As Billie Piper returns to the stage, close friend and writer of Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Lucy Prebble, asks the award-winning actress why she is unafraid of turning everything on its head.
I ought to be fine interviewing Billie Piper. She’s my best friend. We chat rubbish about our lives every other day. But coming in and talking to her for Stylist feels different..
At the shoot, I find Billie smiley but very much in charge and I’m reminded briefly that, ‘Oh yeah, Billie is a star’. Stars have a gravitational pull that can’t be explained; people orbit them. And today, it’s not Billie, my hungover, rolling-up mate; it’s Billie, the award-winning actress who stunned critics with her incredible portrayal of a childless woman in 2016’s Yerma. She is perched on a chair reminiscing with make-up artist Karin, who, by coincidence, is the same make-up artist who worked with Billie at the very beginning of her career. It’s fitting Karin being here because, at 34, it feels like Billie is embarking on a whole new phase of life, one that’s as big as her Nineties transformation from Swindon teen to pop superstar.
I met Billie over 10 years ago when we worked together on the TV show Secret Diary Of A Call Girl. I wrote it, she starred in it. It turned out lighter than we both wanted and the critical reception was fierce so ultimately it wasn’t the perfect creative experience for either of us, but I clearly remember her turning to me at the end and saying, “I want to be your friend.” What an honour. Since then she’s also starred in my 2012 play, The Effect, and we’re now creating a new TV show together, about a woman in her 30s going through a life crisis. That’s something we both can relate to.