EastEnders’ Laila Morse has revealed how co-star Wendy Richard saved her life from breast cancer.

Laila – who plays Big Mo in the soap – discovered a lump in her breast in 2001, but was too scared to confront the problem until Wendy, who played Pauline Fowler and had battled cancer herself, encouraged her to go to the doctor.

Laila revealed in her autobiography Just A Mo: My Story, serialised in the Daily Mirror: “Wendy frowned and told me I needed to get it checked. Stupidly I wanted to ignore it. When Wendy rang and asked how I got on, I lied and said it was fine. I could tell she didn’t believe me. So I went to the doctor, for Wendy. And as it turned out my lovely friend saved my life.”

Sadly Wendy died aged 65 in 2009 when the disease returned. Laila said: “I still miss my lovely friend every day.”

The 67-year-old single mum of two also revealed her secret battle to save her heroin-addict son.

Speaking about her 44-year-old son Gerry for the first time Laila revealed she was even reduced to driving Gerry to drug dens and buying him drugs, to stop him robbing and stealing.

And Laila also talks about her relationship with her brother, Hollywood star Gary Oldman.

She said: “People ask what it’s like to have such a famous brother. But he ain’t famous to us, he’s our Gal. It’s lovely to go and visit and he’s been really generous, but LA’s not my cup of tea. He’s not into all that red carpet ‘fame’ stuff either.”