Laurie Brett

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Laurie Brett

Post by HiJo on Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:07 am

Time stood still when mum told me she had cancer, reveals Scots EastEnders star Laurie Brett
Sep 16 2008 By Lisa Adams

TIME stood still for EastEnders star Laurie Brett in the heart-stopping moment she heard her mum Anne had breast cancer.

In an instant, everything Scots-born Laurie had achieved in her successful showbiz career meant nothing.

On the end of a crackling phone line in London, 400 miles from the woman in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, who meant more to her than anyone in the world, she could only listen in horrified silence.

Laurie, 38, who plays Ian Beale's down-trodden wife Jane in Albert Square, said: "What is the right way to say 'I've got cancer'?

"Face to face, on the phone, no matter how it occurs, it's devastating. For me, it was like everything stood still.

"It felt like I was in a bubble cut off from all around me. I was on the phone in the hallway. There were people going past me, shouting and laughing.

"It was out of nowhere. You know what Scottish mums are like.

"She was facing the fiercest fight of her life and she didn't want to worry me. It was frightening."

Statistics reveal breast cancer is rising. One in nine women will develop the disease and 3500 Scots are diagnosed every year. The good news is that survival rates are improving.

A winning combination of new treatments, earlier detection and better awareness of warning signs means more lives than ever are being saved.

Today, ahead of the UK's 14th Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which kicks off in October, Laurie explains how first-class treatment and unflinching support from family got her 59-year-old mum through the darkest months of her life.

"I'm a great believer in positive thinking," said Laurie.

"It doesn't cure anything, but positivity is like laughter. If one person laughs, it sets everyone else off, too.

"Mum and I are very close. We're like best mates. I needed my mum to survive. I wasn't pretending. I couldn't entertain the thought she might not.

"In many diseases, it's the person who has got it who is often the strongest and that was my lovely mum exactly."

Laurie, who trained as a dancer, was starring in the West End musical Smokey Joe's Cafe when her mum was diagnosed in 1997.

Anne had gone to the doctor for a check-up after having pains in her left breast. After the GP recommended a mammogram to put her mind at rest, it was a huge shock when it revealed a tumour deep in her right breast.

Laurie, who took time off from the show to be with her mum, said those unexplained pains were the best thing that could have happened.

"In a bizarre way, it was a stroke of luck to catch it so early before it had a chance to spread," she said.

After a lumpectomy and surgery to remove lymph nodes, Anne had radiotherapy at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow and took the anti-cancer drug Tamoxifen for five years.

Laurie's lorry driver dad, Steve, 61, helped keep her positive through those uncertain early months.

Laurie said: "There was no sense of relief for a good five years or so.

"My dad was a tower of strength. When my mum hit some low points, he would remind her what a close eye the doctors were keeping on her. It was like a regular, full-body MOT.

"I tried to get up as much as I could from London and spoke to mum on the phone every day. But my auntie Eleanor, who lives next door, and her daughter Stephanie did my job when I wasn't there. Mum and Eleanor would go walking in Strathclyde Park and slowly mum got better.

"Mum is tip-top now and a big fan of juicing. There's no stopping her. She juices for Britain.

"I know the anti-oxidants in fruit and vegetables, which you get from juicing, were a big thing for Kylie Minogue when she was recovering from breast cancer."

BUT the brush with the deadly disease has made Laurie extra vigilant about her own body. She had a scare in her early twenties after finding a lump in her breast.

Tests revealed it was a harmless cyst. But six months ago, Laurie paid for an ultra-sound scan.

"I've had a good life," she said. "I go out and party, but I felt it was time to have a full look at what was going on.

"The doctor said I do have very dense muscle tissue, but there was nothing there. He recommended I have mammograms every year from 40 not 50. I found that very interesting.

"You can't be too careful, especially if you have cancer in your family. If my mum has had it, that's a strong enough link for me. This is my life and my body. To detect cancer early would be a great thing for me and for the NHS."

On camera, Laurie has some juicy story-lines coming up. Sharp-eyed fans may have noticed her character Jane Beale looking extra glamorous and not telling hubby Ian where she was going.

Her sexy story-line in spring 2006, when she had a steamy affair with bad boy Grant Mitchell, showed there was a radically different side to plain Jane.

Could Grant be about to return for a racy revival? The second week of October is when fans should keep their eyes peeled.

Laurie said: "All I can say is there's a lot being said about Jane at the moment and what she looks like doing. There's a good buzz about it on the set."

Let's face it, if you were married to boring Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), you'd have to do something to get through the misery.

Off camera, Laurie gets on like a house on fire with Adam, who's one of her closest friends on set.

"Adam is like a big kid and makes me laugh so much," she said.

"But Ian is a nightmare. I keep waiting for the story-line that Jane has 25 vodka bottles in her cupboard.

"How else does she cope?

"She's much nicer than I am, that's for sure. It's amazing that she's not an alcoholic."

Laurie's dramatic plot-lines have included waking up from emergency surgery to find doctors had removed her womb after she had been shot by Ian's deranged stepson, Steven.

But Laurie, who in real life has a boyfriend, but will not reveal his name, takes such emotionally draining scenes in her stride. Her technique is simply relating the scene to real life.

She said: "All we do as actors is imagine what a situation is going to be like. I'm not the best actress in the world, but I don't think any woman would be too stretched to imagine that.

"Ask me to play drunk and I find it difficult. But I can cry at the drop of a hat. Tell me it's the water-works in 10 minutes and I'll be there."

And the best thing of all is Laurie's proud mum Anne is still there too. In the pink at home in Hamilton, she loves watching her daughter shine on telly.

Laurie Brett supports Breast Cancer Campaign's Friendship Walks this autumn. For how to make a donation or fundraise, please visit www.breastcancercampaign.org.






I'm glad her mum's OK. I wonder what's going to happen to Jane next month though?
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Re: Laurie Brett

Post by Lou on Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:27 am

Ditto about her mum Smile

I still dont think its an affair, even though its hinted at. I think that would be too obvious. I wonder what it might be?
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Re: Laurie Brett

Post by louastra on Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:54 am

Same here, did anyone catch her on the Paul O Grady show, tonight.
Just caught a bit of it, but popped it on the Sky+, so I`ll watch it again later.
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Re: Laurie Brett

Post by Lou on Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:27 pm

Ahh so you're the one who watches Paul O'Grady Laughing

Just kidding, I've never actually watched his show.
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Re: Laurie Brett

Post by louastra on Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:20 am

I have to confess, i don`t make a habit of it. was just flicking through and heard him say about Laurie. pale

I prefer Terry Wogan. Razz
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