Billie Piper is an Olivier Award winning actor and former pop star. She was born in Swindon in September 1982, and her parents nurtured her interests in dance and drama from a young age. After a winning a scholarship to study at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, she moved to London as a young teenager, leaving the family home. By the age of 15, she was a full time pop star. She became the youngest female artist ever to go straight to number one in the UK charts when her debut single was a hit in 1998. Just three years later, after releasing more successful singles and two albums and touring furiously to promote them, Billie left the music industry. She married the DJ Chris Evans, and found herself the frequent subject of newspaper stories. She decided to turn to acting, her first love, and by 2005 she was back in the spotlight playing Rose Tyler in the BBC’s revival of Doctor Who. Since then she has taken on a wide range of acclaimed screen and stage roles, most notably picking up all six available awards for Best Actress – including the Olivier Award – when she starred in a new version of Lorca's play Yerma. Her recent TV series I Hate Suzy, which she co-created, has been BAFTA nominated and she has also written and directed her first film, Rare Beasts. DISC ONE: Pure Imagination by Gene Wilder DISC TWO: This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) by Talking Heads DISC THREE: Sara by Fleetwood Mac DISC FOUR: Out of Space by The Prodigy DISC FIVE: Champagne Supernova by Oasis DISC SIX: Turn The Page by The Streets DISC SEVEN: Halo by Beyoncé DISC EIGHT: Juicy by The Notorious B.I.G BOOK CHOICE: The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy LUXURY ITEM: Billie’s children’s art work CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Champagne Supernova by Oasis Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music. Radio broadcasts hollow unlearned event, and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island and for rights reasons, the music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening, MIKE. Asked away today is the act of billy piper. She first Fame is a singer in ninety. Ninety eight, the swindon teen. Next all became the youngest female solar wottest ever to go straight to number one with her single, because we want to, though she did really wanna, basing or tool still at stage schools
taken singing gig in the hope that it might help her break into acting three years later, the age of just a scene. She was burned out and ready to burn her bridges. She walked away from the music industry and found her way back to her first love by two thousand and five. Back on the front pages, ending a place in fi history, as rose tyler in the rebooted doctor who later she brought belt issues could derive a coal go to the small screen, but it's a theatre work that is won her greatest acclaim. After starring in a london production of locusts Emma, she became the only actor to collect all six available awards for a single performance, one so powerful. It left one critic visibly shaking on the train whom she followed, that with a concept our own cool, creating an starring in his black comedy. I hate susie about a former child star whose
life in korea, a falling apart there with her own korea going from strength to strength had a rhetorical debut is on its way. Life is far from imitating art billy piper welcome to desert island disk, sank here. So I hate susie. our screens last autumn, one review called it nude, lewd and joyously off the rails. I don't want to spoil if anybody hasn't seen yet, but is it liberating? play someone who is unravelling so spectacularly is massively satisfying unfilled. very familiar really is obviously quite heights but there are moments in The show that possibly depict things happening
side, my mind, a lot yeah yeah, certainly my early thirties anyway. That decade is such a rich time period to explore in its huge life changes happening for everyone. You know you included, and I know you're cool creator Lisi purple said about you. What great about Billy is such a genuinely interested in the on pretty parts of being human. What did you want to explore with the show what we looking up? We wanted to explore these things with real transparency, in a way that
fully lifts the ledge on what it means and what it costs to be female and, I think, actually, my late early thirties. That has been my quest professionally and actually it's the most satisfying period of my professional life, and I can't help it connects the drive to be really really honest with the observed positive feedback. That seems to be working really wealth for me, but it is exposed I do want to pull a paw and unpack the uglier side solve
being alive being female, being a mother being sexual being being lover, wife, all of those things that it has to feel real to me and we both have that sort of bleak sense of humor is working quite well for us so far. We ve got so much to talk about today, but we have to make some time for the music to area, even if you're gonna hear first disk now really tell us about this. Why be chosen its day? I've chosen jean while the pure imagination, because I spent a lot of time in my youth watching musicals and theatre, and it really inspires me this this particular piece of music- and I listened to a lot when I'm sort of at the beginning of the creative process. It has a lot of curiosity and there's something quite creepy about it.
and those two things in combination like a big head from air licorice count to three come with me. Your imagination, and who we are and will be with us, jean wilder, singing pure imagination from the willy wonka and the chocolate factory film, soundtrack, soberly piper in twenty six. any starred in an adaptation of locusts play yeah about women desperate to become a mother. The review is were, as I said, in my introduction, ex dat.
