Billie Piper has enjoyed a long and diverse career in the entertainment industry, first as a pop singer when she was only a teenager before developing a career as an actor that has spanned several decades.
Although for many fans of science fiction, Piper may be best known to them as Rose Tyler, the first companion to join the Doctor as part of the rebooted Doctor Who when Russell T Davies brought the series back in 2005, as we can see from our top shows and movies, Piper has played many more excellent roles in some seriously good productions over the years.
From period dramas and gothic horror to dark comedies and detective whodunnits and of course science fiction, there is something for everyone on this list, so no matter what your taste, if you like the work of Billie Piper, this will be a great trip down memory lane.
OK, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best performances of Billie Piper on the big and the small screen…
The Best Billie Piper Performances
7. Mansfield Park
Everyone loves a Jane Austen adaptation, and this 2007 film saw Billie Piper take the leading role as Fanny Price in this latest version of the timeless novel. Following the story of Fanny, who is sent by her very poor mother to live a completely new life with wealthy relatives on the Mansfield Park estate, this is a story of forbidden love, moral dilemmas and class conflict. Heading a British cast alongside Michelle Ryan and Blake Ritson, Piper won much praise for her performance in this film which was well received.
6. The Ruby in the Smoke / The Shadow in the North
If we were going to be picky, we should really have had these as separate entries on the list as they are different films, but they are closely connected and feature Billie Piper playing the same character in both, Sally Lockhart. Based on Phillip Pullman’s novels, Piper takes on the role of Lockhart with aplomb in these films, a young and talented woman in the male-dominated world of finance who has not only to deal with the obstacles before her now, but the demons of her past that continue to haunt her.
5. Penny Dreadful
This big budget Anglo-American series is set in late Victorian England and has a title based on penny dreadfuls, a type of magazine that was published at that time telling stories of sensational subjects. Starring many characters and drawing influences from a great deal of the 19th Century Gothic fiction, Piper stars as Brona Croft / Lily Frankenstein in the series, an Irish immigrant who is trying to escape a brutal, violent and extremely disturbing past and find a new and better life.
Written and created by David Hare, this 2018 series stars another Doctor Who alumnus, Carey Mulligan (don’t blink!), and is a detective story that focusses on what happened to a pizza delivery driver who is gunned down on the street close to the home of an MP’s ex wife. Piper plays the ex wife character, Karen Mars, with brilliant chaos in a series that has an excellent cast including Nicola Walker, Jenny Spark and John Simm in a story that weaves together many lives and stories in an intriguing tale of deception.
3. Secret Diary of A Call Girl
Based on the diaries and blog posts of a high-class call girl in London known as Belle de Jour, this series was written by Lucy Prebble, who Piper would go on to collaborate with again on I Hate Suzie. Piper plays the lead role of Hannah / Belle, a young woman leading a double life as call girl in the capital and focusses on both her private and professional lives as they become increasingly mixed up and complicated. A hit with critics and fans, the show stands out for his drama and humour delivered with real style by an excellent Billie Piper.
2. I Hate Suzie
Once again teaming up with Lucy Prebbles, I Hate Suzie is a dark comedy that tells the story of Suzie Pickles, a former teenage pop star and actress as her life is thrown into turmoil when her phone is hacked and compromising photos of her are leaked online. What transpires is an at times chaotic whirlwind around Suzie as she tries to save her marriage, ensure her waning career gets back on track and that she is able to protect her deaf son from the media spotlight that has suddenly come shining on the family. Piper is brilliant playing Suzie at the centre of this storm.
1. Doctor Who
For many Doctor Who fans, Rose Tyler is the original and the best companion of the modern era of BBC’s sci-fi show, having the very first episode of the rebooted era named after her. Travelling with both Christopher Ecclestone’s Ninth Doctor and David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, Rose is involved in many of the best Doctor Who episodes of all time. Praised by critics and fans alike for her crafted portrayal of the companion, Piper made a welcome return with Rose for the 50th Anniversary special of the show and many still hope to see her again in the series, especially now Russell T Davies, who introduced her to the series, is coming back as showrunner.