Doctor Who’s Billie Piper Explains Why She Left The Show

Doctor Who’s Billie Piper has opened up about the reason why she left the popular BBC series. Piper left Doctor Who in 2006, after a two-season stint as companion, Rose Tyler. She made history as the first companion of Doctor Who’s modern era, after it was rebooted in 2005. Much of Doctor Who’s early success is attributed to Piper’s performance in the show. Her character marvelously complimented Christopher Eccleston’s seriousness, David Tennant’s eccentricity, and John Barrowman’s flamboyancy.

As the sole consistent companion of the Doctor for seasons 1 and 2, Piper’s character was the backbone of the show. Piper’s transformation into Bad Wolf was one of the highlights of season 1 and directly led to the Doctor’s regeneration and the show’s transition to its next season. In season 2, Tennant and Tyler meshed well with an incredible on-screen chemistry that made Rose’s departure one of the most heartbreaking moments of the series. She also caused quite a stir when she returned to the series at the end of season 4 and again in Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.”

Related: Doctor Who Did The Reverse Timelines Concept Before Tenet (& Did It Better)

Now, nearly 15 years after her departure, Piper has opened up about the reasons for her exit in an interview with Desert Island Discs on BBC’s Radio 4. A large part of the reason for her exit was the unexpected success that Doctor Who experienced. Piper admits that she didn’t expect the show to become as successful as it did and, as a result, she was thrust into a position of mainstream fame that she found disconcerting. She states, “I didn’t like the responsibility of being a sort of role model.” Behind the scenes of the show, Piper was heading towards divorce with former husband, Chris Evans, and her former career as a pop singer had left her battling an eating disorder and being labeled a “washed out child star.” The sudden and unexpected success of the show thrust her into the spotlight during a stage in her life where she wasn’t ready to enjoy it.

However, Piper made sure to emphasize that she has no hard feelings towards the franchise. “It was great in many ways,” she explained. “Because I was doing what I felt like I was born to do on some level.” Her stint in Doctor Who changed the world’s perception of her, as she went from child star to one of Doctor Who’s favorite companions. At the same time, though, being placed under the microscope came with its challenges. Doctor Who was great for her career and transition to an actress, but the fame and pressure became too much, resulting in her decision to leave the show in search of different things.

Today, Piper is the co-creator and star of the British dark comedy, I Hate Suzie. She is currently dating Johnny Lloyd and is a mother to three children. She seems to have made peace with her past struggles with fame and with the show that continues to dominate her legacy. She even laughs about still running into 15-year old “Roses” at conventions, who are named for her character. Over the years, she has remained connected to the series with her contributions to Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio plays and her various guest appearances on the show. She continues to be vastly respected and praised by fans around the globe for her performance as Rose and for her contribution to the Doctor Who reboot’s continued success. For someone who fretted about the responsibility of being a role model, she has done a marvelous job of being one.

More: Doctor Who: Why Martha & Donna Were Only Companions For One Season

Source: Desert Island Discs

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