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Billie Paul Piper (born Leian Paul Piper; 22 September 1982),[2] is an English singer and actress. Born and raised in Swindon, Wiltshire, she made her entertainment debut in Scratchy & Co. (1998), and at the age of fifteen signed a recording contract and released her debut single "Because We Want To", which debuted at number one in the UK, making Piper the youngest artist ever to debut at number one. The single was followed by Piper's album Honey to the B (1998), which was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) and platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). In 2000, Piper released her second album, Walk of Life. In 2003, Piper retired from the recording industry and launched a highly successful television career.[3]

Piper's transition into acting began in 2004. Her most famous role is as Rose Tyler, companion to The Doctor, in the television series Doctor Who on BBC from 2005 to 2006, a role she reprised in 2008,[4] 2010, and 2013.[5] In 2007, Broadcast magazine listed Piper at no. 6 in its "Hot 100" list of influential on-screen performers; she was the top woman on the list.[6][7] From 2007 until 2011, she starred as the high-flying escort Belle de Jour in the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She currently stars as Brona, an Irish immigrant, in the horror TV series Penny Dreadful.


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit][]

Leian Paul Piper was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. On 25 April 1983, her name was officially changed to Billie Paul Piper, by her parents, Paul Victor Piper and Mandy Kane Kent.[8] Piper has one younger brother, Charley, and two younger sisters, Harley and Elle.[9] She studied at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and Bradon Forest School.[10][11]


1998–2000: Honey to the B[edit][]

Piper's career began when she was selected to appear on the Saturday morning children's television show Scratchy & Co. Piper later landed a role in a television commercial promoting the pop magazineSmash Hits. Piper was offered a record deal at the age of 15, 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".[12] Her follow-up single "Girlfriend" also debuted at number one.

Her debut album Honey to the B was released immediately afterwards, and debuted and peaked at Number 14 in the UK album charts, selling more than three million copies in the UK alone along with a Platinum certification, and a 2x Platinum certification in New Zealand, where it reached No. 3. However, Honey to the B found limited success in other territories, such as Australia where it debuted and peaked at No. 31 despite the success of "Honey to the Bee", and in the US it almost went completely unnoticed, peaking at No. 17 on the Heatseekers.

At the 1998 Smash Hits Poll Winners' party, she was nominated for Best New Act (for which she came second, it being won by B*Witched) and won Princess of Pop (she was the first to win this award). She then released "She Wants You" as the third single from the album. The song reached No.3. "Honey to the Bee" was released as the fourth single from the album; like the previous single, it reached No.3. At the same time, "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 two awards at the 1999 Smash Hits Poll Winners' party, although at the latter ceremony she was reduced to tears after being booed by fans ofRitchie Neville, member of boy band Five, who Piper 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. In August of that year, the follow-up to "Because We Want To" was released in Japan, a single comprising "Girlfriend" and "She Wants You" combined. She recorded a song for Pokémon: The First Movie titled "Makin' My Way (Any Way That I Can)".[13]

2000–03: Walk of Life and musical retirement[edit][]

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 her third number one single "Day & Night". She waited until 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, but quickly fell off the charts and was certified Silver in the UK. The album only charted in two other countries, New Zealand where it reached No. 17 only, and in Australia where it was a minor success, peaking at No. 23. In Piper's autobiography, she states the album was a 'commercial bomb'. 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.

In 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.[14] 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."

In 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.[15]The campaign was successful, with "Honey to the Bee" re-entering the official UK singles chart at No. 17, eight years after it was first released.

2004–07: Transition to acting and Doctor Who[edit][]

Main articles: Doctor Who and Rose Tyler

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 film Spirit Trap alongside Russian pop star Alsou, released in August 2005 to generally poor reviews. 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.

[1][2]Billie Piper and David Tennantfilming Doctor Who in Penarth.

Doctor Who originally ran from 1963 to 1989. In the autumn of 2003, it was announced that the series would be resurrected beginning in 2005; the casting of Piper as Rose Tyler, a travelling companion to The Doctor (to be played by Christopher Eccleston), was announced in May 2004. Piper won the Most Popular Actress category at the 2005 and 2006 National Television Awards for her work on Doctor Who.[16] 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 in January 2006 Piper was awarded The Times Breakthrough Award for her successful transition from singing to acting. In March, the Television and Radio Industries Club named Piper as best new TV talent at their annual awards ceremony. In September, Piper was named Best Actress at the TV Quick and TV Choice Awards.[17]

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 series in 2007.[18] In May, 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).[19] In June, the BBC announced that she was to depart in the final episode of the second series, "Doomsday".[20] Piper's decision to leave had been taken a year previously, but remained a secret until news of her departure became public.[21]

In 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 Magazinethat this return had been planned since she left. It was also revealed in the "Turn LeftDoctor Who Confidential that Billie had made arrangements to return as Rose since she decided to leave.

