Piper in October 2006, at a book signing for Growing Pains
22 September 1982
Swindon, Wiltshire, UK
|Years active||1998–2001 (singing)
Secret Diary of a Call Girl
(m. 2001–2007, divorced)
She began her career in the late 1990s as a pop singer. Later on, she moved to acting. Her most famous role is as Rose Tyler, a companion to the Doctor in the television series Doctor Who. She played this role from 2005 to 2006, and also reprised it in 2008 and 2010.
Piper's first chance in the entertainment world came when she was a teenager, when she was selected to appear on the Saturday morning kids' television show Scratchy and Co. Piper later got a role in a television commercial promoting the pop magazine Smash Hits. In 1996 she sang on a backing song Nobody's Business. It was a dance track by h20. Soon after she was offered a record deal at the age of fifteen, and in 1998 became the youngest artist ever to start at number one in the UK Singles Chart with "Because We Want To", released under the artist name "Billie". Her follow-up single "Girlfriend" also started at number one and her first album, Honey to the B (released immediately afterwards) started at Number 14 in the UK album charts. She released two further singles off the album, "She Wants You" and "Honey to the B"; both songs started at Number 3.
Piper then took a year to record her second album. She decided to release more 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", but her success was not to carry on. She waited until the following September to release "Something Deep Inside". That reached Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. 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 last single off this album, was released in December 2000 and reached Number 25 in the UK Singles Chart.
In 1999, Piper was nominated for two BRIT Awards and was named Best Female Star at the Smash Hits Poll Winners' party, although at the latter ceremony she began crying after being nastily booed by jealous fans of Ritchie Neville, member of boyband Five, whom she was dating at the time.
On 15 January 2007, BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles started a campaign to get "Honey to the B" 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 #17, eight years after it was first released.
Piper prefers lip singing during performances. She backs this up with the reason that she is afraid she would not be able to sing live. However, in 1999 she decided to try actually singing during her tour in America. The audience loved it, but Piper said it made her too nervous to do it in Britain, where she had many more fans.[source?]
After an extended break, Piper decided to end her pop career in 2003 and return to her first ambition, acting. She took acting lessons while living in London. Piper gained very good reviews for these appearances and critics said that she was a far better actress than she was a singer.
In 2004, Piper appeared in the movies 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 was one of the main characters in the horror movie Spirit Trap alongside Russian pop star Alsou, released in the summer of 2005 to bad reviews.
In May 2004, it was announced that Piper was to play the character Rose Tyler, companion to The Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, in the long-running BBC television series Doctor Who, beginning in 2005. 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.
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 public.
On 27 November 2007, the BBC confirmed that she would return her role as Rose Tyler in the fourth 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 has not said whether she will be reprising the role again, although on Doctor Who Confidential she said that she thinks "It's never really the end for the Doctor and Rose" but it probably was "for the foreseeable future".
In November 2005, Piper starred as Hero in a BBC adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, updated for the modern day like in Canterbury Tales series in which she featured, with Hero now being a weather presenter in a television station.
Piper has completed work on a BBC version of Philip Pullman's historical novel The Ruby in the Smoke broadcast in December 2006, Piper played main character 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.
Piper has provided voiceovers for various television commercials, including one for Comfort Fabric Softener airing in June 2007.
Piper stars in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, an ITV2 version 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 a lesbian romp and one scene featuring her saddling a client and riding him like a horse. A second series, with Piper in the starring role, started filming in May 2008, during which two body doubles were hired in order to effectively hide Piper's pregnancy.
Piper made her first stage appearance 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 on 20 February. The play officially finished as of 26 May.
Awards and nominations [change]
- 1999 - Smash Hits Awards: Best Female
- 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
- 2006 - Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: Best Actress
(role in Doctor Who & ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing)
- 2006 - BAFTA Cymru Awards: Best Actress
- 2007 - TV Choice/TV Quick Awards:Best Actress Mansfield Park
- 2008 - Rose d'Or: Special Award for Best Entertainer (for Secret Diary of a Call Girl).
- Piper, Billie (2007), p.74.
- "Billie Piper to return to Doctor Who". BBC News Online. 2007-11-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7114699.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-27.
- Tye, Stephanie (2007-01-17). "Billiein the charts again". Swindon Advertiser. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/swindonnewsheadlines/display.var.1128777.0.billie_in_the_charts_again.php. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- "Dr Who scores TV awards hat-trick". BBC News (bbc.co.uk). 2006-10-31. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6104048.stm. Retrieved 2006-10-31.
- "Doctor Who lands three TV awards". BBC News. 2006-09-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5314890.stm. Retrieved 2006-09-05.
- Dermody, Nick (2006-03-30). "Third series for Dr Who and Rose". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4858010.stm. Retrieved 2006-03-30.
- "Billie Piper to be the first female Doctor Who?". Fametastic. 2006-05-10. http://fametastic.co.uk/archive/20060510/1210/billie-piper-to-be-the-first-female-doctor-who/. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Billie Piper to leave Doctor Who". BBC. 2006-06-15. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5082668.stm. Retrieved 2006-06-15.
- "Cover Girl Billie". BBC. 2006-06-27. http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/news/cult/news/drwho/2006/06/23/33250.shtml. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
- Dooks, Brian (2006-08-16). "Historic hall to host Austen adaptation". Yorkshire Post. http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1698316. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
- "Call-girl Billie's steamy onscreen ménage à trois". Daily Mail. 2007-09-26. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/showbiz/showbiznews.html?in_article_id=484047&in_page_id=1773. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- "Billie leaves Entourage behind", The Guardian, 2007-09-28. Retrieved on 2007-09-28.
- Calvi, Nuala (22 December 2006). "Piper breaks into the West End with Hampton's Treats". The Stage. http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/15466/piper-breaks-into-the-west-end-with-hamptons.
- Staff writer (2008-02-28). "Nominees Announced for Rose d’Or Festival". World Screen. http://www.worldscreen.com/newscurrent.php?filename=rose022808.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-01.