EastEnders Legend Quits After 15 Years, As Another Fan Favourite Is Rumoured To Be Leaving

While one star has quit the soap, the other will reportedly be leaving after bosses decided it's time for her to go.
Shona McGarty
Shona McGarty
Karwai Tang via Getty Images

Shona McGarty has made the shock decision to quit EastEnders after 15 years.

The actor has played Whitney Dean, the step-daughter of Walford legend Bianca Jackson since she was 16 years old.

Announcing her decision to quit, the star – now 31 – told the Sun on Sunday: “I have decided to spread my wings and will be leaving EastEnders. I have loved my years in the show.

“I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships — and family — which will endure.”

Shona’s final scenes will air early next year, the publication added, with bosses yet to decide on her exit storyline.

While Shona hasn’t revealed her plans for life after Walford, she’s a talented singer as well as an actor and has showcased her vocals on a number of charity singles.

Her decision to leave comes amid a rumoured “shake-up” behind-the-scenes in Albert Square.

According to The Sun’s report, Lorraine Stanley (who plays Karen Taylor) is also heading for the exit.

Karen and her brood arrived in Walford in 2018 but according to the Sun on Sunday, bosses have decided it’s time for her leave.

RadioTimes.com adds that the decision was allegedly made by producers, not the actor herself. Lorraine’s final scenes are believed to be airing later this year.

HuffPost UK has contacted an EastEnders representative for comment.

Both stars have been at the centre of a number of huge storylines during their time on the soap.

Lorraine Stanley
Lorraine Stanley
Karwai Tang via Getty Images

In her first year as part of the cast, Shona won huge praise for her portrayal of Whitney during a sexual abuse storyline.

Whitney then enjoyed a number of romances in the Square before marrying Lee Carter (played by Danny-Boy Howard). When their marriage broke down, Whitney shared a kiss with her father-in-law, Mick Carter (Danny Dyer).

More recently, a one-night stand with Zack Hudson (James Farrar) resulted in a pregnancy but Whitney made the decision to have a termination after learning her daughter had a life-threatening genetic condition.

Meanwhile, some of Karen’s most memorable moments have seen her clash with her son’s older lover, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean).

In 2020, she was left mourning the death of her daughter, Chantelle Atkins (Jessica Plummer) after her death at the hands of her abusive husband.

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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