The series began in April 2008,[4] 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".[22] She reprised her role as Rose Tyler in "The End of Time", the last of the 2009–10 Doctor Who specials.[23] In January 2013 Piper confirmed on the Graham Norton Show that the producers had not asked her to take part in an episode for the show's 50th anniversary;[24] however, in March 2013 the BBC announced that she would be returning to Doctor Who for the special alongsideDavid TennantMatt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman.[5]

2007–11: Secret Diary of a Call Girl[edit][]

Main articles: Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Hannah Baxter

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 along with Matt Smith playing Jim Taylor. 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. Piper made her stage debut in a touring production of Christopher Hampton's play Treats, which opened in early 2007 in WindsorTreats was to have ended its tour in the West End, at the Garrick Theatre, starting in February 2007 with previews. The play officially closed in May.[25] In 2007 she appeared as the main character, Fanny Price, in an adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, screened on ITV1.[26] This was her first acting role on television for a broadcaster other than the BBC.

Piper also starred as Hannah Baxter in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, an ITV2 adaptation of Brooke Magnanti's The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, a memoir detailing the life of a high-class prostitute who adopted "Belle de Jour" as her pseudonym. The series, which aired from September 2007, saw Piper in several semi-nude scenes.[27] As part of her preparation for the role Piper met the memoir's author 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...".[28] A second season, with Piper again in the starring role, started filming in May 2008, during which two body doubles were hired to hide Piper's pregnancy during the sex scenes.[29][30] The third season began airing in January 2010.[31]

In January 2010, tying in with the broadcast of the third season and following on from the real Belle de Jour confirming her real identity, ITV2 broadcast an interview special, Billie and the Real Belle Bare Allwhich saw Piper meeting with Dr Brooke Magnanti on-camera for the first time.[32] Piper has provided voice-overs for various television commercials, including one for Comfort fabric-softener airing in June 2007, and Debenhams airing 2011. Piper has also shared the role of Betty with Sue Johnston in the two-part TV adaptation of A Passionate Woman, screened on BBC 1 in April 2010.[33][34] Piper was confirmed in May 2011 to join the cast of an upcoming romance-comedy film directed by Robin Sheppard titled Truth about Lies.[35][dated info]


Piper played Carly in the UK premiere of reasons to be pretty at the Almeida Theatre, running from November 2011 to January 2012. It opened in November 2011 to press, and received critical acclaim with reviewers claiming it was "one of the better [theatre productions] I have seen".[36] The Guardian, The Observer, Daily Mail, London Evening Standard, Metro, The Times, The Telegraph, Time Out, The Arts Desk, Daily Express and The Financial Times all gave the production rave reviews with a minimum of four stars.[37][not in citation given] BBC Radio 4 reviewed the show live, applauding Piper as "[f]antastic, completely brilliant. Her performance is so convincing and moving, an absolutely terrific performance".[38] The Jewish Chronicle hailed Billie Piper's performance as second to none, being the best of the night, and stating that "[n]o actor can cry more convincingly than Piper", giving the show four stars.[39]

In August 2012, it was reported that Piper would make her National Theatre debut in a play by Secret Diary of a Call Girl creator Lucy Prebble titled The Effect, which ran from November 2012 to February 2013. Within days of the opening preview nights the show received critical acclaim, focusing primarily on Piper's 'outstanding' performance.[40] The play went on to become the most critically acclaimed show of the season with Billie going on to be nominated for the What's on Stage 'Best Actress' award for her work in The Effect. The play was also nominated for 'Best New Play' and 'Best Set Designer'.[41][42]Due to success and demand, the show was extended for a further month and an online ePetition was started for the show to be added to the National Theatre's Live Programming.[43] In 2013, Piper was nominated for "Best Actress" at the Olivier Awards and Evening Standard Theatre Awards for The Effect.[44][45]


On 11 May, Showtime aired a new horror series called Penny Dreadful in which Piper plays Brona Croft, a poor Irish immigrant who is trying to escape a dark past.[46] On May 29, Piper appeared alongsideBen Whishaw in the Playhouse Presents television special Foxtrot.[47]

She is now starring in Great Britain at the Royal National Theatre.

