Leeds actress's role is a passionate affair

SHE made her acting name planet hopping with Doctor Who.

Billie Piper's latest role, however, is a much more down-to-earth proposition.

She has been revealed as the star of a new BBC1 adaptation of Kay Mellor stage play A Passionate Woman.

Filming on the drama – which tells the story of a 1950s love affair and its far-reaching impact on the woman at the centre of it – is now under way in Mellor's home city of Leeds.

And today she told how a shock confession from her mother inspired her to write the play, which was first performed at Leeds's West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1992.

Mellor said: "Mum and I were washing up one day when she confided in me she'd had an affair before I was born, when she and my dad lived in the poorer area of Leeds.

"The affair ended when her lover was suddenly killed. I realised she'd kept this secret for 30 years and that she still loved this man."

Mellor said that, after the play transferred to the West End, she initially knocked back interest in the film rights, fearing it would become "Cher on a rooftop in Detroit".

Explaining her subsequent change of heart, she said: "Now, with the BBC and British money, it's the project I want it to be.

"Three years ago mum died and I suppose the film is a way of bringing her back for me."

Due for broadcast next year, A Passionate Woman is being made for the BBC by Mellor's own Rollem Productions company.

Her previous TV hits include Band Of Gold, Fat Friends and Playing The Field.

Billie Piper, meanwhile, shot to fame in the late 1990s as a teenage pop singer.

After turning to acting, she won rave reviews for her role as Rose Tyler in the revival of BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who.

A Passionate Woman's other cast members include Sue Johnston, Frances Barber and Alun Armstrong.

paul.robinsons@ypn.co.uk