except one: she is pregnant. The Slaters and Billy are shocked and disgusted when she insists on keeping the baby, claiming it shouldn't be punished for its father's crimes, and she and Billy separate. She leaves the Square, returning for Graham's trial. She tells Billy she has named her son Frederick William (Freddie for short), wanting to name him after good men. She and Billy reconcile after Graham's conviction, but Billy struggles to bond with Freddie as he cannot look at him without seeing Graham.

Little Mo and Freddie move then in with her family. She and brother-in-law Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) become much closer following their respective separations but they separate when Mo discovers Alfie is dating Kat behind her back. Alfie and Kat reconcile and leave the Square. Around February 2006, Little Mo is observed having difficulty with Freddie. She refuses to medicate him when he has trouble teething, so she has trouble getting him to sleep. Freddie's head is injured in a fight with Bobby Beale (Kevin Curran) so a health visitor visits the Slaters. Little Mo is extremely hostile, seeing this as a questioning of her parenting ability. She constantly takes Freddie to see Dr. Dr. Oliver Cousins (Tom Ellis), who moves her to another GP's patient list because he is interested in her romantically. They start dating in April 2006. Following her divorce, Little Mo and Oliver plan a night away in Brighton, but after a car crash caused by Deano Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) and Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley), she gets cold feet, telling Oliver that she cannot leave Freddie. On her return, she finds him unconscious. Freddie is rushed to hospital, where doctors find a head injury; Social Services suspect Little Mo. Thinking back, Little Mo realises Ben Mitchell (Charlie Jones) is responsible. She confronts him and shakes him violently when he denies hurting him. Little Mo tries convincing people that Ben had caused Freddie's injury but no one believes her, not even her own father. Charlie soon realises his mistake and begs her forgiveness for doubting her. After extensive tests, the doctors discover Freddie has a low platelet count due to an infection, meaning that any minor injury can have serious complications as his blood doesn't clot properly. Little Mo is cleared by the authorities but local residents still think she is responsible. Knowing she will always be suspected, she decides to leave. Feeling guilty, Ben Mitchell finally told his dad, Phil (Steve McFadden) that he had hit Freddie as Freddie pulled at his hearing aid. Little Mo isn't sure what to do but decides not to tell the authorities. Phil threatens Mo but she tells him she is quite capable of deciding for herself. Oliver tries convincing her to report Ben but she refuses, leading to a nasty scene in the pub when Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) calls Little Mo a child beater. Oliver defends Little Mo and tells everyone that Ben has confessed to Phil and Little Mo, but Little Mo is angry that he didn't respect her decision.

Little Mo prepares to leave for Barnstaple; at the station, Oliver asks her to move to Leeds with him. Little Mo declines, saying that all her life she'd done just what she was told, and now she finally wants to break away from being "Little Mo." She gives him one last kiss and leaves, saying she will keep in touch and visit him in Leeds. As she leaves Walford she smiles at Freddie and says, "It's just you and me now."

Creation and development[edit]

Kacey Ainsworth (pictured in 2011) played Little Mo from 2000–06.

Casting[edit]

In January 2000, Ainsworth was one of thirty actresses who auditioned for the role of Little Mo. The character was created as part of the new Slater Family.[1] In 2004 Ainsworth took extended leave from the serial.[2] In 2006 Ainsworth announced her decision to leave the serial after six years in order to pursue other projects, she spoke about how much she loved playing Little Mo, but knew there was life outside of the serial.[3] In 2010 Ainsworth revealed she would return to EastEnders if asked.[4]

Characterisation[edit]

BBC publicity describe Little Mo as being "timid" and the complete opposite of the loud wheeler-dealer grandmother for whom she was named. They also state: "With a big heart, she was also one of Walford's most legendary victims."[5] Virgin Media describe her as a "shy and retiring" type.[6]

Ainsworth later stated she was grateful for the support the character had received. She revealed that people still associate her with the character, adding that she was not embarrassed; it meant that she had made Little Mo memorable. She branded Little Mo "a lovely character" who was "a labour of love created over a long period of time.".[7]

Reception[edit]

In 2002 readers of OK! magazine voted Little Mo as their "top TV character" of the year.[8] For her portrayal of Little Mo, Ainsworth was nominated in the "Best Actress" category at the 2002 British Soap Awards.[9] Ainsworth won two "Best Actress" awards at the Inside Soap Awards and TV Quick Awards. She won the "Most Popular Actress" award at the National Television Awards.[1] While in 2005 she received another nomination for "Best Actress" at the British Soap Awards.[10]

Further, Little Mo is featured on Virgin Media's compilation of the all-time 'catfights' and praised for daring to take on her volatile sister Kat.[6] When the website compiled a list of the best-ever EastEnders moments, they chose Little Mo attacking Trevor with the iron, stating: "After years of abuse from her evil husband, viewers cheered when Little Mo finally put an end to their marriage."[11] Entertainment website Digital Spy also chose the moment Mo hit Trevor with the iron as one of their best ever Eastenders moments.[12] Little Mo was profiled in Karen Boyle's book "Media and violence: gendering the debates", which discussed her rape ordeal and her abuse by Trevor.[13] Upon watching Little Mo's early appearances, a columnist for Soaplife said that she had "Kath's Cafe written all over her. Either that or she could share a market stall - and maybe more - with Mark."[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Davies, Barbara (20 August 2003). "I hated my life..so I chucked it all in to get back into acting; Exclusive:Kacey Ainsworth's story... from Saatchi ad job to star of EastEnders". Daily Mirror. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Green, Kris (23 May 2004). "Another 'Eastenders' star gets the axe". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  3. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (15 April 2006). "Ainsworth speaks about leaving 'Enders". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  4. ^ Silverstein, Adam (9 April 2010). "Kacey Ainsworth: 'Little Mo could return'". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 21010-10-09. 
  5. ^ "Little Mo Mitchell played by Kacey Ainsworth". bbc.co.uk. (BBC). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  6. ^ a b "Soap's best catfights". Virgin Media. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (18 November 2009). "Ainsworth grateful for Little Mo support". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  8. ^ Randall, Tim (21 December 2002). "Soap gossip". Daily Record. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Welsh, James (16 May 2002). "British Soap Awards 2002: Nominations". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  10. ^ Berrett, Caroline (8 May 2005). "Soap baubles; Corrie beauty Nikki sparkles in pounds 100k gems". The People. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Best ever EastEnders moments: the shortlist". Virgin Media. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  12. ^ Green, Kris (15 February 2010). "'EastEnders' Moments: Little Mo, Trevor and The Iron". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  13. ^ Boyle, Karen (25 April 2008). Media and violence: gendering the debates. Sage Publications. pp. 167, 168, 169. ISBN 1-4129-0378-5. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  14. ^ "Charlie's army!". Soaplife (IPC Media) (14): 6, 7. 29 August 2000. 

External links[edit]