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Elaine Lordan is well-known to millions as EastEnders' Lynne Slater. Yet the real-life heartache and loss she came to suffer eclipsed even the rollercoaster troubles of her TV character. After leaving the show, Elaine lost her beloved mother when she took her life under a train. Then later that same year, just two days after her wedding, Elaine lost James, her one-year-old son and only child, to a rare condition.

Whatever It Takes is the story of a no-nonsense working-class girl who hit the big time and enjoyed several happy years as one of the nation's favourite soap stars. Things took a downward turn as her heavy drinking and affair with a married man led to her being hounded by the press. Yet Pete would become the love of her life and together they would experience the unfathomable joy of having a child. This flush of happiness was short-lived, though, as Elaine felt the full impact of her mother's death, while her son James battled for life. It wasn't long before family life revolved around the hospital - hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

Full of larger-than-life characters from her boisterous Irish family and close circle of north London friends, Elaine tells her story with heart-wrenching candour. In this life-affirming memoir of overcoming tragedy, we see how Elaine's indomitable spirit and innate humour have carried her through even the bleakest moments, and how one woman's 'sink or swim' approach has ensured her survival.

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