BBC EastEnders’ Shona McGarty’s first role since exit revealed – with another soap star

BBC EastEnders star Shona McGarty, who played Whitney Dean, has landed her first role since leaving the soap.

She’ll be starring alongside another EastEnders legend in a pantomime production of Beauty and the Beast.

Shona confirmed earlier this year that she was leaving EastEnders to try something new. Her character Whitney has been a favourite on the soap for years and was recently involved in a major storyline following the tragic loss of her daughter, Peach.

Whitney is keen to adopt and her partner Zack seems supportive too, but with her set to leave the soap, fans are eager to see her get her happy ending.

Shona will leave Walford behind later this year
Shona will leave Walford behind later this year

In her new role, Shona will be playing Belle alongside actor Harry Reid, known for his past role as Ben Mitchell on EastEnders.

While Shona’s character Whitney has been on the soap since 2008, Harry played Ben between 2014 and 2018 before Max Bowden took over the role in 2019.

Shona previously spoke about her decision to leave the show, admitting it wasn’t easy. “It wasn’t an easy decision because I’ve made so many friends.” she told Inside Soap.

“I’ve seen people come and go, and meanwhile, Whitney has been one of the longest-standing characters. I’ve had so much fun and done so many storylines, some of which have been sensitive, and I’ve been honoured to be trusted with such heavy stuff year after year. So I’m going to be sad to say goodbye to my friends and family, but it was the right decision for me as I want to do other things.”

Harry will be on stage alongside Shona
Harry will be on stage alongside Shona

In another chat, she looked back on her EastEnders journey and shared her real thoughts about her co-stars. She revealed to The Sun: “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 made her soap debut as a fresh-faced teenager in 2008 at just 16 years old, as she was introduced as the stepdaughter of Bianca Jackson.

Whitney and Zack
Whitney and Zack are currently in a happy relationship

Throughout her time in Walford, Whitney has gone through many troubling situations from being sexually abused by Bianca’s partner, to killing her stalker later in life.

She has also been unlucky in love, with one failed marriage and three engagements to her name, but she is now happily in a relationship with Zack Hudson.

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