‘I’d do it in a heartbeat’
EastEnders’ Whitney Dean has been to hell and back this year – she was stalked by psycho Leo King, whom she went on to murder in self defence, and is now bracing herself for her forthcoming murder trial.
But while poor Whit no doubt wishes she could wave a magic wand and make it all go away, actress Shona McGarty says her character’s ordeal has been one of her favourite stories in 12 years of playing the troubled brunette. In fact, she’s had such a ball, she’d like to do it all again.
The 28 year old tells us: “I’ve absolutely loved it, I really have. It’s been one of my favourite moments at EastEnders.”
And she says that Whitney’s hunger strike in prison, before she was released on bail, was a particular highlight.
In the shocking scenes, Whitney’s lack of food and drink caused her to hallucinate and ‘see’ herself as a child, wearing the same pyjamas she had worn on the night that Leo’s father, Tony, started sexually abusing her. Becoming more and more weak, she later collapsed.
“Playing the hallucinations was really, really challenging, and it was a challenge that I was excited about,” says Shona. “As an actress, I just felt really gripped by the scripts.
“The director, Toby Frow, is amazing in everything he does, so I knew I was in safe hands. It was honestly one of the best stories I’ve really got my teeth stuck into. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Whitney’s ordeal is set to continue next week when Leo’s mum, Michaela, posts nasty comments about her online.
Hitting rock bottom, she makes the drastic decision to flee the square.
Reveals Shona: “Whitney feels like she’s completely on her own. Even though she has all her family, she just feels completely isolated.
“She just feels like she did a bad thing, and it was all her fault, and she shouldn’t have come to the hospital that time to see Leo; she shouldn’t have tried to help the situation. She feels that it’s all her fault and she’d be better off just running away from it all, like her brother [Ryan] did.
“If she left, she would miss everyone terribly. It would be awful, but she thinks it’s the only way out.
“It would be the hardest thing she’s ever done.”