EastEnders star Laila Morse is leaving her role as Mo Harris in the soap.
The Daily Star states that the actress will bow out on screen around late spring in a storyline that is still being decided upon by the show’s creatives.
A source told the paper: “Laila is leaving the show. Her current contract is coming to an end and execs agreed this was a good time to write her out. It hasn’t been decided how Big Mo will leave. But it is unlikely to be too explosive and she definitely won’t die.”
Laila – real name Maureen Bass – made her first appearance as wheeler-dealer Mo, matriarch of the feisty Slater family in 2000.
Laila was given her acting break by her Hollywood star Gary Oldman, who cast her in his gritty flick ‘Nil By Mouth’
Mo’s backstory with Pat formed the basis of an EastEnders spin-off in 2004
Morse was a regular in the show until 2012, noting in a number of interviews thereafter that bosses had decided to reduce her role to ‘guest appearances’. She appeared in the soap until 2016 when these intermittent appearances finally petered out.
“All of a sudden my character disappeared and I wasn’t in it any more, but I’ve never officially left the show – I’ve never had a leaving party or a present. I hope Big Mo comes back,” Laila noted in 2017
Producer John Yorke – who created the Slaters with writer Tony Jordan – opted to bring the character of Mo back fulltime in 2018.
Popular with fans, she is typically used for light relief with her various dodgy scams going wrong. These have included running her own sex line and faking her granddaughter Kat’s death.
“Just like many occasions before, Big Mo will be departing Walford. But as always, she’ll no doubt be back in the not too distant future,” a spokeswoman for the show said.