EastEnders star Shona McGarty reveals the storyline she’d LOVE to do again

EastEnders Whitney Dean
(Image credit: BBC / Nicky Johnston)

‘I’d do it in a heartbeat’

EastEnders’ Whitney Dean has been to hell and back this year – she was stalked by psycho Leo King, whom she went on to murder in self defence, and is now bracing herself for her forthcoming murder trial.

But while poor Whit no doubt wishes she could wave a magic wand and make it all go away, actress Shona McGarty says her character’s ordeal has been one of her favourite stories in 12 years of playing the troubled brunette. In fact, she’s had such a ball, she’d like to do it all again.

The 28 year old tells us: “I’ve absolutely loved it, I really have. It’s been one of my favourite moments at EastEnders.”

And she says that Whitney’s hunger strike in prison, before she was released on bail, was a particular highlight.

In the shocking scenes, Whitney’s lack of food and drink caused her to hallucinate and ‘see’ herself as a child, wearing the same pyjamas she had worn on the night that Leo’s father, Tony, started sexually abusing her. Becoming more and more weak, she later collapsed.

EastEnders Whitney BBC

Whitney 'saw' her younger self when she went on hunger strike in prison

“Playing the hallucinations was really, really challenging, and it was a challenge that I was excited about,” says Shona. “As an actress, I just felt really gripped by the scripts.

“The director, Toby Frow, is amazing in everything he does, so I knew I was in safe hands. It was honestly one of the best stories I’ve really got my teeth stuck into. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

Whitney’s ordeal is set to continue next week when Leo’s mum, Michaela, posts nasty comments about her online.

Hitting rock bottom, she makes the drastic decision to flee the square.

Reveals Shona: “Whitney feels like she’s completely on her own. Even though she has all her family, she just feels completely isolated.

“She just feels like she did a bad thing, and it was all her fault, and she shouldn’t have come to the hospital that time to see Leo; she shouldn’t have tried to help the situation. She feels that it’s all her fault and she’d be better off just running away from it all, like her brother [Ryan] did.

“If she left, she would miss everyone terribly. It would be awful, but she thinks it’s the only way out.

“It would be the hardest thing she’s ever done.”



Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.