EastEnders to work with cancer charities to tackle new brain tumour storyline

The storyline will follow Lola Pearce as she and her loved ones come to terms with her diagnosis.

EastEnders has announced the show is working alongside Brain Tumour Research and Macmillan Cancer Support to tackle an emotional brain tumour storyline featuring Lola Pearce.

The storyline will follow Lola, played by Danielle Harold, as she and her loved ones come to terms with her diagnosis.

The BBC One soap has worked closely with two leading cancer charities to ensure the storyline is portrayed as “realistically and as sensitively as possible”.

National Television Awards 2020 – Arrivals – London
Danielle Harold has said ‘it means so much to be trusted with a storyline like this’ ahead of portraying Lola’s brain tumour story (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Speaking about taking on the powerful storyline, 30-year-old Harold said: “It means so much to be trusted with a storyline like this, one that’s close to many people’s hearts.

“Sadly many of our viewers will be able to relate to Lola’s story and it’s been heart-breaking to speak to the families affected by brain tumours and hear their stories.

“They’ve been so amazing in sharing their experiences with me, and I’m so lucky to have them.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this storyline without their support.”

Harold has played Lola, the granddaughter of Billy Mitchell, since 2011 and has been the centre of previously hard-hitting storylines including a teenage pregnancy.

Sue Castle-Smith, head of PR and communications for Brain Tumour Research said: “We are extremely grateful to EastEnders for helping to raise awareness of brain tumours.

“Sadly, Lola’s story is all too familiar to thousands of families. Brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.”

Lola has previously been involved in difficult storylines, including teenage pregnancy and subsequently raising her daughter Lexi (BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron/PA)

Macmillan Cancer Support’s strategic advisor for treatment, Dany Bell added: “Storylines like Lola’s play a crucial role in raising awareness and can genuinely save viewers’ lives, so we are really pleased to be helping EastEnders ensure a realistic experience is being portrayed on the show.

“The moving storyline will show how suddenly a diagnosis can impact every aspect of a person’s life and how challenging it can truly be.

“We know that what Lola and her fictional family are going through on EastEnders is a daily reality for many people around the UK right now, and Macmillan is here to offer advice and support to anyone who needs it.

“Anyone watching with concerns about any potential signs or symptoms of cancer must also speak to their GP as soon as possible.”

In 2012 Harold portrayed Lola as she gave birth to her daughter, Lexi, during a dramatic seven-minute live segment.

Harold’s initial departure from the show was announced in 2015, however her storyline was left open and she returned to Albert Square in 2019.

EastEnders continues on BBC One.