'Strictly The Real Full Monty' viewers praise 'brave' Laila Morse

Strictly The Real Full Monty star Laila Morse
(Image credit: ITV)

Strictly The Real Full Monty kicked off on Monday night and saw a group of celebrities taking on the challenge of performing a striptease routine in front of a live audience.

Everyone involved in the programme has had their lives touched by cancer in some way, so they're all taking part in the hope they can encourage viewers to check themselves for warning signs of cancer.

EastEnders legend Laila Morse, who plays Big Mo, was among those rehearsing the nerve-wracking routine which is choreographed by Diversity star Ashley Banjo

This cause is incredibly close to Laila's own heart, as she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, making a full recovery from the illness a year later. Laila credited friend and co-star Wendy Richards for telling her to go to the doctors to get it checked out in the early stages.

Speaking about her diagnosis, she revealed: "I did go to the doctors after she’d told me to and I did actually go in and have a lumpectomy so that’s how I know that I had cancer. If it wasn’t for Wendy then I don't think I would have been here today."

Sadly, Wendy also battled breast cancer and passed away in 2009, so Laila decided to take part in the programme in honour of her friend as well as due to her own personal experiences.

Fans watching the programme were quick to praise Laila for her openness and honesty, with many of them able to relate to it in some way.

Laila is joined by James and Ola Jordan, Duncan James, Christine McGuinness, Colin Jackson, Brenda Edwards, Martin Roberts, Teddy Soares, and Demi Jones for the performance, and they've all been sharing their own stories while rehearsing for the big night.

Christine McGuinness was also a hit among fans, who admired her honesty around her autism diagnosis and how it can sometimes make social situations difficult for her. 

During rehearsals, Christine explained: "I feel really silly for getting upset over the eye contact, I'm actually autistic. And eye contact is one of the things I really struggle with."

Next time, we'll see the celebrities doing the performance for real, in the second of the two-part special. But will they manage to keep their cool on stage in front of a live audience?

Strictly The Real Full Monty continues on ITV on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 9pm. Episodes are also available on ITV Hub

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Now she works for our sister site TechRadar in the same role. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress