This article contains discussions of pregnancy loss which some readers may find distressing.
Whitney Dean faces further potential heartache during the festive season in EastEnders.
The BBC One soap has seen 2023 be a tough year for heroine Whitney (Shona McGarty) as she decided to terminate her pregnancy after her unborn child Peach was diagnosed with Edward’s Syndrome.
In emotional scenes earlier this year, Whitney and partner Zack Hudson (James Farrar) said an emotional goodbye to baby Peach. Since then, Whitney and Zack have moved forward with plans to be parents, but Whitney has been clear that after issues with two previous pregnancies, she does not want to carry a pregnancy again.
The pair decided to pursue fostering and in the coming weeks will welcome foster child Ashton to their home. However, issues arise as Ashton is a troubled child and Zack struggles to form a connection with the child.
Whitney consoles Ashton as noises trigger a traumatic response from him, but Zack is feeling disconnected from the situation.
On New Year’s Eve, Whitney and Zack are upset when they have to tell Ashton that he is moving to a new foster home, leaving Whitney heartbroken and Zack heads off to Peggy’s to drown his sorrows with his best pal Martin Fowler (James Bye).
Whitney’s adopted aunt Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) tries to console and distract her with a small New Year’s Eve bash together, but Whitney has much on her mind.
The next day, Whitney and Zack reel from some life-changing news whilst also bidding farewell to Ashton.
As the first week of January continues, Whitney is on the market when she shows Sonia a photo of Ashton with his new foster family and is saddened by his departure.
The pair later head back to Sonia’s, while Zack heads to the Queen Vic for a drink with Reiss Colwell (Jonny Freeman).
By the end of the week, Whitney heads to the tree in the allotments planted for baby Peach and receives some words of advice from a kind Yolande Trueman (Angela Wynter) who herself has dealt with being a foster parent.
Amid the heart-to-heart, Whitney breaks down in tears about the latest crossroads she finds herself at. What will Whitney decide to do next and how will Zack feel about it?
Fans are well aware that actress Shona McGarty is departing her role as Whitney Dean in the coming months, but will she get her happy ending?
When asked by RadioTimes.com about what to expect for Whitney’s exit in our winter preview, executive producer Chris Clenshaw commented: “I’m kind of staying tight-lipped about the details of Shona’s exit storyline. We’ve still got actually quite a lot to come for Whitney.
“But, yeah, I can confirm that she’s leaving next year in 2024 and she and Zack have a big storyline at the beginning of the year and they get a lovely, little Christmas/New Year miracle.”
Will Whitney get the happy ending that McGarty herself hopes for?
You can read more about Edwards’ syndrome on the NHS website. If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, you can visit SOFT UK and Antenatal Results and Choices for help and support.