EastEnders star Shona McGarty says her character Whitney Dean is left “completely broken” in the wake of tonight’s shock scenes in which she stabbed her stalker to death.
In a storyline to mark the soap’s 35th anniversary next week, poor Whitney has been left terrified that she will go to prison for murder, after lashing out at deranged Leo King in self defence.
Shona, 28, told the Mirror that Whitney is likely to “change forever” as a result of the upsetting storyline.
“Whitney likes to think that it’s over but deep down she knows it not because even though Leo’s gone, he’s still going to win,” she explained.
“Whitney has now killed someone and whatever happens next, that’s not something she can ever forget. I think it could change Whitney forever.”
Viewers know that Leo is the son of paedophile Tony King, who groomed and abused Whitney from the age of 12 in a groundbreaking storyline from 2008.
Paralegal Leo arrived back in Albert Square a year ago, refusing to believe his dad’s crimes against Whitney and blaming her for his death – Tony committed suicide while serving a 13-year prison sentence.
Now he has been hiding out in Dot’s attic, while plotting a revenge murder on Whitney – who was armed when he struck.
Shona explained: “Whitney feels guilty, distraught and is completely broken, she doesn’t know which way to turn.
“She does feel like it was an accident but she’s worried people won’t see it that way because of the circumstances, no one was there to witness what happened.”
She added: “She does also feel guilty that it’s Leo as well, it’s tragic – he didn’t believe that his dad was a paedophile and Whitney knows that he was. It’s really awful and sad.”
As an actress however, Shona says she has “really enjoyed” filming opposite Leo, played by Tom Wells, who has left her living in fear over what he’ll do next in recent weeks.
Shona confessed: “It’s also nice to have happy storylines but I do prefer playing the darker dramatic stuff. As an actress, I really enjoy getting my teeth stuck into a storyline, I’ve been really lucky.”
Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter will be drawn in to the plot next week, after Whitney confides in him.
“She calls Mick because he’s someone she feels she can trust. There’s obviously a lot of history between them but she’s terrified and doesn’t want to go to prison.
“She doesn’t think about the consequences of getting Mick involved,” Shona says.
“She would never intentionally kill anybody. Whitney’s never been in trouble with the police or been involved in any criminal activity so she doesn’t know what to do.”
Next week, as the soap celebrates 35 years on screen, viewers will see the residents of Albert Square enjoying a boat trip on the Thames when the Queen Vic somehow wins a Pub of the Year competition.
Poor Mick has a lot to contend with as wife Linda’s (Kellie Bright) descent into alcoholism continues apace – and the divorce papers arrive for him to sign.
Shona said filming on the Thames was a far cry from the usual backdrop of Walford.
She said: “It was cold and wet but it was cinematic, dramatic and it felt like you were doing a really big film. I absolutely loved it! You feel like you’re all doing something so different, it was very heightened.
“The energy was really high and directors were getting stuck in and doing amazing shots, you just feel like you’re making some really good television.”
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