One of the most emotional moments of the Doctor Who revival (hell, probably in the whole of the long history of the show) was when David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor finally said goodbye to Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. He used a supernova to send his message across dimensions, explaining that they can never see each other again as it’d mean very bad things for the fabric of space and time. And so, Rose remained trapped in a parallel dimension, albeit with the companionship of a ‘fake’ half-human Meta-Crisis Doctor (it’s complicated, okay).
During an appearance on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, Piper opened up on the pressures of the show and why she left. Apparently, despite already being famous for her music career and other acting roles, she hadn’t realized how much people would be scrutinizing her, saying: “I didn’t like the responsibility of being a sort of role model.” Piper explains that while playing Rose she was going through a divorce with her husband, was struggling with an eating disorder, and battling a paranoia that she was a “washed out child star.”
But it’s not all bad, as she adds:
“It was great in many ways. Because I was doing what I felt like I was born to do on some level.”
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Since bowing out, Piper has made a couple of cameos, appearing in the Tenth Doctor’s lengthy regeneration sequence and playing the face of a weapon of mass destruction known as The Moment in the 50th Anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor.” She’s also a fixture in Big Finish audio dramas, having turned up alongside Tennant in The Tenth Doctor Adventures and getting her own series in Rose Tyler: Dimension Cannon.
At the end of the interview, she said that she gets a kick out of meeting teenage girls called Rose at conventions – named after her character by their Whovian parents. What better tribute could you want?
Doctor Who is expected to return later this year for season 13.