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EastEnders star reveals they want their character to ‘have a breakdown’

EastEnders Albert Square
(Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes)

‘No-one wants to see someone being happy all the time’

EastEnders favourite Whitney Dean has had a traumatic few months. She was stalked by psycho Leo King – son of Tony King, the man who abused her when she was a child – and went on to murder him in self-defence.

Leo King hides in the attic in EastEnders

Leo spied on Whitney from the attic of the Branning house

She was then locked up on remand for his murder – during which time she went on hunger strike - and when she was finally released from prison on bail, she was kidnapped and held hostage by his mum Michaela.

So if anyone in the square deserves a break, it’s her!

But actress Shona McGarty, who plays Whitney, says that’s the last thing she wants for her much-loved character, and she’d like the beleaguered brunette to suffer a breakdown.

EastEnders Whitney Dean

Shona McGarty wants more misery for her character, Whitney Dean

Speaking exclusively to, Shona says: “If this was real life and Whitney was someone I knew, I would definitely advise her to see a doctor. I think she needs some counselling. She needs to really deal with what happened to her when she was younger, because I don’t think she has. She’s definitely headed for a breakdown if she doesn’t deal with those feelings.”

And asked what she would like to see on the horizon for Whitney, she adds: “Maybe she has a breakdown. I’d like to play that; I’d love to. I think it might be quite important to see that, and then she could get some help.”

She continues: "As an actress, I don't want Whitney to be happy. It's boring, especially in soapland. Nobody wants to see someone being happy all the time, especially in EastEnders!"

The 28 year old star joined EastEnders back in 2008 as Bianca Jackson’s stepdaughter. Her alter-ego had relationships with characters including Arthur ‘Fatboy’ Chubb and Tyler Moon before marrying Mick Carter’s eldest son, Lee, in 2016.

Lee Carter, Whitney Dean

Whitney married Lee in 2016, but a happy ending wasn't to be...

The couple split after just a few months, and last year Whitney was due to marry boyfriend Callum Highway, but called off the wedding after discovering he’d had a gay relationship with Ben Mitchell.

Says Shona: “As a viewer, I thought Whitney would have at least five children by now. I think that’s what so sweet about her story. All these things that she has wanted, like the fairytale wedding and the kids, she’s always been so close and then it gets snatched away from her. It’s really sad.’

Alison Slade
Alison Slade

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.