And you want all six available best actress awards, including in libya. It was a career defining role. When did you realize that it was gonna be hit leading up to it? I didn't know which waves gonna go because of the nature of creating it, which I d What in that way before? So I direct Simon stone, wanted to work in this way whereby he's adapting it but he's adapting it with a cost and that prices is basically a group of people sat around talking about life and their experiences. We do that for five hours and that sort of informs for his work and he'll go away and write about it and he he may or may not not turn up the next day with bikes, five pages a handful of scenes and then when we got to tack,
We basically when onstage, knowing the lines, because we line run every day, so it was there, but we didn't know what we're gonna do physically. So that was a massive leap of faith on previous one and you were in a glass box on almost like in the round. So we had no audience on either side of the glass box. You replies that rule in new york to great claim in one critic said that you peeled off one woman skin until every nerve. Is mercilessly exposed the court, the fates to achieve that every night at that period of time, my father, emotionally available, and so it suited me and you're going to new york that was the professional dream. Come true to do a play in new york and It was a mine bending experience, it's time to take a break for some music disk number two billy I've chasing talking heads. This must be the price I am always very moved by the song lyrically and also
The logic play bitten strangely, wherever I am, however remote I am this song comes on is with it follows me, and am I find that quite free hand quite exciting,
and talking heads- and this must be the place so billy papua brought up in swindon you dad was a builder and your mom was at home full time and you were the eldest of four children. How would you describe family life? I think my parents always supported me. And everything I wanted to do, which was a lot like. I had a lot of fire in my belly. Is a kid about things I wanted to do and things I loved and things I wanted to pursue. my mom, I feel like He was always amazed by that. My dad would champion it all. The way would so we would find money. Is we didn't have less money is made these things happen, so I think I was in an out of clubs, not nyc drama club, dance, claw, extracurricular activities, drift Ricky.
all week long? What was the first performance you remember doing? I played Mary in the nativity play at school. I had seen a solo, I was so terrified that I was shaking, and I was here. baby Jesus is dull and I was just looking down at as its eyes were rowing. As you know, the east have that's rowley affected as they were. There would fall asleep ass. He led him back and I refused to wish real babies, We do not have, as I was looking down
You might say it. I had a baby was likely to falling off my hands and now arms and ultimately onto its head in the middle of my sailorman is really haunted me that, and I get that nerve is still before I go and stayed a really how to deal with it. I'm going to see almost like an out of body experiences which of black cow. I guess the description of used of yourself as a kid is freakish, really ambitious. What does not look like in a ten year old child? He was obsessively tidy. I'm to the point that I would not let people sell my bed because I've be scared, they crease it kicking back now, it's just like perfection ism. My affection is obsessed with getting good grades. All the stuff comes up when you have your own kids unit, so it's it's dormant for years and you something I'm just afraid he's chilled out person, but actually I'm not.
let's take a break for small music disc number, three. What are we going to hear and why you taking it with you today? My next track is fleetwood. Mac, sara and I love is for different reasons. It's one of those songs that remind me of my moment, dad's when they would together cause they separated a mighty twenties but fleetwood mac me. So much of their relationship. I moved to america for three when I decided, I don't wanna sing anymore and I moved out there and I started going to acting class is again and singing causes movement possible. And I listen to a lot of fleetwood mac out by that just felt right, so rolling around the hell's trying to drive, and he has collette so dreamy california and feeling that so I can hunt the experience so many reasons ass. He left the sum
fleet with mine, and sarah soberly piper, your drama teacher, I think, encouraged you too, life for a scholarship to sylvia young theatre school, you were twelve. What you remember, your addition. I remain just really wanting it. I was really nervous, but by that point I was so desperate, to get out of swindon and this small town environment, and I'm more alive to this number. I wasn't really wherever the time was. I really didn t, like I ice for women in that pay saw certainly to family history. I I wanted something quite different. What didn't you want I didn't want to go to sleep
leave all my ambitions and desires at the door to sort of praise since some men and that's how I saw as a sort serving and they won't always particularly that kind. So I I think concern level, I really was to say I just wanted out of that, and you must have had the row talent because of course you got in the school I dig foundation for scholarship cause. We couldn't afford that fee and I got the scholarship which meant I moved to london, I think age. While I was in year, I did you heaven in swindon and then I moved to engineer right, ok sustain with you aunt and uncle right. I stated my mom's aunt and uncle say my great aunt and uncle and they lived in bonds. that was suddenly london travelling across london as a twelve year old, with them
