Pay­ing the Piper

Bil­lie Piper’s lat­est role has her shed­ding both in­hi­bi­tions and clothes

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

BIL­LIE Piper knew play­ing a high class hooker would shock view­ers. But the only re­ac­tion she wor­ried about was her fa­ther’s. Be­fore the new Chan­nel 9 se­ries, aired in the UK, Piper had a heart-to-heart talk with her fa­ther. ‘‘I spoke to my fa­ther be­cause he’s a builder and he’s of­ten in builders’ pubs,’’ Piper says. ‘‘I thought I should warn him it may be tough for a while.’’ The se­ries has her in a menage a trois. She also ap­pears nude. The eight-part se­ries is based on the siz­zling book Di­ary of a Call Girl, Se­cret Belle De Jour: The In­ti­mate Ad­ven­tures of a Lon­don Call Girl. Far from por­tray­ing the seedy side of pros­ti­tu­tion, it tells the story of a woman who is happy with her pro­fes­sion. Which has caused more than a few prob­lems for fathers other than Piper’s. So of­ten film and tele­vi­sion gives a skewed per­spec­tive of real life. Thanks to the movie many born in the late ’70s or early ’80s dreamed about a ca­reer as a fighter pi­lot. Se­cret Di­ary of a Call Girl is hav­ing a sim­i­lar ef­fect. Af­ter the se­ries aired, Glasgow es­cort agen­cies re­ported the num­ber of women sign­ing up went from two or three a week to that many a day. The drama se­ries led many women to be­lieve the work was all about cham­pagne, glam­our and big money. ‘‘They think it’s one big party— that they’ll make thou­sands of pounds a week and be flown to Paris at week­ends,’’ a source says.

THE se­ries also stars Cherie Lunghi as Belle’s pimp and 1980s pop star Toyah Wil­cox as her mother. ‘‘I did a lot of re­search for the role,’’ Piper re­veals. ‘‘I met call­girls and the real Belle. She’s very in­ter­est­ing.’’ Piper ad­mits she’s prud­ish, but that didn’t stop her giv­ing the part her all. To pre­pare for the show she worked hard to get in shape. ‘‘I was just very aware of the fact that I was go­ing to be naked a lot of the time and I didn’t want to have to think about that as well as the fact I was do­ing end­less sex scenes. So I did quite a bit of run­ning,’’ Piper says. ‘‘The sex scenes were tough, but you go into a trance-like state.’’ How­ever, the ac­tor soon got used strip­ping on set. ‘‘It be­came nor­mal,’’ she says. ‘‘I would sit in my un­der­wear and chat to peo­ple.’’ Apart from glam­ouris­ing what in truth is a very unglam­orous in­dus­try, Piper was wor­ried her top­less scenes may have blown her chances of mak­ing it big in Hol­ly­wood. When the se­ries aired in the US it pulled record view­ing fig­ures. Piper, 25, feared she went too far for some Amer­i­cans. ‘‘Some­one said the other day, rather vi­ciously, ‘What A-list stars get their t--s out?’ ‘‘And then I started think­ing, ‘Oh, my God, what have I done? I’ve ru­ined my fu­ture ca­reer’. ‘‘You know, you get pho­tographed on the beach top­less. Af­ter all, they’re only breasts.’’ Piper seems to have packed a life­time into her years — from a teen pop star, a six-year mar­riage to busi­ness­man and DJ Chris Evans, a star­ring role on a sec­ond mar­riage, and now the star­ring role in Doc­tor Who, Di­ary of a Call Girl. Top Gun, to Se­cret

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