Plus, Jasmyn Banks says Derek Branning has “a lovely” side! Really?!
EastEnders is in something of a meltdown right now, what with viewing figures dropping week-on-week and half the cast taking extended leave from the show…
So things are probably not about to be helped by Shona McGarty, who’s told the Daily Star that she going to leave the show.
Shona, who plays Whitney Dean, is the real life girlfriend of co-star Matt Lapinskas, who, it was revealed yesterday, has been axed from the show and his role as Anthony Moon, so it does seem a tad coincidental that Shona’s decided to go now.
However, she told the paper that she wants to leave to begin a career in music.
She said, “I love Motown music and singing has always been a passion of mine.
“It’s a real dilemma as I love acting but I also want to sing.
“I want to do something with music. It’s a risk but at least you can say you’ve done it.
“I really love EastEnders so it’s going to be hard to make the break.”
In addition to the show losing Shona and Matt, as mentioned above, several of the show’s big names are taking long breaks from the soap, including June Brown, Charlie Brooks, Jo Joyner and of course, Patsy Palmer and Lindsey Coulson.
Jessie Wallace, who plays Kat Moon, has been off for three months, but she’s headed back shortly. However, both Adam Woodyatt and Steve McFadden will be taking time off at Christmas to star in panto.
And in fact, Adam has time off coming up soon, as it’s been revealed today that as part of a forthcoming storyline about mental health issues, his character Ian Beale is going to disappear from the Square for six weeks after he has a nervous breakdown.
A show source told the Mirror, “Viewers have seen Ian become increasingly frantic whilst trying to juggle his desperate financial affairs as well as many problems within his family.
“His state of mind gets progressively worse over the next few weeks, with Ian disappearing from Walford and his family frantically worried.”
The paper adds, “Bosses on the BBC show worked closely with mental health charities Mind and Time to Change so the storyline would be accurate.”
Jenni Regan of Time to Change said of the plot, “We hope an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to have a mental health problem, showing this can happen to anyone such as a businessman or family man, just like Ian, will help eliminate the stigma and taboo around the issue.”
Finally today, in news from Walford way – yeah see, this is why they pay me the big bucks, for that kind of creative genius – newbie Jasmyn Banks has told All About Soap magazine that her character, Alice, is set to bring out “a lovely side” in villain Derek Branning.
Of Derek – who’s played by Jamie Foreman – Jasmyn said, “He really wants a relationship with Alice, which is lovely.
“She thinks he’s a nice guy who cares about his family.
“She makes him work to be part of her life, though. He has a lot to do to prove himself.”
And of Alice’s forthcoming introduction to the rest of the Branning family, Jasmyn said, “She has no idea they even exist! They’re an added bonus.
“It’s a lot to take in – she gets to Walford and suddenly discovers there’s this huge family she’s a part of.”
And of course, we can expect some high drama during that meeting!
More ‘Enders news soon!