New Rose

Petite, pouty, bottle-blonde shop girl, GSOH, seeks tall, distinguished leather-jacketed time-traveller for fun adventures. Must answer to the name Doctor; no ginners.

Ahh – singles ads. Never the realm of your average single person, usually made up of sad obsessives or those already married (err… a friend told me so….). The above ad – however much we would like to see it pop up (and then be reprinted in “Private Eye”) – is nothing more than me being a bit fanciful and pretentious (I’m gunning for a job at DWM when the next opportunity arises). However we should all be very wary that the beautiful young actress known as Billie Piper is going to get a lot of media attention over the coming few years; she might think she’s used to it having being married to one of the UK’s flashest media personalities, but being a Who girl is the televisual equivalent of being a Bond girl. And there’s no Bond film being made at the moment.

Initially, this was to have been an article about the more interesting aspects of Ms Piper’s figure, comparing her shapely assets with those of other Who girls before declaring her the winner. I’ve heard however that a popular tabloid wants that particular article, so after a rethink I opted to talk about how much Billie Piper – and how much Doctor Who – we’ll be getting over the next 4 months. That’s only if we get stuck with the one series as well.

Now 22, Billie Piper has a long successful career ahead of her. However as a young woman she was married to Chris Evans and likely to forever be a target of the tabloid media. Think back to other high profile girlfriends and wives such as Patsy Kensit, or Yoko Ono. Even now, almost 40 years after she met John Lennon, Yoko Ono is mentioned in the press. The same could be possible for Billie Piper – it was likely following her marriage to Evans; now as the new companion in Doctor Who it is almost a certainty.

Over the next few months we’ll see more photos of Billie Piper than we saw in her days as a pop star. Magazine covers, DWM previews and features, SFX previews and features, images at the BBC’s Official Site – all providing a massive photographic library for any obsessives out there. But there is another side to it. As a role model, Billie Piper has already disappointed. Despite her obvious good looks and good figure, as Mrs Chris Evans she enjoyed a long period of partying, day and night which was often photographed by the press whenever the couple were seen in public. As a young (albeit retired) pop star, this behaviour was of course looked upon by the press in a bad light.

In a way, a recovery has taken place. I’ve known plenty of girls in Billie’s age group go for a long party, regardless of how much money they had to spend on it. It’s what teenagers and a lot of twenty-somethings do. Most are fortunate not to have their less savoury moments plastered across the Press. But as Billie’s acting career has slowly developed, attention has shifted away slowly from her personal life. No doubt the interviews with the woman herself over the next month or two will mention her broken marriage; but this is as much a part of her as her pop career. Since the split she appears to be very comfortable with herself and not prone to any late night boozing faux pax.

To be honest, she has completely reinvented herself, and succeeded in challenging the Press’ – and the publics – perception of her. No longer is she the dirty-stop-out booze monkey wife of the Ginger Whinger. Now she is a sophisticated young actress, so far faultlessly slipping into the characters of the girls she is portraying. Once known as a poplette, then a young married woman, she will now always be identified as a Who-girl. This is a chalice that has long been poisoned for most of the Doctor’s female companions (as for most Bond girls) – only time will tell if Billie Piper will become typecast, and whether she will be able to escape the shadow of one of Britain’s most loved television shows.

With heightened exposure comes heightened responsibility. I have full faith however that Ms Piper has the wherewithal to conduct herself responsibly in the public eye. As far as Doctor Who companions go, she will probably be considered the archetype for many a year to come.

(I’m particularly pleased I managed to get through an article about Doctor Who girls and the Press without mention of nakedness and Daleks…oh.)

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