BILLIE Piper has admitted she quit Doctor Who after becoming uncomfortable with the idea of being considered a role model.
The actress became a firm favourite in the Whoniverse thanks to her star turn as companion Rose Tyler, who joined Chrisopher Eccelston’s Nine and David Tennant’s Ten on their journey through time and space.
It came after years of being known as a successful teen popstar, breaking records with her hits including Because We Want To and Honey To The Bee.
Leaving the sci-fi series as a regular in 2006, she has since returned for guest spots in 2008, 2010 and 2013, marking landmark moments in the Doctor Who world.
Explaining why she decided to leave, Billie told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs: “It made me really famous again in that sort of mainstream fame way that I find really uncomfortable.
“I think that played into it but also I was just at the beginning of my acting career.
“As much as I love that show, I love Rose Tyler, Russell T Davies and all the people that I continue to have a relationship with, I wanted to do different stuff.
“I didn’t like the responsibility of being a sort of role model.”
She later went on to explain that she was grateful to the show for allowing her to shrug off her public persona as a popstar, which was easier said than done, particularly after her marriage to radio DJ Chris Evans from 2001 to 2007.
Calling her time on the road as a singer aged just 16 “isolating and lonely”, Billie added: “It was a very exciting and satisfying time because it was hard to get an acting job with my history as first, a pop star, and then this sort of burnt out child star – which is how I think I was painted – certainly through the years I was with Chris.
“Actually I’ve had to do that until quite recently, to sort of shift people’s perception which is really annoying and completely unhelpful.
“But anyway, we’re almost there now, 20 years later.”
Since leaving Doctor Who, Billie has been widely praised for her acting roles, which included Sky’s I Hate Suzie last year – where she played a former sci-fi sex symbol whose career hits a snag when her nude photos are leaked after her phone was hacked.
Season two of the highly praised show has been given the green light, but a release date is not yet known.
Doctor Who is available on BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Britbox.
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