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Series: Secret Diary of a Call Girl
Charming, perky, and Not Safe for Work.

"The first thing you should know about me is that I'm a whore."

A very sexy TV series starring Billie Piper. The show is based on the tell-all blog and later memoirs of the real Belle de Jour (aka Brooke Magnanti, PhD.), a cancer scientist who became a call girl to pay off her university debts. (In typical British fashion, when the author's identity was revealed, the university that she worked for barely blinked an eye.)

Hannah is every bit the usual young single professional: educated, sophisticated, and a bit reserved. But unbeknownst to her family, she's not actually a legal secretary. She works as Belle de Jour, a glamorous call girl with a massive price tag who adores her job. Along with her male best friend Ben (who has resigned himself to Belle's profession) and her rather over-eager sex-worker-in-training protegee Bambi, we get to see Hannah/Belle navigate her work, taking care of finances, dealing with customer retention and satisfaction issues, and attending interviews for "promotion". So basically, a Work Com meets Sex and the City. And yes, this is a post-watershed show, so be prepared for tits, ass, cocks, and fetishes a plenty.

Belle loves her job, and has no moral qualms with sleeping with men who are in monogamous relationships — after all, she always cheated on her boyfriends as well. But her own wants and needs still make it difficult for her at times to stay professional. Throughout the series, she struggles with catering to fetishes she's not into, she finds it hard to make normal friends, she occasionally skips out on clients, and keeping everything a secret from her family isn't always easy.

Drew the ire of some critics and feminists for glamourizing the sex industry and showing it as safe and prestigious, while glossing over the drugs, violence, and exploitation that plague the trade. Other feminists praised the show for its powerful female character who is completely unashamed of her sexuality and uses it totally to suit her ends, though not always in an entirely ethical way.


This show provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In series 4, episode 5, Belle posts a notice on her website saying "Call now for a classic English Rose.". This is an allusion to her role as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who.
  • Betty and Veronica: The series finale has elements of this, with Belle faced with choosing between Ben (Betty) and Harry (Veronica). In the end, she chooses neither.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Belle De Jour": "beauty of the day".
  • Big Applesauce: In episode 5 of season 4, Belle travels to New York to consider an offer to make a movie based on her book. She enjoys shopping and the city, too.
  • Blatant Lie: The title, since it claims to be a "Secret Diary", but it's based on a blog, which is about as non-secret as you can get.
  • Character Development: From series two we see a drastic change in Belle/Hannah's outlook on life as a call girl, and the less glamorous side is further investigated.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bambi and Byron disappear from the show without any explanation after the conclusion of season 3.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ben is a Type 2 for Hannah, though he begins taking on Type 1 aspects during Season 3. This works out for him at the beginning of season 4, but does not last.
  • Dominatrix: Charlotte (Gemma Chan).
  • Downer Ending: Belle ultimately decides that she can't reconcile her job as an escort with a stable relationship. The final scene has her breaking up with Ben, believing he deserves better, and tearfully walking off into the night.
  • English Rose: The trope is referenced in season 4, episode 5 when Belle puts an ad on her website "Call now for a classic English Rose" when she's staying in New York. As a pretty Englishwoman, she sure can fulfill this dream of meeting a classy, petite, fair-skinned and fair-haired English girl to her customers. And even though as Hannah, she is an all around nice girl and intelligent, her job as a call girl and her glamorous, sexy appearance are quite far from the ideal of wholesome beauty.
  • Ethical Slut: Mistress Sirona. Belle is a bit shocked, and a bit uncomfortable, when she learns just how easy open relationships can be. She herself always cheated on her boyfriends and has no qualms about sleeping with people without their wives and girlfriends knowing, so a completely ethical open relationship is a very alien idea for her.
  • Fanservice: It's Showtime and ITV, what do you expect?
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Billie Piper was pregnant during filming of the second series. It wouldn't make much sense to have a pregnancy written in, so they instead put her in unflattering and baggy dresses, and used body doubles for the more intimate scenes. It is actually quite noticeable if you know to look for it.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Belle.
  • Idiot Ball: In series 4, episode 4, Belle swaps clients with Charlotte, a dominatrix who has been showing great discontent with Belle being her temporary boss. Then she's clearly surprised and outraged that said client is an autonepiophilist.
  • Imagine Spot: A recurring element of the series.
  • Lipstick and Load Montage: The opening credits.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: During a fairy-tale-themed orgy Bambi, dressed up as Red Riding Hood, saves Belle from getting raped by another guest using her own partner's handgun (a literal Chekhov's Gun, in fact).
  • Logical Fallacies:
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Belle becomes a writer and writes a hit book about her work.
  • No Fourth Wall: What is this "fourth wall" of which you speak?
  • Out with a Bang: Sort of. One of Belle's clients dies during a vampire role play... while lying in a coffin.
  • Pie in the Face: Belle gets one of these in series 3, thanks to a client who's into "sploshing."
  • Pretty in Mink: One episode has her wearing a short, white rabbit cape.
  • Racist Grandma: Belle's great-aunt. "I don't buy from catalogues anymore. They're all owned by Jews."
  • Secret Identity:
    • The main character goes by her real name "Hannah" in everyday life and "Belle" for her work as a call girl.
    • "Bambi" is also an alias. In season 3, her real name is revealed to be Gloria.
  • Sex Montage: Naturally.
  • Shout-Out: Belle de Jour was a French movie from the '60s about a bored housewife who decides to become a prostitute during the day while her husband is at work. The reference, both in Real Life and in the show, is most likely intentional.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Byron, though he is shown to genuinely love and care for Bambi.
  • Undisclosed Funds: For the first half of series 1, until she reveals that she earns 105,000/year.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution
  • Work Com: For the sex-trade, or at least the higher echelons thereof.
  • Write What You Know: Belle writes about her working life and her book gets published.
  • Writer's Block: Belle sometimes lacks inspiration for her second book.
  • You Need to Get Laid: From Bambi to Belle, no less.

Ray DonovanCreator/ShowtimeShameless
The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne ListerBritish SeriesThe Secret Show

alternative title(s): Secret Diary Of A Call Girl
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