Allow me in my hands smoking on the train, I think, would smoke on the train. When I was going back to my parents and swindon affrighting, I sit in the smoking carriage of my uniform You were at school, some incredibly talented peers thing. Amy wine house was polity and when you were there. What was the atmosphere like most young, ambitious, talented kids, yeah I'd say it was really competitive in suits of an unnatural way. For that age, I think I'd say there was a fair share of bit genus and but, but also it was a great off. I was only there for a year and a half and ink I really loved it, but it is definitely was a bit of a blood spot for sure, because you were competing for work is well when
join that school? You joined an agency. I knew a variable where of children being cost in work. What you maybe didn't get from costing all you want you can put up for and why won't you put up fresh and it makes you ve done super aware an age right, but I'm not sure you should be The reason you weren't there very long was because you just got so much work. Your great took off pretty quickly and you moved out. place of your own, incredibly young. How did you cope? When I saw my record, do I lived with my an all women anchored cheryl for cliff months- or maybe it was longer- I remember great deal about a period of time. Then I lived in a hotel in major veil swap fifth, I think now, I think of him, he was fourteen letting living in a hotel yeah that, if a little partridge wild
then I'd reasons why I'm flat, when I was fifteen in cuban on Iraq, could shoot up pale, which my mom was very anxious about you. I lived there the boyfriend friend fastened and we re car. It was rented and then I bought it and I think my mobile In my doubts names I was so young you're looking back at this period in your life. Now that you know as a parent, you start to reassess how'd you reflect back on it now, at the time it either how really exciting and liberating and satisfied me with this of quest to be a grown up. It also found extremely desperate and lonely, sometimes in the and I made a lot of girlfriends in with me. Who happened to be my dance is, and we had a great time. I was here, seeing and experiencing a lot of life at a very young age. Now, when I look back at a hat
Now that I have my own children. It seems unbelievably unsafe and plays in probably an unhelpfully to my parents eating away. While I just get very worried and concern that they'll never know our experiences feelings. You know how did you manage on a day to day level what was lifelike while at fortunately I was at work? We ve grown ups all day long for sometimes ninety now it's. I don't think I've ever worked hard since I was a pop star
so I was at work all the time and I come home and I'd make beans on task. Is that was election if speaking and drink milk and what she said is going to bed and then get up at five or six and guys what next day, let's have some music? It's disk number four. What's next, the prodigy out of space, but there are a lot of things- have happened to my life, a fillip. My life is divided into two parts. Some people think it might be divided into more, but for me it's a pre, fame and post fame and out of space remain if a time before I became famous- and I reflect back and really fondly where I've felt like a normal kid were, and I was able to do no thing
and I was obsessed with rave knees as a kid. In fact, I think my ninth birthday party, I had a rave themed, but what did you? those floppy velvet hats to remember that no lightning shores site things two and a half a jacket, basically what I wear the miners behalf a prodigy and outer space belly piper. So that takes me back to your life, pre, fame, breathing
Fame happened when you were very young. He first came to national attention because you got a number one, just fifteen with, because we want to astonishing success for your first records. Memories at the beginning of really fond missing, acting but being on stage in doing live, show They saw a thrilling trading time in life realized, but it wasn't it. Easy, as it might have seen from the outside, because you were working incredibly hard. As he said, the scrutiny got were under programmes that kind of awareness of europeans. They need to develop and eating disorders in yeah, probably winners, rice Nineteen is when it got ready, Brady band think. It was a reaction to the chaos around me and it's a way of controlling things. I didn't stop reading things about into in twelve nineteen, and Chris Evans told me to do that. What does it do to use it. nature when you're reading what tabloid out Kosovo yourself. Presumably at that point- and it was it was
nineteen tabloid press, so it was the worst at their most restless, and so often it was full of lies. I really began to hate it and hate myself I hate my existence. I think thing is my least favorite thing about They do. I weighty just find it quite repellent. You'd described it hung over from that time that lasted for quite a while a kind of rejection of the treadmill that you will put on the necessity of being this perfectly manicured little doll that was dressed up and presented a certain way. You rebelled against that and not that lasted quite a while when I got together with Chris Evan I just come incurs heard. I gotta get rid of it. I can't do that. You love your husband and friend precisely what I've got.
