Billie Piper (born Lianne Paul
Piper; 22 September 1982, in Swindon, Wiltshire) is an English singer and
She began her career in the late 1990s as a pop singer and then progressed
to acting. Her most famous role is as Rose Tyler, companion to the Doctor
in the television series Doctor Who from 2005 to 2006, a role she reprised
in 2008 and 2010. In 2007, Broadcast magazine listed Piper at no. 6 in its
"Hot 100" list of influential on-screen performers, the top woman on the
list. She has also portrayed the high flying escort Belle de Jour in
Secret Diary of a Call Girl, based on the real life experiences of Dr
Piper's first break in the entertainment world came as a teenager, when
she was selected to appear on the Saturday morning children's television
show Scratchy and Co. Piper later landed a role in a television commercial
promoting the pop magazine Smash Hits. Piper was offered a record deal at
the age of fifteen, and in 1998 became the youngest artist ever to debut
at number one in the UK singles chart with "Because We Want To", released
under the stage mononym "Billie". Her follow-up single "Girlfriend" also
debuted at number one and her first album, Honey to the B (released
immediately afterwards) debuted at Number 14 in the UK album charts.
At the 1998 Smash Hits Poll Winners' party, she was nominated for Best New
Act (She came 2nd. It was won by B*Witched) and won Princess of Pop
(Additionally she was the first to win this award as 1998 was the first
year to host this award). She then released "She Wants You" as the third
single from the album. The song reached no. 3. Piper then released her
album in the U.S. However as Britney Spears's album, ...Baby One More Time
had only been released one month earlier, the album almost went completely
unnoticed, peaking at no. 17 on the Heatseekers. "Honey to the Bee" was
released as the fourth single from the album, like the previous single, it
reached no. 3. At the same date, "She Wants You" was released in the USA.
It reached no. 9 on the "Hot Club Dance Play" chart.
In 1999, Piper was nominated for two BRIT Awards and won 2 awards at the
1999 Smash Hits Poll Winners' party, although at the latter ceremony she
was reduced to tears after being booed by fans of Ritchie Neville, member
of boy band Five, whom she was dating at the time.
Piper then started to tour and release in Asia. The singles and the album
were released during mid to late 1999. The Taiwanese edition was notable
as it had a completely different cover for unknown reasons. On the 10th of
August that same year, the follow up to "Because We Want To" was released
in Japan, a single comprising "Girlfriend" " and "She Wants You" combined.
Her debut album was released in Japan on 25 April 2000.
During that time, she recorded her second album. She decided to release
further records under her full name, Billie Piper. She returned to the
Singles Chart in May 2000 with a new, sexier sound. She hit the Number 1
spot with "Day & Night". She waited until the following September to
release "Something Deep Inside", which reached no. 4, but her success
wasn't to continue. In October 2000, Piper released her second album, Walk
of Life, which reached Number 14 in the UK Album Chart. The song "Walk of
Life", the final single off this album, was released in December 2000 and
reached Number 25 in the UK Singles Chart.
On 17 February 2001, Piper appeared in court to testify against a woman
named Juliet Peters. Peters was charged with, and eventually convicted of,
stalking as well as making a number of threats against Piper and members
of her family. Peters received psychiatric treatment as part of her
sentence. According to her autobiography, Piper was reluctant about the
court case, but was pushed by her parents and her label. She also stated
in the book that this was why "The Tide Is High" wasn't released as a
single, writing "The court case succeeded in doing what I alone could not:
cutting the ties. Without it I might have been tempted back. To quote a
line from the epic Sopranos: 'Just when you think you've got out... they
drag you back in.'" (The line actually originated in Godfather III(1990)).
On 15 January 2007, BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles started a campaign to get
"Honey to the Bee" back into the Top 100 on download sales as a way of
testing out new chart rules that favour download sales. The campaign was
highly successful, with "Honey to the Bee" re-entering the official UK
singles chart at no. 17, eight years after it was first released.
After an extended break, Piper decided to end her pop career in 2003 and
return to her original ambition, acting. She took acting lessons while
living in London. Piper gained very positive reviews for these
appearances, critics seemingly feeling that she was a far better actress
than she was a singer.
In 2004, Piper appeared in the films The Calcium Kid, as the romantic
interest of Orlando Bloom's character, and Things to do Before You're
Thirty. Shortly before starting work on Doctor Who, she filmed a starring
role in the horror movie Spirit Trap alongside Russian pop star Alsou,
released in August, 2005 to generally poor reviews.
Doctor Who originally ran from 1963 to 1989. In May 2004, it was announced
that the series would be resurrected beginning in 2005, and that Piper was
to play the character Rose Tyler, a travelling companion to The Doctor,
(to be played by Christopher Eccleston). Piper won the Most Popular
Actress category at the 2005 and 2006 National Television Awards for her
work on Doctor Who. BBC News named Piper as one of its "Faces of the Year"
for 2005, primarily due to her success in Doctor Who. At The South Bank
Show Awards on 27 January 2006 Piper was awarded The Times Breakthrough
Award for her successful transition from singing to acting. In March 2006,
the Television and Radio Industries Club named Piper as best new TV talent
at their annual awards ceremony. In September 2006, Piper was named Best
Actress at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards.
