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File:Piper call girl 7616.jpg

 "The first thing you should know about me is that I'm a whore."

After two seasons on Doctor Who, actress Billie Piper burst out as a TV star, UK's sweetheart, and the de facto role model for a nation's worth of little girls.

Obviously, someone's Typecasting alarm got tripped; and she traded in the role of the sweet, girl-next-door time-traveling companion for that of the sweet (-ish), girl-next-door prostitute (sorry, escort/call girl).

By day, Hannah is every bit the usual young single professional: educated, sophisticated, and a bit reserved; by night (and sometimes in the day too, if the client pays extra), she is Belle De Jour, a glamorous call girl with a massive price tag who adores her job. Along with her male best friend Ben (who has resigned himself to Belle's profession) and her rather over-eager sex-worker-in-training protegee Bambi, we get to see Hannah/Belle navigate her work day/night, taking care of finances, dealing with customer retention and satisfaction issues, attending interviews for "promotion"... So basically, a Work Com meets Sex and the City. And yes, this is a post-watershed show, so be prepared for tits, ass, and fetishes a plenty.

Drew the ire of some critics and feminists for glamourizing the sex industry and showing it as safe and prestigious, while glossing over the drugs, violence, and exploitation that plague the trade. Other feminists praised the show for its powerful female character who is completely unashamed of her sexuality and uses it totally to suit her ends.

Based on the tell-all blog and later memoirs of the real Belle de Jour (aka Brooke Magnanti, PHD.), a cancer scientist who became a call girl to pay off her university debts. In typical British fashion, when her identity was revealed, the university that she worked for barely blinked an eye.

This show provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: In series 4, episode 5, Belle posts a notice on her website saying "Call now for a classic English Rose.". Perhaps this is an allusion to her role as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who. Seems too coincidental not to be.
  • Betty and Veronica: The series finale has elements of this, with Belle faced with choosing between Ben (Betty) and Harry (Veronica). In the end, she chooses neither.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Belle De Jour", although frankly you don't need to be that bilingual (a few days hours of French should do the trick).
  • The title is a Blatant Lie, since it claims to be a "Secret Diary", but it's based on a blog, which is about as non-secret as you can get.
  • Character Development: a surprising amount of it for a show that seems so superficial. From series two we see a drastic change in Belle/Hannah's outlook on life as a call girl, and the less glamorous side is further investigated.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bambi and Byron disappear from the show without any explanation after the conclusion of season 3.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ben is a Type 2 for Hannah, though he begins taking on Type 1 aspects during Season 3. This works out for him at the beginning of season 4, but does not last.
  • Dominatrix: Charlotte (Gemma Chan).
  • Fan Service: It's Showtime and ITV, what do you expect?
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Billie Piper was pregnant during filming of the second series. It wouldn't make much sense to have a pregnancy written in, so they instead put her in unflattering and baggy dresses. It is actually quite noticeable if you know to look for it.
  • High Class Call Girl
  • Lipstick and Load Montage: The opening credits.
  • No Fourth Wall: What is this "fourth wall" of which you speak?
  • Pretty in Mink: One episode has her wearing a short, white rabbit cape.
  • Role Association: Rose Tyler is turning tricks for Gabrielle Benson, where she ends up servicing the Eleventh Doctor, while desperately trying to keep boyfriend Mason from finding out.
  • Secret Identity: The main character goes by her real name "Hannah" in everyday life and "Belle" for her work as a call girl.
    • "Bambi" is also an alias. In season 3, her real name is revealed to be Gloria.
  • Upperclass Twit: Byron is an example of this, though he is shown to genuinely love and care for Bambi.
  • Undisclosed Funds: We never really find out what Belle's rate is, except that "She charges by the hours and charges a lot"
    • Subverted, as she disclosed it half-way through Series 1 (It's £105,000/year, by the way).
  • Unproblematic Prostitution
  • Work Com: Arguably for the sex-trade (or at least the higher echelons thereof).
  • You Fail Logic Forever: Belle falls out with her partner Duncan, when she finds out he has been sleeping with other escorts. Her reasoning is that though she herself sleeps with many men, her job requires her to (whilst he did it for the pleasure). It comes across as somewhat hypocritical due to her taking great pleasure in her "work", her deliberate choice not to pursue other non-sexual careers, and her expectation for him to not seek other partners within their relationship whilst requiring him to live with her doing just that.
    • Also invoked when Belle discovers Poppy in Ben's bed and lampshaded near the end of the final episode with a short montage.
  • You Need to Get Laid: From Bambi to Belle, no less.
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