Billie Piper - Biography & Career
Billie Paul Piper (born Leian Paul Piper on 22 September 1982) is an British actress. She began her career as a pop singer in her teens, but is now best known for portraying Rose Tyler, companion to the Doctor in the television series Doctor Who from 2005 to 2006. Her role in Doctor Who consolidated her status as a household name in the United Kingdom.
Piper's first break in the entertainment world came as a teenager, when she was selected to appear on the Saturday morning kids' television show Scratchy & Co. Piper later landed a role in a television commercial promoting the pop magazine Smash Hits. Her role was to run up to the camera, blow a bubblegum bubble and shout "Pop!" Soon after she 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 artist name "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. She released two further singles off the album, "She Wants You" and "Honey to the Bee"; both songs debuted at Number 3.
Piper then took a year off to record 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", but her success wasn't to continue. 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 final single off this album, was released in December 2000 and reached Number 25 in the UK Singles Chart. This proved to be Piper's last musical release, a low-key exit from the world of pop.
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 was reduced to tears after being viciously booed by jealous fans of Ritchie Neville, member of boyband Five, whom she was dating at the time.
In 2003, Piper decided to end her pop career and return to her original ambition, acting. She took acting lessons while living in Los Angeles and, still a high-profile figure, quickly earned roles in the BBC Television series The Canterbury Tales (modern retellings of Chaucer's stories) and the one-off drama Bella and the Boys.
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, she 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, released in the summer of 2005 to generally poor reviews.
In November 2005, she 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.
She will next work on a BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's historical novel The Ruby in the Smoke. Piper will play protagonist Sally Lockhart, a Victorian orphan. The BBC plans to film all four of Pullman's Sally Lockhart novels, presumably with Piper continuing in the role.
In 2007 she will appear as the main character, Fanny Price, in an adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, to be screened on ITV1. This will be her first acting role on television for a broadcaster other than the BBC.