EastEnders stars explain director's real-life connection to Whitney and Zack story
The following article contains discussion of themes including child loss.
EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders stars Shona McGarty and James Farrar have explained the real-life connection one of the soap's directors had to Whitney Dean and Zack Hudson's recent heartbreaking story.
Last week, Whitney and Zack tragically lost their daughter Peach after they discovered she may not survive the birth due to a condition called Edwards' Syndrome.
Following the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy, the couple struggled to come to terms with the death of their daughter.
Related: EastEnders star Shona McGarty speaks out on Whitney's devastating baby story
Addressing the support they received for the powerful episodes via a video on Instagram, McGarty and Farrar explained that EastEnders director Cóilín Ó Scolaí lost a baby eight years ago.
"Cóilín Ó Scolaí, he won't mind me telling you that he wanted to direct this because he unfortunately lost his baby girl Laoise eight years ago." McGarty said.
"And so he found it very important to do this story, and it must have been incredibly difficult."
"The courage for him to do that, maybe some solace within it, I don't know," McGarty's co-star Farrar said.
"But thank you Cóilín, thank you Jane Ashmore for creating such a safe space. There were tears during line runs, camera setups — not just from the cast but everyone around us, which shows such respect for the subject.
"This subject's close to a lot of people's hearts, so we really hope we did it justice."
Related: EastEnders viewers praise show for powerful Whitney and Zack scenes
Along with the touching video message, McGarty wrote a heartfelt caption thanking fans, as well as EastEnders writers and showrunners.
"We've both received so many moving messages from both men and women who have been through the pain of losing a child," McGarty captioned the post.
"Thank you for all your support through this sensitive storyline. We hope we've done it justice, and played it with respect."
Cóilín Ó Scolaí himself took to Twitter to share this thanks and offer heartfelt praise.
The response to last night's episode has been overwhelming. The great performances from @ShonaBM @JamesFarrar_ @KathrynBond @nikolas_salmon were pitch perfect to the words of @JonnyOneill. Thank you @chris_clenshaw and @SharonJBatten for the opportunity to tell this story.
— Cóilín Ó Scolaí • Director (@coilinoscolai) March 7, 2023
EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage
Readers affected by this story may visit SOFT UK and Antenatal Results and Choices for further information and support.
Sands supports anyone affected by the death of a baby. You can contact the Sands National Helpline on 0808 164 3332, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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