Shona McGarty to leave EastEnders cast after 15 years on the BBC soap opera

Shona McGarty (Danny Lawson/PA)
Shona McGarty (Danny Lawson/PA) Shona McGarty (Danny Lawson/PA)

Shona McGarty is leaving EastEnders after starring in the BBC soap opera for 15 years, the broadcaster has confirmed.

The actress, 31, has been a staple in Albert Square since she joined the cast in 2008 aged 16 to portray Whitney Dean.

It has been reported that her final scenes will be broadcast early next year.

National Television Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London
National Television Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London Shona McGarty (Matt Crossick/PA)

McGarty 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.”

Her character arrived in Albert Square as adoptive daughter of Bianca Jackson, played by Patsy Palmer.

Whitney was engaged on a number of occasions and married Lee Carter, played by Danny Hatchard, before they later filed for divorce.

McGarty has been nominated for a host of awards for her portrayal of Whitney including a number of National Television Awards.

She was also nominated earlier this year at the British Soap Awards in the scene of the year category for her depiction of losing her baby with Zack Hudson, who is played by James Farrar.

The actress has featured in a number of charitable projects with the BBC soap such as crossover episode with Coronation Street in 2010 and in 2020.

British Soap Awards 2023 – Salford
British Soap Awards 2023 – Salford Lorraine Stanley (Danny Lawson/PA)

The cast shake-up will also see Lorraine Stanley, 47, who plays launderette worker Karen Taylor, written out of the show after she made her first appearance on the show in 2017.

Stanley is also known for playing Kelly in the 2006 film London To Brighton.