Laila Morse

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Laila Morse
Laila Morse.jpg
Morse in 2009 at Wendy Richard's funeral service
Maureen Oldman

(1945-08-01) 1 August 1945 (age 75)
Years active1995–present
TelevisionEastEnders (2000–2016, 2018–2021)
Dancing on Ice (2012)
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (2013)
Gerald Bromfield
(m. 1963; div. 1970)
RelativesGary Oldman (brother)

Maureen Oldman (born 1 August 1945), known professionally as Laila Morse, is an English actress. Her roles include Janet in the drama film Nil by Mouth (1997) and Mo Harris in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.

Personal life[edit]

Laila's stage name "Laila Morse" was suggested to her by Italian actress Isabella Rossellini, while dating her brother, actor Gary Oldman. "Laila Morse" is an anagram of "mia sorella" which is Italian for "my sister".[1] Morse was married to Gerald Bromfield from 1963 to 1970 and they had two children, Gerry and Tracy Bromfield.[2]

Morse is a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with the illness in May 2001 and recovered within a year.[3]

During the evening of 29 June 2008, two men named Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer attempted to burgle her home, just hours before they committed the New Cross double murder.[4]

In August 2013, Morse was declared bankrupt.[5]

Acting career[edit]

At the age of 51, Morse made her professional acting debut in the 1997 film Nil by Mouth. The BAFTA winning film also marked the debut of her brother Gary, as a writer and director. Morse's performance as the matriarch won her the award of 'Most Promising Newcomer in any Category' at the British Independent Film Awards.[6]

Morse's television debut was in The Bill for two episodes, which was followed by a regular role as Honky Mum in the BBC sitcom Honky Sausages, and the character Molly in the 1999 television production of Great Expectations.[7] In 2000, Morse played Laila in the film Love, Honour and Obey.

In the same year, she made her first appearance as Mo Harris in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Her first scene in the BBC soap opera was with Pam St Clement, who played Pat Butcher. A couple of weeks later, a television critic said that Morse had acted like "a lump of cardboard". Recalling the article, Morse replied: "I daresay he was right! I was bloody petrified." She admitted that it was only three years later that she started to feel comfortable on set.[8] Morse temporarily left EastEnders in January 2016, after appearing on a recurring basis since July 2012. In June 2017, Morse expressed interest in returning to EastEnders as she felt that she never "officially left". In December 2017, it was announced that Morse would be returning to the show to play Mo.[9]

In 2011, Morse made a return to film when she appeared as Aunt Queenie in the film Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, written, produced and starring Ricky Grover.[10] In December 2012, Morse made her pantomime debut as the Fairy in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk.[11]

In 2019, Morse appeared as an BPRD employee in Hellboy.[12] In 2021, it was announced that Morse was leaving EastEnders when her contract ended.[13]

Other projects[edit]

In January 2012, Morse took part in the seventh series of ITV celebrity edition skating show Dancing on Ice.

She also published her autobiography Just A Mo which detailed her troubled love life, which included men who beat and betrayed her, and her love story to a man she knew and fell in love with again some twenty-five years later.[14]

In November 2013, Morse participated in the thirteenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! and was the second participant to be voted out of the series on 2 December.[15]

In June 2016, it was announced that she would be taking part in the BBC series of Celebrity Masterchef.[16] The series was won by Alexis Conran.[17]



Year Title Role
1997 Nil By Mouth Janet
1998 One in Something
2000 Love, Honour and Obey Laila
2011 Big Fat Gypsy Gangster Aunt Queenie
2019 Hellboy Employee


Year Title Role
1995 Honky Sausages Honky Mum
1997 The Bill Janice Ryan
1999 Great Expectations Molly
2000–2016, 2018–2021 EastEnders Mo Harris
2003 Slaters in Detention
2004 Pat and Mo
2009 Hell's Kitchen Herself
2010 EastEnders: E20 Mo Harris
2012 Dancing on Ice Herself
2013 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
2016 Celebrity Masterchef
Television guest appearances


Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1998 British Independent Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer Nil by Mouth Won [18]


  1. ^ "EastEnders cast Big Mo actress Laila Morse name has hidden meaning | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV |".
  2. ^ "EastEnders' Laila Morse tells of the men who have beaten and betrayed her throughout her life in new autobiography". Daily Record. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  3. ^ "EastEnders' Laila: 'Wendy Richard saved my life'". What's on TV. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  4. ^ "French student murders: Accused tried to break into EastEnders Mo's home". Daily Mirror. London. 13 May 2009. ISSN 9975-9950. OCLC 223228477. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  5. ^ "EastEnders' Big Mo, otherwise known as Laila Morse, declared bankrupt". The Independent. London. 21 August 2013. ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Laila Morse – Awards". Internet Movie Database. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  7. ^ "EastEnders – Mo Harris". BBC One. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  8. ^ Bletchly, Rachael (23 January 2013). "EastEnders Laila Morse: A TV critic said I acted like cardboard, it took 3 years before I felt comfortable in Albert Square". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  9. ^ Sandwell, Ian (13 June 2017). "EastEnders' Big Mo says "all the fun is gone" from show". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Big Fat Gypsy Gangster (2011)". Internet Movie Database. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Specials – Croydon Park Hotel – Croydon, Surrey – Between Gatwick & London". Croydon Park Hotel. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  12. ^ Deen, Sarah (19 December 2018). "Big Mo from EastEnders is in the new Hellboy movie and people are loving it". Metro (British newspaper). Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  13. ^ Hill, Rose (6 February 2021). "EastEnders' Laila Morse quits as Big Mo after 20 years on BBC soap". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  14. ^ Bletchly, Rachael (22 January 2013). "Laila Morse: EastEnders' Mo Harris on the men who beat and betrayed her and the one true love she found again". Mirror. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  15. ^ "I'm A Celebrity 2013: Former EastEnder Laila Morse voted out of the jungle". The Independent. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Who is on Celebrity MasterChef 2016 and when is it on TV? The full line-up revealed". The Daily Telegraph. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Celebrity MasterChef Winners". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Everything you need to know about EastEnders' Big Mo actress Laila Morse including her very famous brother". OK!. Retrieved 13 February 2021.

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