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Fame? It's Child's Play


By KEVIN O'SULLIVAN and LUCY ROCK. 7 July 1998 (c) 1998 Mirror Group Ltd

POP wondergirl Billie Piper was only a toddler when she made her singing debut.

She sang her heart out to promote a new range of yoghurt-based shampoos - then burst into tears when she tried them.

At the age of 10, Billie, the eldest of four children, choreographed and sang a dance version of the Shangri-Las' hit Leader Of The Pack.

By 11 she had moved to Braden Forest School in the Swindon district of Purton, where she was remembered as a "great actress" with "enormous presence".

Three years ago her builder dad Paul's was honoured with a stirring solo performance at his 40th birthday party.

Aged 13 Billie landed a place at London's prestigious Sylvia Young childrens' stage school - the launch pad for pop stars Louise, All Saints and Baby Spice Emma Bunton.

She earned a role in the kids' TV show Scratchy and Co and appeared as an extra in Evita with her idol Madonna.

But her role as a bubblegum chewing teenager in adverts for the pop magazine Smash Hits rocketed Billie to the top.

She said: "Virgin Records spotted me, I did a demo and signed up before Christmas."

Now, with an album and concert tour planned, Billie has the world at her feet.

She said: "I would have been happy with a top 10 spot. But being No1 is just amazing."

(c) Mirror Group Ltd, 1998.