Thursday, November 19, 2009

Billie Piper wraps on new BBC drama

Billie Piper has just wrapped filming on new BBC drama A Passionate Woman.

Swindon-born Billie (an ex-pupil of Sylvia Young Theatre School) shot to fame in the 1990s as a teenage singer, and then won rave reviews for her role as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who.

She had taken time away from acting after having given birth to a son, Winston, last year, but has now returned to acting.

Writer Kay Mellor said Dr Who actress Billie Piper "blew her away" when she auditioned for the film adaptation of her worldwide hit play A Passionate Woman.
On the final day of filming for the BBC drama yesterday, much of it in Leeds, the award-winning scriptwriter admitted she had initially been "resistant" to using the former pop star.

But she was won over by the young actress, whose skill in bringing the character of Betty to life was all the more important because she is based on Kay's mother Dinah who died three years ago.

A Passionate Woman tells the story of a young wife and mother who falls in love with her Polish neighbour in 1950s Leeds, only for her affair to implode 30 years later on her son's wedding day.

Co-director Kay said: "I didn't go out to get her (Billie). She got hold of the script through her agent and read it and absolutely loved it and was desperate to meet us."

She added: "There was a little bit of resistance really, because of who she is."

She said Billie was shaking when she walked in to her audition, telling her it was because, "I just really want the part".

Kay said: "She read three scenes for us and she blew me away. I thought she was absolutely brilliant."

Set in Leeds in the Fifties Cold War period, Billie stars as Betty, a young wife and mother who reluctantly falls passionately and hopelessly in love with her charismatic Polish neighbour, Alex Crazenovski, played by Theo James.

But little does Betty know that some 30 years later, in Eighties Thatcherite Britain, her affair will implode on her beloved son Mark's wedding day.

Andrew Lee Potts plays Mark in the Eighties.

Sue Johnston, stars as Betty in the Eighties opposite Alun Armstrong who plays her devoted, if dull, husband, Donald. The younger Donald is played by Alun Armstrong's real-life son Joe Armstrong, in his first on-screen appearance with his father.

Margaret, Betty's sister, is always there for her sibling through thick and thin, and in her younger years aided and abetted Betty's affair. Frances Barber plays Margaret in the Eighties and Rachel Leskovac plays Margaret in the Fifties.
A Passionate Woman will transmit on BBC1 in 2010.

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