'EastEnders' actress Shona McGarty finds it "hard to watch" her alter-ego's troubled storylines.

The 20-year-old star - who plays Whitney Dean in the BBC One soap - explained while she likes being involved in such hard-hitting plots, she actually finds happy scenes "a bigger challenge" because she is not used to them.

I do like doing the emotional stuff because it's a challenge. Then again, maybe a happy storyline would be a bigger challenge for me, because I'm not used to it!

She said: "I was on the internet a few nights ago and I watched the sexual exploitation stuff with Rob (Jody Latham), the pimp who forced Whitney into prostitution. It was hard to watch.

"I do like doing the emotional stuff because it's a challenge. Then again, maybe a happy storyline would be a bigger challenge for me, because I'm not used to it!"

However, Shona admitted she was "crying for real" in the emotional scenes where Whitney said goodbye to her brother Ryan, as she was so devastated to say goodbye to co-star Neil McDermott.

She added in an interview with new! magazine: "I was really happy with the scene where Ryan left the Square, because I was actually crying for real.

"With that scene, I was in hysterics because I couldn't believe he was actually going. I was practically having a panic attack because it was really emotional in real life as well as on screen."