Who's leaving EastEnders in 2024? Whitney, Bianca, Bobby comp image (Credit: BBC/Comp ED!)

Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2024? Complete list of cast exits, arrivals and returns

There are some big name departures and returns to Walford this year!

Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2024? We’re set for an emotional exit in May as Shona McGarty bows out as Whitney Dean after 15 years.

Elsewhere, Bianca Jackson is also off after her latest stint, and Bobby Beale will be leaving this year too.

But never fear, there are plenty of comebacks to keep us entertained!

Here’s a round up of who is leaving, returning and joining the cast of EastEnders in 2024.

Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2024?

Whitney Dean is leaving EastEnders and these are her exit promo shots
Will Whitney get her happy ever after? (Credit: BBC)

Whitney Dean

Whit has been in the show since she was a teenager – 15 years ago.

Since then she’s been through all sorts of heartache, including the shocking reveal that as a teen she had been groomed and raped by Tony King.

She’s been sexually exploited, she’s been married and divorced, jilted at the altar, snogged married Mick Carter, said a tragic goodbye to her baby, Peach, and even killed her stalker in self defence!

However, actress Shona McGarty announced her decision to leave the role last summer. Speaking to The Sun, Shona said: “I have decided to spread my wings and will be leaving EastEnders. I have loved my years in the show. I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships — and family — which will endure.”

Whitney’s exit is set to air on Thursday May 23. She has just given birth to baby Dolly, but has no idea her fiancé and baby daddy Zack Hudson has slept with her best mate Lauren Branning.

But foster daughter Britney knows – and she will reveal all at the wedding on Monday May 20. But will Whitney forgive Zack? How will she leave Walford? And will it be with yet another broken heart?

Who else is leaving EastEnders in 2024?

EastEnders returnee Bianca Jackson smiles outside Walford East station
EastEnders returnee Bianca Jackson is off again soon (Credit: BBC)

Bianca Jackson

Although Bianca is still in Walford, actress Patsy Palmer only ever revived her role for a short stint. She was always coming back to be part of Whitney Dean’s exit and as that will air this May, it seems likely Bianca won’t be too far behind.

Bianca’s certainly made her mark during this Walford stretch. She bagged her old job at the cafe back from Vinny and she even bedded Junior Knight on his first night in the Square.

She is also keeping the secret that Zack and Lauren slept together. But will she tell Whit the truth? Will Bianca and Whitney leave together?

Clay is departing (Credit: BBC)

Bobby Beale

Clay Milner Russell has been a big part of EastEnders since he took on the role of Bobby Beale in 2019.

However, it has now been revealed that the actor is ready to exit the soap later this year in exchange for new opportunities.

A source told The Sun: “Clay’s a talented actor and he’s ambitious. He was never going to stay in EastEnders forever. He’s loved playing Bobby but he became an actor to play all kinds of roles and he wants to do that. The door is being left open but for now it’s a definite goodbye.”

“Clay is a young actor so he wants to use these years to try his hand at other roles. He absolutely loves working on EastEnders and has made such great friends on the show so it was really difficult for him to make that decision, but having been a part of the show since 2019, he now feels like the time is right to explore other options.”

In a recent statement, an EastEnders spokesperson confirmed: “We can confirm that Clay will be leaving EastEnders later on this year, and we wish him the best for the future.”

But, how will Bobby Beale leave Walford? Will he ever return in the future? What will we see Clay in next?

Who’s returning to EastEnders in 2024?

Bobby looks thoughtful in EastEnders
Freddie is back! (Credit: BBC)

Freddie Slater

Actor Bobby Brazier took some time out from Walford to enjoy his stint on Strictly and then compete in the tour. On-screen he attacked Stacey Slater’s stalker Theo and left him in a coma. Freddie was eventually cleared, but has been staying with his mum, Little Mo, to get away from it all.

Fans had been concerned Bobby wouldn’t return as Freddie, but he is coming back and now details have been confirmed.