In November 2005, Piper starred as Hero in a BBC adaptation of Much Ado
About Nothing, updated for the modern day in a similar manner to the
Canterbury Tales series in which she featured, with Hero now being a
weather presenter in a television station.
After the completion of the very successful first series of the revamped
Doctor Who, the British media regularly released conflicting reports about
how long Piper would be staying with the programme. In March 2006, she
claimed that she would continue on Doctor Who into its third season in
2007. On 10 May 2006, however, she was reported to be considering quitting
the series, although she did express an interest in playing a female
version of the Doctor in the future (possibly related to a proposed Doctor
Who spin-off series about Rose which was later dropped). On 15 June 2006,
the BBC announced that she was to depart in the final episode of the
second series, "Doomsday". Piper's decision to leave had been taken a year
previously, but remained a secret until news of her departure became
Piper has completed work on two stand-alone television productions. In the
first, a BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's historical novel The Ruby in
the Smoke broadcast in December 2006, Piper played protagonist Sally
Lockhart, a Victorian orphan. The BBC plans to film all four of Pullman's
Sally Lockhart novels, with Piper continuing in the role in The Shadow in
the North which was shown in December 2007. In 2007 she appeared as the
main character, Fanny Price, in an adaptation of Jane Austen's novel
Mansfield Park, screened on ITV1. This was her first acting role on
television for a broadcaster other than the BBC.
On 27 November 2007, the BBC confirmed that she would reprise her role as
Rose Tyler in the fourth Doctor Who series for three episodes. Later, it
was confirmed by Russell T Davies in Doctor Who Magazine that this return
had been planned since she left. It was also revealed in the "Turn Left"
Doctor Who Confidential that Billie had made arrangements to return as
Rose since she decided to leave.
The series began in April 2008, and after several cameos, Piper made her
official return as Rose in the series four final episodes "Turn Left",
"The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End". She did not initially state
whether she would be reprising the role again. Interviewed on Doctor Who
Confidential, she commented that "it's never really the end for the Doctor
and Rose", but "it's certainly the end for the foreseeable future". On 16
May 2009, however, it was reported that Piper would reprise her role as
Rose Tyler in the last of the 2009-10 Doctor Who specials.
Piper has provided voiceovers for various television commercials,
including one for Comfort Fabric Softener airing in June 2007.
Piper also stars as Hannah Baxter/Belle de Jour in Secret Diary of a Call
Girl, an ITV2 adaptation of Belle de Jour's The Intimate Adventures of a
London Call Girl, a memoir detailing the life of a high-class prostitute.
The series, which aired from 27 September 2007, saw Piper in several
semi-nude scenes, including one scene featuring her saddling a client and
riding him like a horse. As part of her prepration for the role Piper met
the real life Belle some two years before her identity as a research
scientist was revealed in a Sunday newspaper: "I absolutely had to meet
the person behind the words to be able to take the part ... People did ask
me about her and I just had to smile, to avoid giving anything away ...".
A second series, with Piper in the starring role, started filming in May
2008, during which two body doubles were hired in order to hide Billie's
pregnancy. The third series began airing in January 2010.
Piper will also share the role of Betty with Sue Johnston in the TV
adaptation of A Passionate Woman, due to be screened on BBC 1 in 2010
Piper made her stage debut in a touring production of Christopher
Hampton's play Treats, which opened in early 2007 in Windsor. Treats was
to have ended its tour in the West End, at the Garrick Theatre, starting
on 28 February 2007 with previews from 20 February. The play officially
finished as of 26 May.
Piper was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK to Paul Piper and Mandy Kent.
Piper has one younger brother, Charlie, and two younger sisters, Harley
Piper married businessman, DJ and television presenter Chris Evans in a
secret ceremony in May 2001 in Las Vegas after six months of dating. Their
marriage attracted much comment due to the sixteen-year age gap between
the two. The couple separated in 2004 and later divorced in May 2007. They
have remained friends.
A story in The Independent on 27 June 2006 stated that Piper has declared
that she does not wish to claim any money from Evans' reported £30m wealth
or his £540,000 salary from Radio Two. "I'm not taking a penny from him,"
she told the Radio Times, "I think that's disgusting." Piper also revealed
in her interview with Radio Times that she left her pop star career with
very little money. Evans has admitted that the age gap was a reason in
seeking the divorce.
Piper dated and lived with law student Amadu Sowe from 2004 to 2006.
Piper married actor Laurence Fox, son of James Fox, on 31 December 2007 at
St Mary's Church in Easebourne, West Sussex. They live in their home in
Easebourne, Midhurst in West Sussex. Their first child, Winston James Fox,
was born by an emergency Caesarean section at 1am on 21 October 2008,
following a 26-hour labour. In a later interview Piper revealed that
medical staff were concerned that Winston would suffer from oxygen
starvation if the birth was to continue as planned. Piper said, "they were
worried about him losing oxygen to his brain. I was like, 'Cut him out
Piper is close friends with fellow Doctor Who actor David Tennant.