EastEnders star Shona McGarty defends Whitney's exit story

Former EastEnders star Shona McGarty has defended the storyline which saw her character Whitney Dean exit the soap.

McGarty made her departure from the show last month (on May 23) after 16 years in the role, with Whitney opting to move to Wakefield with adoptive daughter Britney and baby Dolly after learning that her fiancé Zack had cheated on her ahead of their wedding day.

The storyline received some criticism from fans who felt that Whitney had rushed to her decision, but McGarty has defended the plot, and teased a potential return.

shona mcgarty whitney eastenders

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"I think she did get her happy ending," she told RSVP Live. "It makes sense the way she left on the bus, the way she came in. It was very fitting and quite nice, actually. At least she wasn't under the bus! She could always come back."

McGarty also spoke about her exit from the soap as well as her upcoming role in 2:22 A Ghost Story, noting that the transition from the small screen to the stage can prove challenging without the aid of retakes.

"It feels great actually [to have left the soap] – I feel really free and excited for the future," she said. "I just had to be brave and make that decision. I had been toying with the idea for the last two or three years."

whitney dean, eastenders

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"The only reason is that I want to do different things. Time flies in life – I had been in EastEnders 16 years, I gave it a good go," she added before explaining that her role on the stage is "very different from television because if you make a mistake, you can't do it again."

"But I'm so excited to be on stage," she continued. "I'd never met the cast before, but they're all brilliant and super awesome. We're all part of different parts of the industry. We've done a few rehearsals and I can tell you it’s a really good cast, with a really good feel. We work really well together."

EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer, where most episodes drop early at 6am ahead of their TV broadcast.

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