EastEnders star Shona McGarty suspended for lateness

Shona McGarty as Whitney Dean in EastEnders McGarty's character was involved in a controversial storyline about sexual grooming in 2008

EastEnders actress Shona McGarty has been suspended from the BBC One soap for regularly missing her scheduled start times.

Twenty-year-old McGarty has played troubled Whitney Dean since being introduced as Bianca's adopted daughter in 2008.

A BBC spokesperson said: "Shona has been suspended for repeatedly being late for filming."

The actress has reportedly been suspended for four weeks without pay.

After arriving in Albert Square, McGarty's character was involved in a controversial storyline about sexual grooming, which attracted 200 complaints but was cleared by media regulator Ofcom.

She has also been caught up in plots about prostitution and shoplifting as well as a particularly tangled web of relationships.

In May, McGarty was quoted in one paper as saying she wanted to leave the show to pursue a singing career.

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