Secret Diary of a Call Girl is an ITV show that has been imported from the U.K. by Showtime; the first season premiered in June. Billie Piper stars as Hannah, a London call girl known professionally as Belle. Hannah works at keeping her profession a secret from her family and friends who all believe that she works as a late-night legal secretary.
The episodes show the various clients Belle is involved with and what different services each client expects. Belle gets her jobs through an agent who has started giving her less desirable clients; not only that, but she’s started giving Belle’s regulars away to newer girls and forcing Belle to adapt.
Throughout the series we see Belle in different situations — from her first client that she still sees because he is a gentleman, doing a ménage-a-trois, to being too glamorous for a client who wanted “the girl next door” and her adapting to that request. By the end of the season Hannah has had enough and leaves the agency, deciding to be an independent call girl.
Like many viewers I first met Billie Piper as Rose Tyler in the relaunched BBC classic series Doctor Who. This is a complete 180-degree turn from that character, but Piper does a very convincing job playing a call girl who loves her job. Speaking of Doctor Who, be on the lookout for Matt Smith, who was just named as the eleventh doctor, in the sixth episode as a retail salesman who Hannah takes home and then decides he doesn’t want to go home the next morning!
One of Secret Diary of a Call Girl's fun aspects comes from Piper's breaking of the fourth wall through asides made directly to the audience. The asides range from a cynical look to a full blown explanation of what’s going on. These asides are exceptionally well done by Piper and change the audience's experience from simple voyeurism to participation.
The extras are slightly disappointing for this release. “Interview with Billie Piper” is the only extra. It’s a short interview with star Billie Piper running about seven minutes and she gives brief opinions on topics covering music to computers to British television before talking about her character, the audience, and the real Belle de Jour who wrote the book on which the series is based. A longer interview would have been nice, and to have some commentaries for the episodes with Piper, the writers or directors of the show or even Belle herself and her opinions on the show and how the show compares to her real life experiences.
Season two premieres on January 18 on Showtime and hopefully not long after the eight episodes the second season DVD will follow and that will have more extras. The second season looks to be better than the first, but until then, this DVD will keep you entertained.