Freddie is returning with great gran Big Mo Slater (see below), though the exact reason they decide to come back has not been revealed.

Before they pitch up back on the Square, the EastEnders TikTok channel will give an exclusive first look at the pair’s decision to return in a limited series. It will show both characters in Mo’s caravan where she has been living.

EastEnders star Laila Morse as Big Mos poses in pink coat in front of the Albert Square sign
What trouble will Big Mo bring? (Credit: BBC)

Big Mo Slater

Mo Harris is coming back to EastEnders this spring. Laila Morse reprises her role and after several guest stints since her departure in 2021, this time she’s back for good.

First arriving in 2000, Mo’s one-liners and dodgy deals quickly made her a fan-favourite. She left Walford in 2021 to go on a cruise with fiancé Fat Elvis.

She’s been living in her caravan and now decides the time is right to come back with great-grandson Freddie. But what brings them home?

Of her return, Laila said: “I’m delighted to be coming home to Walford to bring Mo back to life. EastEnders holds such a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to be reunited with my on screen family, who are like my family, as well as old and new faces.”

Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer added: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome back Laila Morse to the role of Mo Harris. Although her time away from the Square has been short-lived, the Slater family has endured a huge amount of drama since she last appeared on screen and Mo’s return will be no different. We’re delighted to welcome Laila back permanently as she is thrust into the heart of the drama alongside great-grandson Freddie [played by Bobby Brazier].”

When she returns she sets her sights on Stevie Mitchell! And it’s not long before the pair continue the party back at her place!

Will Shirl ever return? (Credit: BBC)

Shirley Carter

It’s fair to say Walford hasn’t been kind to Shirley Carter. She left at the end of December 2022 after her son, Mick Carter disappeared at sea.

Following the death of her sister Tina Carter the previous year, she felt too haunted by their ghosts to stick around. However, the good news is Shirl will return – we think!

An EastEnders spokesperson told Digital Spy: “Linda Henry will be returning to EastEnders.”

But this was a while ago and we’re still waiting! Dean Wicks suggested his mum was in hospital after having a mental breakdown. But can he be trusted to tell the truth? Is she really struggling? How long before we see her in Walford again?

EastEnders Kim and Howie look serious
The couple will return (Credit: BBC)

Kim Fox and Howie Danes

After being offered a job on a cruise ship, Kim Fox and Howie Danes departed in March 2024. But the good news for Kim Fox fans is they will be back in Walford before we know it.

On The One Show on Monday January 23, actress Tameka Empson told hosts Gethin Jones and Lauren Laverne: “Kim’s going to be all right, she’s going to be okay. She’s going off on a cruise with Howie and the kids. Don’t stress with her, she’s going to be fine.”

Then she added: “But it’s giving me a little bit of a break to do a project that I am so passionate about.”

Tameka is starring in The Big Life, a musical she co-wrote 20 years ago. She will be away from EastEnders for around three months.

What brings Karen back again? (Credit: BBC)

Karen Taylor

Lorraine Stanley left EastEnders as Karen Taylor in December 2023. Karen had fleeced Phil Mitchell and gone on the run to Spain. However she has already reprised her role earlier this year when she returned looking for her ‘missing’ son Keanu.

Of course, what she didn’t know was that Keanu was dead and buried under the cafe. His body was eventually exposed, but Karen had already gone back to Spain by that point. Daughter Bernie then visited her to break the news of Keanu’s death.

Dean Wicks is in prison for killing him, however we all know Linda Carter and The Six were behind his demise.

Karen will return again in episodes this summer, but full details have not been revealed. Could she be back for Dean’s trial? And will she uncover the real truth about what happened?

Who’s joining EastEnders?

EastEnders has not announced any new cast members coming up, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as they do!

Read more: Complete EastEnders cast list – meet them all here

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EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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**This article is updated regularly to reflect the ongoing changes in the EastEnders cast.

Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)