together with trace, eyeing, went around the world with him having a great time, and I think people looked upon the as me rebelling and falling apart, because I'd stop caring about how I looked unlike of way- and I was perhaps all the time, but actually that wasn't my experience I might experience that time was I needed that that felt, like my cell phones, if you need me, is where I could just wasn't completely normal, it didn't feel scary and I felt loved and supported. Then we had a great time and I stopped caring and that was really integral to meet peeling and getting better and then pursuing acting find out what happened next to the bowman. So now we're going to take your next desk number five. Why is he chosen it
is, shall pain supernova. It's really hard is the sound of my childhood and I am sorry she she's always fun is really hard to choose a song, but again it scott that sort of pre fame, memory for me, although then I saw a to appear in the shops with them like a year later, assuming reaches a site. Is the real massive fan wish they'd come back together and means? its main, especially the sign of this oil scuse me
oasis. and champagne supernova, so Betty piper after three years of being a pop star. U turn back in the music industry and you married radio dj chris heavens in LAS vegas, you eighteen sixteen years, your senior tablet. Of course, I too feel today how much did what they wrote, bother you well a tool by that brings that wasn't raising any event. Okay, so crystal ie to stop yeah. He taught me to just ignore it: don't we date don't play into it and did it work at did what for me in many ways he taught me how to do that and and my life improve because of it, and also it was at a time where people were able to just write what they ever they wanted about you, so it felt particularly resource and unfair and would often drill your families and stock. You your experience,
of that living it from the inside out was very different from the perception yeah. I really needed to not work to not care about. being shining successful and being so sales passion for other people's music, which is how start to feel, and I always felt like a shoulder sinks. I love singing by didn't, have the strongest voice. I didn't write songs I didn't play, or music acting was what I wanted to do. First and foremost, on some level, I was acting my way through it. Buddy became too hard to uphold, and so you found your way back to acting full time You start acting lessons while living and allay, and then back in the uk when until under job is rose in the newly revamped doctor who, in two thousand and five, the public loved your portrayal so much that you won't most popular actress at two thousand and five and two thousand and six national television towards him, and it was a phenomenon,
at the time and a huge compliment to your skill, but obviously renewed level of fame, so cut back onto the microscope. In that sense. What without time like for you It was great in many ways because I was doing what I felt like. I was born to do on some level was very exciting and unsatisfying time, because it was hard to get and acting job with. My history is a vessel pop star and then they saw of burnt out child star, which is how I think I was painted. Certainly through these I was with chris, and actually I've had to do that until quite recently, it is sheer people's perception, which is really annoying and completely unknown. Full bat anyway, that, where almost twenty years later, we also know that it would be successful, bought it made me, weighty, famous again in that's what
mainstream fame way that I find really uncomfortable since that way left after two series, I think not paid into it, but also I was just at the beginning of matching career. I wanna get like as much as I love that shit. I love raised, tyler, Russell t davies and all the people that I continue to have a relationship with. I wanted to do different stuff. I didn't like the risks. stability of being as over old model this agenda rose is named after your character. Do and came to them now, guy encounter them all conventions. The men I like fifteen barrow smoking cigarettes is always a bit. How would you like a six year old, let's hear some music? What's next, the Song is the streets turn the page, which is one of my favorite street songs, and I saw them play fast festival, I'd ever being too, and it just feels
bread and so on time and sing his absolute banger and obsessed by might skinner. Turn the page on the day, walk away sense,
I say I'm for this generation roman, but no more care when I'm speaking so its anti sympathies. Listen! It's big ahead, and I may say it by some save me them say you can't do off my crueler rhubarb and costly rain down curses bomb waving. It has been by drinks riding high with debates in the sky with their eyes, glaze carriage, burnt down, raised the streets and turn the page, so many piping Britain quite abandoned, explodes quite a bit of interesting territory about life in one's thirties. It is this decade of enormous changes for lots of people and has been for you. You ve got three kids now, timothy former husband, torrents foxy divorced in twenty sixteen one with your current partner, you writing about the kind of highs and lows of that time of life. I wonder what you think about that
traditional to portray olive thirty something women on tv? What did you want to explore? What do you think wasn't being covered? I just don't think it was being covered or fantastically ass. All your twenties dramatize! He see that all the tiny, even you teens, that's all coming of age staff. I don't know that. there was something that spoke to thirty year old woman, so we would wish ten there and its. a shame because it feels that such a rude awakening unless something that needs to be really really pulled apart, good and bad. They recently written and directed your first film rabbies day, which you also star, as a single mother, tell me low, but more about that and the creative process of being both an actor writer and directing yourself as well. I started- I think that after I had my son eugene, he was now eight, so I wrote a long time ago and I was writing a way before I hate seizing it. I was oversee desperately enough in my
