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Bella & The Boys Interview

Swindon's former pop princess Billie Piper has further enhanced her blossoming acting career with a major part in a new BBC drama.

Taking the part of Bella in 'Bella and the Boys' - a one-off drama as part of the BBC's 'Taking Care' season that was shown on Sunday, 15 February - Billie played a young woman who, after a childhood spent in care, becomes a single parent, battling against a legacy of drink and drugs.

It was a challenging part that Billie sees as a key chapter in her attempt to become a serious actress. It also comes some just three months after the former Bradon Forest schoolgirl was acclaimed for her role in the 'The Miller's Tale ', part of a series of modern adaptations of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

"Acting is what I've always wanted to do - for me, finally, I feel at home in my career. Playing Bella is the most challenging piece of work I've done and one I feel really satisfied with.

"I don't miss singing at all," the 21-year-old, triple chart-topper added.

In particular, Billie was drawn to the role as she immediately saw similarities between herself and the character when she first read the script.

"Even though Bella is surrounded by people of her own age, she is a very lonely character. I left home [in Swindon] when I was twelve to study theatre. And then I started singing, so I was on tour a lot without my family. To play Bella, I tapped into the loneliness of that time."

Billie also admitted that she enjoyed playing Bella so much that she hopes to work with the director, Brian Hill, again. But, aside from this and a film in the pipeline based on the novel 'Essays of Love', her future plans remain hazy. In fact, having recently sold their Surrey home, she and her husband, the media tycoon Chris Evans, are currently homeless.

"I've moved so many times since I left Swindon that, for me, it's actually quite weird to feel settled somewhere!" she said.