Exclusive: SECRET DIARY OF CALL GIRL’s Billie Piper Interview


When SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL returns to Showtime for its fourth and final season on Thursday, April 7, Hannah/Belle (Billie Piper) will have more on her plate than ever. Best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg) has professed his love for her, she has a new home with a new roommate, and her job is complicated by her boss’ absence. How will she be able to juggle the increasing demands on her time and emotions?

As Belle, Billie Piper also has plenty of juggling to do: between the steamy sex, the hilarity surrounding some of the more outlandish clients, and the emotional drama of her ever-complicated love life, Belle runs the gamut of comedy and drama and Billie always rises to the occasion as she plays a character about as far from Dr. Who‘s companion Rose Tyler as can be imagined. This last season promises to be even more complicated than ever, giving Billie a chance to sink her teeth into extra-meaty material as she wraps up this terrific role.

Daemon’s TV talked to Billie about how much Hannah and Belle’s lives will overlap, what we can expect between Hannah and Ben, and whether or not there could be a Secret Diary of a Call Girl movie.

It’s a little sad and hard to believe that this is the last season of ‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’.

Billie Piper: I know. It’s too sad. It really is sad. I’ll be sad to see it go, really, but I think that it was a good time for us to kind of wrap it up and think about doing something else. I think in terms of story we may have run it’s course, certainly in the UK. But it will be sad, especially when it comes around to summer. We usually film it in the summer and so when the summer hits and it’s no longer there I’m sure I’ll be in some desperate state.

It seems like there’s a lot of storyline left to go. What can you tease for those of us in the U.S. who haven’t seen the last season yet?

Billie Piper: Well, first of all, the most pressing thing is the fact that she is now taking over Stephanie’s business, rather reluctantly, because she doesn’t really want to mentor or orchestrate the profession for the girls. I think it’s where she kind of draws the line. Morally I think she feels okay about doing it herself, and also obviously there are massive kind of legal implications. So she’s kind of having to balance that.

Stephanie’s daughter is a new addition and she becomes the eyes of the audience, poses all the questions that people would want to ask a prostitute, like, why and how and isn’t it awful, that kind of stuff.

The unrequited love affair with Ben is important, of course. Then there’s a new guy on the scene who appeals to Belle’s more wild side and it then becomes a problem with forwarding her and Ben’s relationship. Then on top of that there’s the endless clients who are just more perverse than ever.

How much are Belle and Hannah’s lives going to overlap this time around?

Billie Piper: I think that they completely begin to merge which is why she goes slightly mad. I think it becomes apparent that it’s not something that she can manage, really, and she’s been so good at compartmentalizing her life thus far, but I think now the biggest question that we really all want to know is if this is something she can consider doing for the rest of her life or is it something that she’s going to be forced to give up on a quest for something kind of real, relationships that are natural and not paid for.

Stephanie’s daughter, Poppy, living with Belle means she has to deal with being asked some uncomfortable questions on a daily basis. Does Belle look at herself more because of that?

Billie Piper: Yeah, because she’s now having to hide something from a very young, impressionable girl who knows nothing of her mother’s profession, let alone Belle’s profession. Fortunately, this season she works out of the house. She no longer takes her business at home. She’s moved to hotels and things like that, but there’s still an awful lot of hiding to do. So it becomes quite funny and quite farcical.

Belle has never had to hide from Ben. Does that change as accepting as he’s normally been?

Billie Piper: No. This year Ben kind of loses his mind and she starts to hide a massive part of her personality from him for fear that she’ll upset him and for fear that she’ll ruin him. She doesn’t meet his mother for the first time because they’ve met before, but she’s kind of put under the spotlight by his mom at dinner and it all becomes a lot more relevant and it’s a lot more pressure than it’s ever been because she cares for Ben. Her mind and her heart though are often elsewhere.

Belle’s book is now going to be a movie, correct? It brings Belle to New York?

Billie Piper: Yeah, that’s one of the episodes.

It’ll be fun seeing Belle in New York.

Billie Piper: I know. I really wanted the whole thing to be there, to be honest, but the budget wouldn’t allow it. But it’s quite fun to take her out of what she’s used to.

Belle’s had some incredible clients along the way. Do any of them stand out for you?

Billie Piper: Gosh, they’re all so unique and weird and wonderful. There have been a few this year. There was one in episode four this year and it’s a guy who likes to dress as a baby and I kind of thought that it was completely unreal as an idea. But I did some research with the writers and it turns out that there’s a large group of men in London and all over who like to dress as babies and be submissive and be mothered and cradled and all of those things. Having a grown man on my lap in a diaper was the most insane moment of my career, professionally.

Are you happy with how Belle’s journey has ended?

Billie Piper: Yes. Well, I think it’s a good ending and it’s quite ambiguous in how it ends and I think people will either like it or feel quite angry about it because it’s quite a controversial ending. But I feel like it was the most true way to go.

When you sign up for a series you never know how it’s going to go. Has this been what you expected when you started?

Billie Piper: No, it hasn’t. It’s been a real roller coaster and it’s kind of changed over the years as well. It kind of becomes something that it wasn’t. I mean, obviously we haven’t veered well away from the heart of the series, but it’s certainly become slightly more heightened and hysterical and I’m really pleased with the way that it’s turned out. I feel like it’s progressed in the right way.

What’s been your favorite part of playing Belle?

Billie Piper: Everything, really. Being at work and playing that part is really good fun. I laugh. I’ve laugh from the minute we start at 6AM to the minute that we finish at eight. It’s just so fun and wild and crazy, and the things that we as a crew and a team and a cast have to manage everyday, you have these moments where you think, ‘How did I get here?’

There are always rumors that there might be a movie with popular shows like this. Is that actually a possibility?

Billie Piper: Yeah, there is a possibility. We’re trying to sort all of that out now. Hopefully it’ll come together. So we will know soonish if it’s something that will move forward. We have to make sure that all the right components are together.

Do you know where you’d want Belle to be in a movie, would she jump a few years ahead or pick up at the series ending?

Billie Piper: I think we might jump in time and we might leave the UK as well. But all of these ideas are up for grabs at the moment. It’s certainly a very, very early work in progress.

What’s next for you now?

Billie Piper: At the moment I’m just trying to find more work, really. I’m spending time with my family and we’ve spent some time in L.A. and we’ll probably go back for a bit. It’s back to the drawing board. It’s the same old thing as an actor. You kind of then start from scratch with another character, the quest to find an interesting female role.

Do you want something completely different?

Billie Piper: Yeah, I think so. I like to really vary the roles. So I think it would be something radically different.

The fourth and final season of Secret Diary of a Call Girl premieres on Showtime Thursday, April 7 at 10:30pm eastern/ 9:30 central.

You can read all our Secret Diary of a Call Girl coverage here.

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