Lee and Whitney Carter's marriage troubles are set to reach a dramatic climax this festive season. EastEnders actors Shona McGarty and Danny-Boy Hatchard have opened up about their characters' hard-hitting Christmas storyline, which will see Lee buckle under the pressure of spiralling debts and depression, while Whitney remains unaware of his struggles.
"Over Christmas it will come to a head," Shona told the Radio Times. "I feel very sorry for Lee. He's trapped by this belief that men shouldn't show their emotions too much, so Whitney is oblivious.
Shona McGarty and Danny-Boy Hatchard have opened up about their characters' hard-hitting Christmas storyline
"She doesn't know what's going on in his mind. Whitney has never had her own place before. She wants to make the perfect home, so she's focused on that and is often oblivious to the secrets Lee is keeping from her. But Lee is burdened by the fact that he has a mum and dad who have a perfect relationship. How can he live up to that?"
Danny-Boy added: "His depression is going to escalate, and it's a hard-hitting thing for people to watch. I've had people writing to me saying that the storyline has been unbearable. But that means we are doing our job properly."
Lee and Whitney Carter's marriage troubles are set to reach a dramatic climax
In the run-up to Christmas Day, Lee will be seen fretting over the expense of providing Christmas dinner for his family at the flat he shares with Whitney. With his wife becoming increasingly concerned as to why her husband is so unhappy, he then faces a further setback when he applies for another loan.
Scenes shown on 23 December will see Lee head to the roof of the Queen Vic, which is where his dad Mick will eventually find him. But it remains to be seen whether Mick's words will result in the truth being revealed, and Lee can bring himself to reveal the extent of his deceit.
Lee is found on the roof of the Queen Vic by his dad Mick Carter (Danny Dyer)
Asked what advice he would give someone in Lee's position, Danny-Boy replied: "What I would say is that there is always someone that cares. I care. If I was to see someone in that position, I would give them a massive hug and try to help them in the best way I can.
"So if I exist, then there are millions of other people out there who want to listen as well. Talk about it. It takes a lot of weight off your shoulders, and that's the first step towards recovery. I don't feel anyone can fully recover from mental illness, but it's important to sustain a balance and I think people can live a happy life."