Personal life[edit][]

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 because Evans is 16 years older.[48] The couple separated in 2004 and later divorced in May 2007.[49] They have remained friends.[50]

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.[51] Evans has admitted that the age gap was a reason in seeking the divorce.[52] Piper dated and lived with law student Amadu Sowe from 2004 to 2006.[50]

Piper married actor Laurence Fox in December 2007 at St Mary's Church in Easebourne, West Sussex.[53] They live in Easebourne, Midhurst in West Sussex.[54] Their first son, Winston James, was born in October 2008, via emergency C-section after a 30-hour labour.[55][56] They had a second son, Eugene Pip, in April 2012.[57]


Year Film Role Notes
1996 Evita uncredited bit-part
1996 The Leading Man uncredited bit-part
2004 The Calcium Kid Angel
2005 Things To Do Before You're 30 Vicky
2005 Spirit Trap Jenny
2010 Animals United Bonnie the Meerkat Animated film
2010 The Raven[58] Raven Short Film


Year TV series Role Notes
1999 Billie Wants You Herself One-off documentary special.
2002 Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings Painted-by-Numbers Contestant
2003 The Canterbury TalesThe Miller's Tale Alison Crosby
2004 Bella and the Boys Bella Main Actor
2005–06, 2008, 2010, 2013 Doctor Who Rose Tyler[23]

The Moment

Main character in series 1-2, recurring in series 4. Appeared in 32 episodes, and 3 specials.

BBC's Best Actress of 2005, 2006 BBC's Most Desirable Star of 2005 National Television Award for Most Popular Actress (2005, 2006) SFX Award for Best TV Actress (2005, 2007) TV Quick Award for Best Actress (2006) TRIC Award for New TV Talent (2006, also for ShakespeaRe-Told) Nominated—BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actress (2005, 2006) Nominated—Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress (2006, also for ShakespeaRe-Told)

2005 ShakespeaRe-ToldMuch Ado About Nothing Hero TRIC Award for New TV Talent (2006, also for Doctor Who)

Nominated—Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress (2006, also for Doctor Who)

2006 The Ruby in the Smoke Sally Lockhart From the Sally Lockhart mysteries.
2007 Top Gear Herself Series 9, Episode 6.
2007 Mansfield Park Fanny Price Main character
2007 The Shadow in the North Sally Lockhart From the Sally Lockhart mysteries.
2007–11 Secret Diary of a Call Girl Hannah Baxter Principal character until 2011.

Nominated for an Ewwy Award for Best Actress

2010 A Passionate Woman Betty Two-part TV mini-series.
2012 True Love[59] Holly One episode
2014 Penny Dreadful[60] Brona Croft Main character
2014 Playhouse Presents: Foxtrot[61] Badger Playhouse Presents special


Year Title Role Theatre Notes
2007 Treats Ann Garrick Theatre Nominated—Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress[62]
2011–12 Reasons to be pretty Carly Almeida Theatre
2012–13 The Effect Connie National Theatre, London Nominated— Awards for The DIGITAL THEATRE Best Actress in a Play

Nominated—Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play

2014 Great Britain Paige National Theatre

Awards and nominations[edit][]

  • 1998 – Smash Hits Awards: Princess of Pop
  • 1999 – Smash Hits Awards: Best Female
  • 1999 – Smash Hits Awards: Best Dressed Female
  • 1999 – Smash Hits Awards: Best Female Act
  • 2005 – The National Television Awards: Most Popular Actress
  • 2005 – BBC Face Of The Year
  • 2005 – BBC Drama Awards: Best Actress
  • 2006 – The South Bank Show Awards: The Times Breakthrough Award – Rising British Talent
  • 2006 – TV Choice/TV Quick Awards: Best Actress
  • 2006 – The National Television Awards: Most Popular Actress
  • 2006 – BBC Drama Awards: Best Actress
  • 2006 – Tric Awards: Best New Talent
  • 2006 – GQ Magazine Awards: Woman of the Year
  • 2006 – BBC Drama Awards: Exit of the year
  • 2011 – Glamour's UK Actress of the Year


Main article: Billie Piper discography*Honey to the B (1998)