IF you think the celebs who strip off for ITV’s The Real Full Monty are brave, wait until you hear about Laila Morse.
The EastEnders star was so determined to go through with the routine despite injuring her ankle hours just before that she peeled off on stage in a specially decorated wheelchair.
The actress — Albert Square’s no-nonsense “Big Mo” Harris — had refused to give up her place in the Strictly-themed show, fronted by Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo.
Laila — who at 76 is the oldest person to ever appear in the Full Monty show — revealed: “I sprained my ankle the morning before we filmed it. I went over on it during the final rehearsal, so I couldn’t do the dancing.
“I couldn’t really stand on it, so Ashley said I couldn’t take part. I said ‘But that’s what I’ve come to do. I’ll find some way to get on that stage’. So they came up with the idea of a wheelchair and decorated it with sparkly stuff. So I went on stage, I just couldn’t dance.
“When it came to the strip I sat there in my outfit with my feathers in the wheelchair and took my top off!”
Laila was joined on stage by Strictly professionals James and Ola Jordan, Blue frontman Duncan James and Christine McGuinness. Reality stars Demi Jones and Teddy Soares, Loose Women’s Brenda Edwards and Coleen Nolan, property show host Martin Roberts and Olympian Colin Jackson completed the line-up.
They did a cheeky strip at Blackpool theatre to raise awareness for cancer — and the audience loved it.
Laila said: “Everyone was cheering and screaming and shouting, it was fabulous. I was choked — it made me cry. It was wonderful and made me feel good that I’d done it. I take my clothes off when I’m on holiday, so I’m not bothered about showing anything off.”
See the performance on Strictly: The Real Full Monty, December 13 and 14 at 9pm on ITV.
Baywatch Donna is afraid of the sea
AS they bounced down the Malibu sands in skimpy red swimwear, the guys and girls of Baywatch brought a whole new kind of glamour to Nineties telly.
You’d have been tempted to fake an emergency just to have them rescue you. But you would have to choose your hero carefully, as one of the show’s leading ladies couldn’t swim.
And Donna D'Errico admits she only got the part of Donna Marco because David Hasselhoff pulled strings for her when she failed the swim test. The model, now 53, said: “To this day, I still can’t swim. I’m terrified of water. I can’t even tread water.”
Despite having to fight her fear every day, Donna knew the role was the opportunity of a lifetime. So she took swimming lessons to try to catch up with her sporty co-stars.
She went on: “You get to be part of the most-watched show in the world. And there I am, knowing full well that I cannot swim.
“It was supposed to be basic, not at all technical. But all I kept thinking was, ‘What on earth am I supposed to do?’ I was told, ‘Get in the pool and do a couple of laps to warm up’.
“I am holding on to the edge like a terrified child. And finally, David’s like, ‘Donna, get out of the pool. You can’t swim’. My initial reaction was, ‘Are you going to tell the producers? And he’s like, ‘Well, yeah, of course. This is a show about lifeguards!’
“I was so upset because I didn’t want to miss out. So I took swimming lessons with their main guy five times a week at five o’clock in the morning in that pool.” You’d have thought those red floatation aids would be enough.
A chance at Cash In The Attic
HRIS KAMARA is hunting for contestants for his reboot of Cash In The Attic.
The new version of the much-loved daytime treasure hunting show will air in 2022. You can apply to take part by emailing [email protected]
NEW LOOK FOR RYLAN
HE’S swapped his gleaming plastic smile for a more natural look, and dyed his hair a lighter shade.
And now Rylan Clark has joked the makeover is part of his “mid-life” crisis.
The new image comes after the presenter took four months away from the limelight following his marriage breakdown.
Chatting to Lorraine Kelly, he said: “I wasn’t good, I’m not gonna lie. You know I’m normally on telly every five minutes – I apologise you have to see my mug all the time.
“I had four months off, and it was needed. It’s been ten years now I’ve been doing this job, which is crazy.
“I’m going through a mid-life crisis, trying to dye my hair blonde, new teeth. The teeth are a lot smaller. I’m just trying to look after myself.”
A BERRY MERRY CRIMBO
IN her sparkly top, cookery queen Mary Berry is ready to be a fairy godmother this Christmas.
She’ll help three hapless cooks create a fantastic feast to surprise a loved one.
But even with her kitchen skills, Mary needs a helping hand. She has enlisted The One Show host Alex Jones and Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant as her festive elves.
All three will demonstrate techniques and help the novices get a series of divine dishes on the table.
A source said: “Let’s face it, Mary is the extra pair of hands we want when we’re trying to get the dinner on the table. Watching her help others is the next best thing.”
The one-off, hour-long BBC1 show might even help us at home learn a trick or two . . . which my family will be thrilled to learn! Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts is on December 20 at 7.05pm.
RACHEL: I WAS A NUTTER
SOMETIMES a story pops up that is so star-spangled it has to be told. And Countdown’s Rachel Riley has just such a tale, from the time she had a curry at Jimmy Carr's house.
At the time she was partnered with now-husband Pasha Kovalev on Strictly.
Rachel demonstrated their latest routine to the dinner guests, which included late genius scientist Stephen Hawking.
But things didn’t go smoothly for Rachel and her partner.
The telly maths ace said: “I’ve got it on video. It was at Jimmy Carr’s house. We went round for a curry. He was having a curry with Stephen Hawking, having been to a show.
“Because Stephen and his friends and family were big Strictly fans, they requested a sneak preview of the routine I’d only been doing for two days.
“I went down, bent my back all the way down, sprang back up as per the routine and – not per the routine – I accidentally followed through and headbutted Pasha.”
Namedrop or what?
SQUID’S INTO THE MILLIONS
TELLY ratings body Barb has become the first in the industry to include streaming in its stats.
It can now keep track of the total time households spend watching the likes of Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and even YouTube.
The new data reveals Korean drama Squid Game, which made global stars of Lee Jung-Jae and Jung-Ho-Yeon, is one of the UK’s most-watched shows.
But classic entertainment is still top dog.
With 10.4million viewers, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman's Strictly Come Dancing leads the way.
Squid Game peaked at 5.8million.
Holden's Xmas ready
LOOK away now if you’re stressed about Christmas, because Amanda Holden has already bought all her prezzies.
She said: “I’m very organised this year.”
The host will be kept busy with BBC One’s I Can See Your Voice Christmas special, airing on December 24 at 9.30pm.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?