son, but I also saw the world around me with switches selling me this idea of you know you can have it all, which I think is actually really unhelpful. Messaging. Two women is very strong, for trying to have it all and often things fall apart, it's impossible just balance I just dancing by exists, or certainly doesn't in my world. So at a time Everyone is saying a margin, feminism liberation. You can have it all you all I could see around me was the sort of common crisis, and I thought I have something to say about this: that's where the story started, and I do so for I need to direct this. I can see every frame in my head and which, in analysing the this crazy I've, never directed anything in my life. I know a short dizzy lover I loved it. I wish I hadn't start, and I feel that was an oversight, but there was a sort of whose one this person's worry about. I suppose, in terms of directing and
I was pregnant is well with my daughter when I was filming. Save those let there was a lot going on it's time for your penultimate disk billy we can do here. Oh this is beyond say, halo, which I think is one of the best pop songs ever written. I fell in love with this song, particularly when I had my first, some and it felt like it was singing to the experience of my first child and resonated with my second now my third year. I feel, very moved in emotion, need drawn to this
in my view, say and halo. Alright, then Billy piper were about to cast you away eve, described yourself as restless and wonder how you gonna manage nothing to do no distractions. I'm a little bit worried that efforts be honest. So worried for my eyes as an island experience. Whenever I go on, all day. It takes about two weeks to chill and then it's time to come home, I'm hoping that I could suit to set a lan but I'm sure I would find things too
to build tee. I didn't airy, get stuck into building, of course, daughter of a builder. You know you might picked up a few skills on the way yeah I've bill. If he wolves metaphorically, I'm really seem to be practical and we'd be able to find the knocker place to sleep. Hopefully ere. It just takes a while for me to unwind, while hopefully that bodes well for the islands, but before you go we're gonna, let you choose one more disk if you wouldn't mind with you number eight what's gonna, be and why I am a massive biggie small fun. It remind me of my life in swindon, I absolutely love hit pulpit, something that people don't really know about me a nuisance to something people always think slightly like weird, but I we listened to beg you before. I go
into any new experience before I go on stage before I go. In addition for a new job or before I go into parent teacher, whatever it is I need some build me. I listen to biggie. This is one of my favorite tracks, but this is sue slightly more radiation and its cheesy dedicated saw the teacher. That's all mickey mouse among people live above the buildings, and I was gonna call me when I was trying to make the most of my daughter papers and everything up in the form of all everything rapid matter
biggie smalls, the notorious b dot, ig and juicy so billie piper. It's time to cast you away I'll, give you the bible on the complete works of shakespeare, to take with you, and you can have a book a fuel choice to what would you like leave the cost of living. I read this last year in locked down one and I just haven't subtle is really sure ports which I like, but it talk so beautifully about being a woman. Is one of these boats lightened the belgian that just go over and come back to a number of times myself urge people to read that You could also have a luxury to make life a bit more comfortable office, sensory stimulation on the on. And what would you want to take with you? I thought when I couldn't have tech that I had to in a life on this island, where I hadn't had kids, so I couldn't just pine over them.
World time having no sort of the pictures on my phone or access to them. But actually, if that's the case, I maybe take a drawing or a painting of theirs. So you children's artwork children's artwork yoke indefinite do, Attend perfect I'll, just go home at all since a knock. It they'll be really that sounds you're not going anywhere except to the island raison d on ok, fine and if the sea was to wash all of your discs away. What's the one that you would rush to save? First before the others get Nessus so odd, I probably take oasis in asia. paint, supernova consult with changes every time I hear it and it sam it's very giving in that way- and I have such positive from foreign memories burn in
to me with that music billy piper. Thank you very much for letting see your does island. Thanks for having me what a treat beer, hello. I really hope you enjoy that interview with the active billy piper we ve cost many days away to the test including her doctor who co David tenant. Along with the writer Russell T Davies, you can find there so in a desert island discs programme archive on three bbc sands, and if you fancy but more token heads David byrne, is there too, along with no gallagher from oasis next time my guest will be the physicist professor Brian Green. I do hope. You'll join us on the half, a favour to ask when the football in right shared his desert island discs. Last year he moved so many people with his recollection of his teacher, MR picton. He really believe
in an encouraged him. That moment is currently opt for a special area reward along with many other moving pieces of radio. If you want an skip to win, you can go to the radio times website and look for the arias special moments and click on in right. Thank you. Before you go gonna quickly. Tell you about tricky bbc radio force discussion. Podcast, that's bog! For another cities miles one of the producers we put four people aroun face to face, there's no social media to hide behind or presented to get in the way. Tricky is all about honest opinions on subjects our guests really cared about,
what, if she d be able to vote. I think if you were to strip the vote from any one eyed strip it from older people like us, forget this like sneered shifting quota, we need a strip it from any law needs to strip it from any one. I never brought back into the conversation wives saying is by if we were going to strip it from anyone, it wouldn't be. People are under twenty five, so expect strong feelings and other subjects. Everything from living with hiv to surviving sexual assault discover more conversations light. Thus, by searching for tricky when BBC sums.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.