Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart in The Ruby in the Smoke? Can she pull this off?

Billie Piper (aka Rose Tyler of Doctor Who) has apparently been cast as Sally Lockhart in a TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Victorian mystery The Ruby in the Smoke. I’m not sure how I feel about this, partly because I’ve only seen Piper play Rose, a character I don’t especially like.

Sally Lockhart–a character I like very much–is supposed to be intelligent, sixteen years old, and a natural blonde. Piper appears to be in her early twenties and very obviously bleached blonde. Rose seems awfully stupid to me (doesn’t mean Piper is, of course). When they did that Dickens episode in Doctor Who, I thought Rose looked tacky and anachronistic in the Victorian getup.

So, I’ll admit, I’ve seen this actress only playing a character I don’t like on a show that’s not exactly known for great costuming. I think she has the wrong look for Sally Lockhart. Has anyone else seen Piper in anything? Can she play smart characters? Can she be made to look right for the role?

The only other thing I’ve seen her in is a modern-day adaptation of one of the Canterbury Tales (The Miller’s Tale, I think?). I thought she did fine in that, but it wasn’t a period piece, either.

As far as Rose looking tacky in the Dickens episode of Doctor Who, I kind of think it was intentional - Rose is what, nineteen? A lot of nineteen-year-olds are still dressing in a tacky sort of way, and I assumed she just pulled some clothes out of the Tardis and threw them on. Had her hair been done in the proper style, she may have looked a little more fitting.

I like Billie Piper very much, but I can see your concern. She’s 24, IIRC, but playing younger is pretty common in that age group, so I think she can pull off sixteen.


I’ve only seen Billie Piper as Hero in a modern re-telling of Much Ado About Nothing, and thought she brought more to the role than just a pretty face (though that is required of Hero, of course).