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–)
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, known by her stage name Laila Morse (born 1 August 1945), is an English actress. Her best known roles include Janet in drama film Nil by Mouth (1997) and Mo Harris in BBC One soap opera EastEnders.

Personal life[edit]

Morse was married to Gerald Bromfield from 1963 to 1970 and they had two children, Gerry and Tracy Bromfield.[1][better source needed]

Morse is a breast cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with the illness in May 2001 and recovered within a year. She lives in New Cross, South East London, England.

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.[2]

In August 2013, Morse was declared bankrupt.[3]

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".[4]

Acting career[edit]

Morse rose to fame when she was fifty-one when her first film Nil by Mouth was released in 1997. The BAFTA winning film also marked the debut of her brother Gary, as a writer and producer. Morse's performance as the matriarch won her the award of 'Most Promising Newcomer in any Category' at the British Independent Film Awards.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

In December 2012, Morse made her pantomime debut as the Fairy in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk.[10]

In 2014, Morse portrayed the role of Cynthia in the film The Ninth Cloud, starring Michael Madsen and Leo Gregory. The film was released on DVD in the UK.[11]

In 2019, Morse appeared as an BPRD employee in Hellboy.[citation needed]

Other projects[edit]

On 19 February 2010, Morse appeared on The Weakest Link in a special EastEnders edition, with Adam Woodyatt, Laurie Brett, Larry Lamb, Todd Carty, Ricky Groves, John Partridge, Charlie G. Hawkins and John Altman. She lost in the final round to Laurie Brett.

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.[12]

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.

In March 2014, Morse began performing DJ sets at nightclubs around the UK. Billed as "Crazy, funny, party evenings" and marketed under her "Big Mo" character, starting with a performance at AlphaBEATs in Canterbury on 26 March.[citation needed]

In June 2016, it was revealed that she would be taking part in the next series of Celebrity Masterchef.[13]


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– EastEnders Mo Harris
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
TV guest appearances


Year Award ceremony Category Outcome
1998 British Independent Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer Won


  1. ^ "FreeBMD Entry Info".
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "EastEnders cast Big Mo actress Laila Morse name has hidden meaning | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV |".
  5. ^ "Laila Morse – Awards". Internet Movie Database. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  6. ^ "EastEnders – Mo Harris". BBC One. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Sandwell, Ian (13 June 2017). "EastEnders' Big Mo says "all the fun is gone" from show". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Big Fat Gypsy Gangster (2011)". Internet Movie Database. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Specials – Croydon Park Hotel – Croydon, Surrey – Between Gatwick & London". Croydon Park Hotel. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  11. ^ "The Ninth Cloud (2014)". Internet Movie Database. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "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.

External links[edit]