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Billie Piper: New prostitute role 'could become my life'

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Billie Piper is set to return to our TV screens as a prostitute in major new TV drama Penny Dreadful but is she ready to shoot back into the limelight?

The Secret Diary of a Call Girl actress is part of an all-star cast in the upcoming big-budget horror thriller, which is already airing in America and is set to begin in the UK later this month.

But the 31-year-old actress suggested that international fame maybe an unwelcome side effect to the show's potential success, telling The Observer the show could become her "life for the next six or seven years" if it is recommissioned.

Set in Victorian London, Penny Dreadful features popular figures from 19th century fiction, while Piper plays an unknown Irish immigrant who is one of the show's leading stars.

The 10-part series is, she said: "Savage and gory. Loads of blood. Loads of sex."

Along with that potentially winning formula, it is produced by the Oscar-winning Sam Mendes and counts Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton among the cast.

While Penny Dreadful is set in London, it's actually filmed in Ireland, and she admitted that juggling her Cardiff-based Dr Who role as Rose Tyler with her family life proved "almost impossible."

"It was very hard to have a life and take care of my family because I was always away in Cardiff," she said of her two-year stint on the hit BBC 1 show. "Also, it was a totally different level of fame. I don't miss that, myself."

Watch a preview of Penny Dreadful

Piper, who is married to Lewis star Laurence Fox, conceded that as a high-profile teen pop star-turned serious actress with other "creative ambitions", she is a "restless" person, adding: "But maybe I will just settle one day."

Addressing her rise to fame as a teenager, the actress said that reality show The Big Reunion, which saw '90s stars come together again on stage, made her feel "incredibly tense."

The paper described her as "shuddering slightly" as she recalled seeing "a few minutes of the first series".

"It was such a rough ride for a lot of people at the time," she added. "The industry was such a beast and it was making so much money – for everyone but the acts. And the truth of it was that they worked you like dogs."

She said has not kept in touch with anyone from that time, "because we weren't friends. We were just five years of passing ships. My friends were my dancers, or my family."

Penny Dreadful begins on Sky Atlantic on 20 May at 9pm.