Laila Morse

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Laila Morse
File:Laila Morse.jpg
Morse in 2009 at Wendy Richard's funeral service
Born Maureen Oldman
(1945-08-01) 1 August 1945 (age 73)
Dorking, Surrey, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1995–present
Television EastEnders (2000–)
Dancing On Ice (2012)
I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! (2013)
Spouse(s) Gerald Bromfield
(1962–1970) (divorced)
Children Gerry Bromfield
Tracy Bromfield
Relatives Gary Oldman (brother)
Jackie Oldman (sister)

Maureen "Mo" Oldman, known by her stage name Laila Morse (born 1 August 1945) is an English actress. She is best known for playing the role of Mo Harris in BBC soap opera EastEnders since 2000.

Personal life

Morse was married to Gerald Bromfield from 1962 to 1970 and they had two children, Gerry and Tracy Bromfield.[citation 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 2008, two men called Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer attempted to burgle her home, just hours before they murdered two French students at a nearby address.[1]

Acting career

Morse found fame relatively late in life. She was fifty-two when her first film Nil by Mouth was released in 1997. The BAFTA winning film marked the début of her brother Gary Oldman 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.[2] Although she had no formal acting training, Morse had a natural quality that she brought to the screen, and further roles were forthcoming.

Morse's first job on television was in The Bill for two episodes, which was followed by a regular role as Honky Mum in the BBC comedy series Honky Sausages, and the character Molly in the 1999 TV production of Great Expectations, which starred Ioan Gruffudd and Charlotte Rampling.[3]

In 2000, Morse played Laila in the hit film Love, Honour and Obey, where she co-starred with Sadie Frost, Jonny Lee Miller, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Sean Pertwee, Denise Van Outen and Kathy Burke, who had been her co-star in Nil by Mouth. In the same year, she made her first appearance as Mo Harris in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Morse later admitted to being terrified when she was offered the part.

Morse's 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 before she started to feel comfortable on set.[4]

Later career

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 2011, Morse made a return to the movies when she appeared as Aunt Queenie in the film Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, written, produced and starring Ricky Grover.[5]

In January 2012, Morse took part in the seventh series of ITV celebrity edition skating show Dancing On Ice.[6] 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.[7]

In December 2012, Morse made her pantomime début as the Fairy in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk.[8]

In August 2013, Morse was declared bankrupt.[9]

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.[10]

Morse has recently filmed a part in the film The Ninth Cloud, starring Michael Madsen and Leo Gregory. The film has been released on DVD in the UK.[11]


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
Year Title Role
1995 Honky Sausages Honky Mum
1997 The Bill Janice Ryan
1999 Great Expectations Molly
2000— 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! Herself
TV guest appearances


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


  1. "French student murders: Accused tried to break into EastEnders Mo’s home". Daily Mirror. London: Trinity Mirror. 13 May 2009. ISSN 9975-9950. OCLC 223228477. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  2. "Laila Morse - Awards". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  3. "EastEnders - Mo Harris". BBC One. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  4. 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". Mirror Online. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  5. "Big Fat Gypsy Gangster (2011)". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  6. Bull, Sarah (17 October 2011). "Getting their skates on! Jennifer Ellison, Heidi Range and Sadie Frost hit the rink ahead of next year's Dancing On Ice". Mail Online. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  7. 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 Online. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  8. "Specials - Croydon Park Hotel - Croydon, Surrey - Between Gatwick & London". Croydon Park Hotel. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  9. "EastEnders' Big Mo, otherwise known as Laila Morse, declared bankrupt". The Independent. London: INM. 21 August 2013. ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  10. "Big Mo's 'E'ast 'E'nd 'E'xtravaganza @ alphaBEATs Canterbury". Facebook. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  11. "The Ninth Cloud (2014)". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 

External links