From hooker to housewife, Billie Piper’s latest role finds her as a 1950s newlywed trapped in a loveless relationship in A Passionate Woman, screening on BBC One on Sunday, April 11 at 9pm…

Tell us about A Passionate Woman, your new TV role…
“I play Betty, a young woman. She’s a very poor woman and she’s first-time married, and a mother. She is very much a woman of the time – very ordered, proper, buttoned up. She’s close with her husband but it’s a very old-fashioned relationship – he’s at work all day, he doesn’t talk to her, doesn’t ask her how she’s doing. She is completely bowled over by this polish neighbour, Craze, who moves in. They fall in love and begin this obsessive, passionate affair.”

It’s a true story isn’t it?
“It’s written by Kay Mellor [Fat Friends] and loosely based on an affair her own mother had in the 1950s, which she never confessed to until the 1980s. The second episode of the story jumps forward to the 80s, where Betty is played by Sue Johnston.”

Did you meet Sue to talk about your character?
“Briefly, we lived next to each other while our parts of the shoot overlapped. She’s lovely, smart and a really savvy actress. I was thrilled to be playing the younger version of her.”

Betty is a far cry from your other role – Belle in Secret Diary of a Call Girl…
“Yes! That’s why I wanted to do it. I get offered a lot of naked roles – feisty nurses, women dressed only in their bras! That’s it for me for now! That’s my life! But I want to different parts, and this is radically different.”

Did you relate to Betty as a young mother yourself?
“Yes. I’ve just had my first son Winston and I’m newly married [to Lewis actor, Laurence Fox], so I could completely relate to Betty. But nowadays we have opportunities to go out and work and socialise and we’re constantly banging on about how we feel. Back then it was a taboo.”

What’s coming up for you? There are lots of rumours that you’re off to America?
“I’m going out there to sniff around and see what there is. I get sent a lot of scripts from America, but I get so spoiled here with meaty, rounded parts, I don’t get that with American scripts. We’re working on what we’re going to do now but I’d quite like to stay at home and be with my son for a bit!”