September 14, 2008
Sexy Billie is Call Right
By jon wise
IT'S official - wholesome, girl-next-door Billie Piper is as distant a memory as low-cost fuel bills.
One French maid's outfit, an older man, a lot of water to drink and a sex act that would make you choke on your breakfast sausage. Yes, the Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star has definitely grown up.
She spent most of the first series trying to shed the memory of being Doctor Who assistant Rose Tyler, while performing more sex acts per minute than a Yorkshire terrier on heat.
This time she surprisingly shed very little. Her clothes stayed on the majority of the time.
Watching Billie in the sack first time round was as shocking as a Victoria Beckham pixie hair trim.
It just felt wrong.
This year though she has grown up. She looks older, wiser and more believable.
Billie plays call girl Hannah, who works as a prostitute known as Belle.
Despite seeming to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder when in the sack - her attention span lasts as long as an Amy Winehouse stint in rehab - Belle rakes in the cash on the London scene.
But this series spends more time exploring Hannah and how she juggles selling her body with spending time with her family and having a "normal" relationship.
There was less sex and that actually saved the show from tackiness.
Billie is pregnant and could only be filmed from the waist up (those knicker shots were a body double, sorry to disappoint).
And as she was unable to do the sex scenes herself the storyline focused more on her real character of Hannah.
She attended a family christening and had to profess in church "I turn to Christ" - about as likely as the Earth being sucked into a black hole.
She flirted with the idea of a romance with a new man.
And she started training up a wannabe hooker called Bambi, who joked she chose the name "because my mum got shot".
Secret Diary gave ITV2 its biggest audience share last year, not hard considering the rot that usually clogs up the schedules.
Even Britney's comeback had less hype than this show.
And it paid off.
By toning down the sex, although there's still plenty of shenanigans, the channel saved itself from becoming a late-night cheap thrills stop.
As Cherie Lunghi says in episode two: "A city without whores is like a house without bathrooms."
And ITV2 without Secret Diary is like a channel without shows worth watching.
TALK about well-placed advertising. Just after the Air Wick sponsorship ad for Emmerdale, the opening scene showed a muck spreader spraying a field.
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