“End of an era”: Shona McGarty explains her decision to leave EastEnders after fifteen years.

Next year, Whitney is expected to leave the Square (Photo: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron).

In advance of her departure from EastEnders next year, actress Shona McGarty has spoken out about her decision to give up her 15-year tenure as Whitney Dean on the BBC soap opera.

The popular character Whitney has been a part of some of the biggest tales of all time, from her trauma of being stalked by Tony to her sexual assault at the hands of Tony, her fifteen years on Albert Square have proven to be dramatic.

Viewers have witnessed Whitney sadly lose her daughter Peach in recent months, and she has chosen to join boyfriend Zack Hudson (James Farrar) as a foster parent.

In an interview with Inside Soap Magazine, Shona explained why she decided to depart.

“As the EastEnders saying goes, it’s going to be the end of an era, or an earring,” she remarked, alluding to the expression that Pat Butcher actress Pam St Clement first used before to her 2012 departure.

“I’ve enjoyed my stay in Walford, but Whitney—may God bless her—has experienced some terrible things, and I believe she needs a vacation.”

This begs the question of whether Whitney will make a comeback in the future, and Shona isn’t excluding it.

“The door is open, and I may always return at a later time.” However, for now, I want to follow my passions, like singing, which is something I’ve dreamed about doing since I was a young child.

“EastEnders has been incredible; I simply want to pursue other endeavors.”

Away from Walford, Shona is presently playing Belle, the major role in the pantomime Beauty and the Beast in Dartford.

She regrettably had to cancel a concert lately due to illness.

She shared with her followers on her Instagram story that, although she was “gutted” to not be performing, she was taking a lot of medicine and medications to assist with her cold and flu symptoms.

In the production, which plays until December 31 at The Orchard Theatre, Belle has teamed up with Harry Reid, a former co-star of EastEnders who portrayed Ben Mitchell from 2014 to 2018.

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