Mostly Credited As: Billie Piper
Sometimes Credited As: Billie
Billie Paul Piper
Leian Paul Piper
Birth Name: Lianne Paul Piper
Date Of Birth: September 22, 1982 (Age 31)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Height: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
Piper's first break in the entertainment world came as a teenager, when she was selected for a TV commercial promoting the pop bible Smash Hits. Her role was to run up to the camera, blow a bubble and shout "Pop!" Soon after she was offered a record deal at the age of just fifteen, and in 1998 became the youngest artist ever to debut at number one in the UK singles chart with "Because We Want To". Her follow-up single "Girlfriend" also débuted at Number One, and several other successful singles and two albums followed. 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 5ive, whom she was dating at the time.
Piper married businessman and television presenter Chris Evans in May 2001 in Las Vegas. Their marriage attracted much comment due to the sixteen-year age gap between the two. In October 2004, the two began a trial separation. In spring of 2005 it was confirmed that she and Evans would be divorcing. The two remain friends, and in November 2005 Piper was a guest on the first episode of her ex-husband's show OFI Sunday. As of 2006 Piper and Evans live two houses away from each other.
She switched back to her original ambition of acting in 2003 after the self-made decision to end her pop career. Still a high-profile figure, she 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. Despite the negative reaction usually given to singers who attempt to act, Piper gained very positive reviews for these appearances, critics seemingly feeling that she was a far better actress than she was a singer.
As Rose Tyler in Doctor Who (2005).In 2004 she appeared in the films The Calcium Kid, as the girlfriend of Orlando Bloom's character, and Things to do Before You're Thirty. In May 2004 it was announced she was to play the character Rose Tyler, companion to the Doctor in the 2005 series of Doctor Who. 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. On October 25, 2005, Piper won the Most Popular Actress category at the National Television Awards for her work on Doctor Who.
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.
Although Dreamwatch magazine reported that Piper would leave Doctor Who partway through the 2006 season, the BBC has since announced that Piper will return for the whole of the 2006 series. The Daily Telegraph reported on November 5, 2005 that Piper had been signed for a third series in a "lucrative golden handcuffs deal." However, on 12 November, The Mirror reported that she had informed the producers that she would not be returning for a third series. The BBC has declined to confirm or deny the Mirror report. Adding to the confusion, on 13 November The Daily Star quoted a "friend" of Piper's as saying that she had in fact signed for a third series; this was picked up by other sources, which had Piper herself calling the rumours "rubbish".
BBC News named Piper as one of its "Faces of the Year" for 2005, primarily due to her success in Doctor Who. At The South Bank Show Awards on January 27, 2006 Piper was awarded The Times Breakthrough Award for her successful transition from singing to acting. In March 2006, the Television and Radio Industries Club named Piper as best new TV talent in their annual Tric awards.
After she finishes filming for the 2006 season of Doctor Who, Piper will begin work on The Ruby in the Smoke, a BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's historical novel. 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.