Billie Paul Piper (born Leian Paul Piper in Swindon, England, September 22, 1982) is an English actress and former singer, as well as the only full-time Doctor Who companion to have three UK number-one hits to her name. She is notable for her dyed blonde hair and distinct black eyebrows.
Piper started out as an actress but moved into singing, with "Because We Want To" making her (at fifteen) the youngest singer to debut at No. 1. After two more, her star faded somewhat — but in the middle of a lot of chaos, she married British presenter Chris Evans (no, not that Chris Evans). The marriage lasted for six years, and the two remain good friends.
In 2003, she returned to acting, appearing in a modern version of The Miller's Tale (from The Canterbury Tales). In 2004, she was cast in the revived Doctor Who as Rose Tyler, one of the many companions, and the first one when the TV show returned from its hiatus in 2005. She reappeared as Rose after her 2006 departure in the last three episodes of the 2008 season, made a cameo in David Tennant's final episode, and portrayed "The Moment", the sentient interface of the weapon the War Doctor used to (supposedly) destroy Gallifrey in the 50th Anniversary episode, "The Day of the Doctor".
After her departure from Who, she made further screen appearances, most notably as Sally Lockhart in two film adaptations (alongside Matt Smith) as well as Secret Diary of a Call Girl (where Matt Smith also showed up). Her first non-BBC TV role was as the star of ITV's adaptation of Mansfield Park. She also gave a critically-praised performance in Neil LaBute's play Reasons to Be Pretty, and made her debut at the National Theatre in The Effect. She subsequently starred in the Showtime Gothic Horror series Penny Dreadful as tubercular sex worker Brona Croft. In 2016-7, she reached new heights of critical praise as a theatre actor in the very demanding main role of Federico García Lorca's play Yerma. For this role, she won just about every British stage acting award and several American ones, and received the distinction of being the only actress to have won six out of an available six Best Actress awards in British theatre for a single performancenote .
She grew beyond acting with the romantic black comedy film Rare Beasts, which she wrote and directed in addition to playing a major role in. In 2020, she co-created the TV series I Hate Suzie with Lucy Prebble, the main writer of Secret Diary of a Call Girl, in which she plays an actress whose life spirals out of control after a sex-tape scandal — many reviewers noted the parallels between the fictional Suzie's career and Piper's own.
Piper also appeared on Top Gear as a "star in a reasonably priced car," where she confessed a love of classic cars and then drove round the track in an impressive 1 minute, 48.3 seconds.note
She married actor Laurence Fox in December 2007; with him, she has two sons, Winston James and Eugene Pip. They divorced in 2016. She began dating musician Johnny Lloyd the same year; with him, she has one daughter, Tallulah.
- Honey to the B (1998)
- Walk of Life (2000)
- The Best of Billie (2005)
- Doctor Who (2005 — 2006, 2008, 2010) as Rose Tyler
- "The Day of the Doctor" (2013) as "The Moment"
- The Ruby in the Smoke (2006) as Sally Lockhart
- The Shadow in the North (2007)
- Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007 — 2011) as Hannah Baxter
- Animals United (2010) as Bonnie (voice role; 2010)
- Penny Dreadful (2014 — 2016) as Brona Croft / Lily Frankenstein
- Collateral (2018) as Karen Mars
- I Hate Suzie (2020 — 2022) as Suzie Pickles
- Catherine Called Birdy (2022) as Lady Aislinn
Tropes associated with her:
- Gender-Blender Name: Not just her forename, but her middle name as well (Paul).
- Although "Billie" is the female version of "Billy," but it sounds no different.
- I Am Not Spock: Billie Piper says she is often mistaken for Belle du Jour.
- Ms. Fanservice: Ms. Piper is not shy about appearing in (and out of) sexy outfits.
- Old Shame: She's not going to be belting out into "Because We Want To" anytime soon.note
- Transatlantic Equivalent: Ever since Doctor Who and Secret Diary started to pick up steam in terms of popularity in the U.S., more than a few American papers have described her as a British version of Britney Spears. However, since she's had more success as an actress than as a singer, Brie Larson might be a better comparison.