'Doctor Who' Star Billie Piper Has A New Role Whovians Will Love & More Post-'Doctor' Projects
Likely thanks to the efforts of passionate Whovians, former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper has been in the news recently, after the readers of the science fiction and fantasy magazine SFX rated her farewell scene from the series as the greatest moment in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. Piper played Rose Tyler, a 19-year-old south London girl who traveled all of space and time with the Doctor, an alien from the planet Gallifrey. (Potential spoilers ahead.) She was the first companion of the Doctor Who reboot in 2005, so she accompanied both the ninth doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, and the tenth doctor, played by David Tennant. Rose was so devoted to the Doctor that it was devastating when they were forced to separate after she was transported to a different universe. Despite coming back on the show for some guest spots, her last regular appearance as the Doctor's companion was in 2006 — so, what has she been up to since then?
After Doctor Who, Piper starred in the British TV show Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Piper played the titular call girl that goes by the pseudonym Belle. And of course, because the world is generous and good, Matt Smith (the eleventh Doctor) was in an episode where Belle is taking a break from her call girl job and is having a hard time adjusting to regular dating.
Along with other small TV and movie appearances, Piper has had well-received performances on the British stage, including plays written by Neil LaBute and Lucy Prebble (who also wrote Diary of a Call Girl). She's receiving good reviews again in her latest play, Great Britain , which opened on June 30 and runs until August 29 at London's National Lyttelton Theatre.
Piper also just wrapped up Season 1 of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, acting alongside Josh Hartnett. The show has supernatural and fantasy elements, so it could be worth watching for a Doctor Who fan. She also plays a sex worker like in Diary of a Call Girl, so she might be going through some strange type of typecasting. Penny Dreadful was picked up for a second season and based on the first season finale, there’s a good chance Piper will return to the show.
As for her other appearances on Doctor Who, she returned to help the Doctor and his companion Donna. At the end of that storyline, Rose got what she wanted — a part-human replica of the Doctor to spend her life with. She also returned for Tennant's last episode as the Doctor.
But it was truly fantastic to see both Piper and Tennant (how we've missed you, Tennant!) come back for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special this past November. Instead of appearing as Rose, she played the physical representation of the most dangerous and forbidden weapon of Gallifrey — the Moment. Piper got to play against John Hurt’s Doctor (not a bad gig), but it was sad not to see Tennant and Piper interact. But hey, they're both so good at their roles that I believed they didn't see each other when they were in the same room.
Piper also had a career before Doctor Who. Now good little Doctor Who fans probably already knew that their beloved Rose was a 90s teen pop star — known simply as Billie — before becoming a companion. Her single “Because We Want To” debuted at number 1 on the UK charts. The gem of the music video has some oddly Doctor Who-esque qualities.
“Because We Want To” was also the theme song of the 1999 Women’s World Cup. How do I know that? While watching her musics videos, I had a flashback of jamming out in my bedroom wearing butterfly clips in my hair and glitter on my body to another Billie song called “She Wants You." Which led to me finding this in my attic(!!):
Woah. I own this. I probably bought this in the same Tower Records trip as the B*Witched single "C'est la Vie" (which is apparently about sex! My 12-year-old world is crashing down on me!).
So, hopefully we'll be seeing more of Piper in Penny Dreadful, but if you really need your Rose fix (and can't make it to London to see her live onstage), you can always watch the fantastic scene that topped the SFX list over and over again.