EastEnders fan favourite to make dramatic return to soap

Fiery matriarch of the Slater family will return to the soap this spring

Ellie Muir
Wednesday 28 February 2024 20:00 GMT
New Eastenders baby named after Charli XCX

Laila Morse will return permanently to her reprise her role as EastEnders character Big Mo Harris, it has been announced.

The 78-year-old actor is known for portraying the fiery matriarch of the Slater family in the BBC One soap from 2000 until she departed Albert Square in 2021.

Big Mo left to go on a cruise ship with her love interest “Fat Elvis” (Shenton Dixon), and has only returned to the square on a few occasions.

This time, she is back alongside her great-grandson Freddie Slater, played by Strictly’s Bobby Brazier, who is the on-screen son of Graham Foster (Alex McSweeney) and Maureen “Little Mo” Slater (Kacey Ainsworth).

Brazier joined EastEnders in 2022 and took a break from the soap while he competed on Strictly Come Dancing last year.

Morse said of her return: “I’m delighted to be coming home to Walford to bring Mo back to life.

EastEnders holds such a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to be reunited with my on-screen family, who are like my family, as well as old and new faces.”

She last appeared on screen in 2022 when she attended the wedding of Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace).

Laila Morse AKA ‘Big Mo’ on EastEnders (BBC )

As renowned schemer, Big Mo’s previous storylines involve her long-standing feud with Pat Butcher (Pam St Clement), stealing vegetables from the Walford allotments and helping Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) give birth to her daughter on Dot Branning’s (June Brown) sofa. Also – in one of her many attempts to make quick cash through questionable means – pretending that Kat had died.

Another standout moment was when Mo decided she would start selling hairspray. Unfortunately, a fire broke out at her house, causing an explosion and leaving Kat badly injured.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Morse goes by a stage name. Her real name is Mauren Oldman; she is the older sister of Oscar-winning Dark Knight actor and filmmaker Gary Oldman.

Chris Clenshaw, EastEnders executive producer, said the show was “absolutely delighted” to have Morse back on the soap.

“Although her time away from the Square has been short-lived, the Slater family has endured a huge amount of drama since she last appeared on screen and Mo’s return will be no different,” he added.

“We’re delighted to welcome Laila back permanently as she is thrust into the heart of the drama alongside great-grandson Freddie.”

There is no indication of why the characters are returning, but the soap teased “where Mo goes, trouble inevitably follows”.

Morse pictured in 2018 (PA)

A first look will air on the EastEnders TikTok channel of “Big Mo” and Freddie in her caravan, where she has been living since leaving Walford.

Morse is also known for competing on I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! and as an actor in the film Nil By Mouth, directed and written by her brother Oldman.

Filming is underway and Big Mo will be returning to screens in spring this year.

With additional reporting from PA.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in