EastEnders icon ‘to leave soap for good’ after affair ‘rumbled’ by BBC viewers

EastEnders' Whitney Dean is set to leave Walford this year but viewers are convinced they've worked out her exit storyline - and it's not looking good for the soap icon

EastEnders fans reckon an affair is on the cards for Lauren Branning and a happily taken man – with devastating consequences for Whitney Dean.

The character, played by Jacqueline Jossa, returned to the soap at the New Year, along with on-screen cousin Penny Branning (Kitty Castledine). The pair were living in France, but swapped Paris for Walford and headed back.

However things took a dramatic turn when after landing in the UK, Lauren was arrested for having drugs in her luggage. Unbeknownst to her, it was Penny who had planted the drugs after getting involved with drug dealer Juliette.

Penny eventually told the truth, and agreed to cooperate with the police about Juliette. This meant Lauren was able to leave prison and she then reunited with her family in Walford.

Whitney is set to leave the soap this year (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)
At first, she was fuming at Penny’s betrayal when she came clean – but the duo later patched things up. Lauren even agreed to move in with Penny – and the two then set out to find a flat to move into at the Square.

And after episodes this week, fans are certain Lauren is set to be part of an affair storyline with none other than Zack Hudson (James Farrar). And they reckon it’ll pave the way for Whitney Dean’s exit this year.

A recent scene aired that showed Zack Hudson in a towel after a steamy shower while chatting to Lauren. She was stunned to find him – and looked rather flustered.

Zack’s girlfriend Whitney soon arrived. Not impressed, she told told him to put some clothes on – while Lauren watched on amused. But later on in the Vic, Lauren confessed to Penny that she finds Zack “hot.” Penny even quipped how they should kick Whitney out and both of them move in with Zack.

Fans reckon Whitney will leave because Zack cheats on her (Image: BBC)

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Now, fans now convinced Lauren and Zack will end up bonking – which will tie in with Whitney (Shona McGarty) leaving the soap. Shona, who has played the role since she was 16-year-old, quit the soap after 15 years on the show in July last year.

The actress told The Sun on Sunday that she is spreading her wings but “loved her years on the show.” She added: “I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships – and family – which will endure.”

Viewers are predicting drama is in store (Image: BBC)

On X, formerly known as Twitter, one person mused: “You heard it hear first. Zack & Lauren affair is definitely coming & this be reason Whitney leaves square.” A second penned: “That was a very suspicious first interaction between Lauren and Zack….could they have an affair?”

A third quipped: “I’m thinking Lauren and Zack gets together when Whitney leaves.” On an EastEnders fan Facebook page, someone else penned: “Lauren will sleep with Zac, Whitney will find out and leaves Zac that’s how she leaves EE.”

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