A pressing role for Billie at the theatre
IN A week when tabloid editors are hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it has been announced Swindon’s Billie Piper will be one herself from next week.
However, she will not be responsible for running The Sun or The Mirror but fictional paper The Free Press, locked in a never-ending battle for more readers.
From next week, the actress and former pop star will take on the role of Paige Britain in the play Great Britain, written by Richard Bean.
Also starring in the play is Rupert Vanstittart, who will be playing the Prime Minister. It is not the first time the two have been seen together after they both appeared in an episode of Doctor Who.
The play is described as ‘anarchic satire about the press, the police and the political establishment’ which is aimed at all ages.
It is a topical time for the play, with Andy Coulson the former editor of the News of the World and Director of Commincations for David Cameron, this week being found guilty of conspiring to hack phones following a long-running trial.
The announcement of the play has come as a surprise as it had to be put together in secret to avoid any risk of prejudicing the trial.
The opening was delayed because the trial overran and the National Theatre, which is staging the play, have had to get in a legal team to make sure it is safe.
But the writer says the play is not a docu-drama and Billie Piper, who can currently be seen in Penny Dreadful on Sky, is not portraying Rebekah Brooks, although the expenses scandal will be covered.
Richard Bean said he was inspired to write the story following a number of press scandals, including the treatment of Robert Murat, who was wrongly accused of involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: “I can only write plays if I get angry about something and that made me furious,” he said of the two cases.
“I just need a shot of pain or electricity to get me going.”
Tickets are on sale for the show, which will run until August, at www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.