Hol­low ring to Belle’s night out

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

Se­cret Di­ary of a Call Girl 10.30pm, Nine

BASED on the book In­ti­mate Ad­ven­tures of a Lon­don Call Girl by Belle de Jour, Se­cret Di­ary of a Call Girl is any­thing but a no- holds­barred look into the life of a Lon­don pros­ti­tute.

I sus­pect it’s been sani­tised a fair bit from the orig­i­nal, to put it mildly. It’s a bit like Sex and the City , but Belle, played by Bil­lie Piper, is rather less pro­mis­cu­ous than the women in that show and it ap­pears there are some things she just won’t do.

There are other dif­fer­ences be­tween this and Sex and the City. For one, Piper does her nar­ra­tion di­rect to cam­era, while Sarah Jes­sica Parker does hers as voice- over, of­ten as the script for her col­umns. And of course, this is Lon­don, not New York.

Tonight’s episode be­gins with Belle throw­ing a few es­sen­tials into her bag, and it’s here that Piper slides mo­men­tar­ily into her Doc­tor Who com­pan­ion role. What woman would walk out of her home with hand­cuffs, con­doms, spare pants — and a sonic screw­driver — in her bag?

The fastest grow­ing mar­ket is the ‘‘ girl­friend for a night’’ ser­vice, she says as she goes to meet a man called Ash who, it ap­pears, is mar­ried but he and his wife haven’t had sex for five years.

Then she flashes her tak­ings at the cam­era: 1500 good rea­sons to do the night shift.

She drifts down out of cam­era shot, his head jerks back. One or­gasm down, 10 hours to go.

Ash bleats about peo­ple at work and you be­gin to sym­pa­thise with his wife.

So the rules are: keep the con­ver­sa­tion light; no pol­i­tics, no global warm­ing and no ask­ing the client too many ques­tions about his sex life.

When they get down to it, the sex is in soft fo­cus al­though there is the odd glimpse of Piper’s nip­ples to keep you in­ter­ested.

Some rhyth­mic breath­ing, then she’s read­ing a novel and, later, wan­der­ing around like a Dalek looking for an er­rant Time Lord’s hap­less as­sis­tant.

She can’t sleep. Why not? Pre­sum­ably she’s been in the sack all day get­ting ready for the night shift while he’s been out work­ing for the man to earn her 1500 quid.

She dis­ap­pears, leav­ing him a note say­ing she’s gone to get a fag.

Soon she’s dou­ble dip­ping with an­other client on old Ash’s time.

Cut to Ash sleep­ing soundly. Fi­nally, some drama: Ash cuck­olded by a hooker. Makes you won­der what his wife is up to.

Jonathan Porter

Ash but no fire: Bil­lie Piper in Se­cret Di­ary of a Call Girl

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