Friday, March 26, 2010


Perhaps one of the UK`s best-kept secrets still is ITV`s Secret Diary of a Call Girl. The series, based on a blog and novels by Brooke Magnanti, who until only recently, went by the pseudonym Belle de Jour. Magnanti was a real-life professional escort who began documenting her experiences on her blog in 2005.  Subsequently, she sold the rights to her blog and novels and in 2007, her writings were adapted to television.

In America, Showtime purchased distribution rights for Secret Diary of a Call Girl, while The Movie Network and Showcase are currently airing the series in Canada. It normally airs only after 10 PM due to a large amount of nudity, sexual nature and coarse language. And rightfully so, this isn`t for family viewing.

In addition to some really excellent writing by Lucy Prebble, the show is all about former teen pop star Billie Piper who is devastatingly good in the role of Belle/Hannah Baxter. She lures us into a decadent secret world, breaking stereotypes about prostitution with her tutorial expertise. Piper truly understands Belle straddling (pardon the pun) between keeping her profession a secret from her family and dealing with politics within the subculture of sex trade workers.
The show focuses much on Piper`s often-doomed relationships as she struggles to find a partner whom she feels truly loves her and respects the work she does. We are teased with the possibility of looming romance between her and best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg) but are faced at the same time with the reality of there being many reasons why they are better off as best friends and not lovers. There are some tricky twists in Secret Diary of a Call Girl and I have been enthralled fully by all three seasons thus far.

Piper`s greatest moment as Belle comes late in Season Three where she engages in a heated confrontation with her boyfriend Duncan (James D'Arcy) on his other sexual involvements. On the surface, Belle really has no grounds for argument as really, she is a prostitute and being involved with other men outside her relationship is not out of the ordinary for her. The lines get blurred though as we are faced with the question of whether or not Duncan is cheating because Belle makes it clear she is not involved emotionally with her clients. She loves him. And we totally get where she is coming from, proving that the series has achieved what it set out to do - to make us understand.

You do not know what you are missing if you haven`t caught on to this sinfully guilty pleasure.  And if you love Sex & The City, you`ll love Secret Diary of a Call Girl for its ballsiness.  I might suggest you pick up a Season 1 & 2 Two-Pack and book an appointment with Belle right away.

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