Laila Morse will not be leaving role as Big Mo on 'EastEnders' permanently, despite reports

Watch: Laila Morse set for EastEnders departure

Big Mo actor Laila Morse will not be leaving EastEnders permanently and is instead simply taking another break from the show.

It had previously been reported that the 75-year-old soap stalwart would be leaving Walford in the spring, with writers currently hard at work on her exit storyline.

Morse has been a key part of the EastEnders cast for two decades and ranks as one of the most beloved characters in the history of the programme.

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However, a spokeswoman from the show told The Sun that her absence will not last forever.

She said: “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.”

Laila Morse as Big Mo in 'EastEnders'. (Credit: BBC)
Laila Morse as Big Mo in 'EastEnders'. (Credit: BBC)

Morse first appeared as Mo in 2000, but left the full-time cast in 2012 and made sporadic appearances until her departure in 2016.

She returned to the show permanently in 2018 and has portrayed the iconic market trader ever since.

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Big Mo was first introduced as part of the arrival of the Slater family, for whom she is the tough-talking matriarch.

The BBC’s head of drama Mal Young said at the time that there was a lack of “solid families” in the soap at the time and that the Slater clan embodied a more traditional family unit.

Laila Morse attending the British Soap Awards 2018. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
Laila Morse attending the British Soap Awards 2018. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ahead of her most recent return, Morse said in 2017 that her unusual trajectory on the show has meant she never got a proper farewell for either the character or herself.

She said: “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. I like all the cast, they're lovely people, so it would be good to film with them again."

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Away from Walford, Morse’s most memorable role is as Janet in the hard-hitting British drama Nil By Mouth, directed by Gary Oldman — her younger brother.

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