WCW: Eve Myles and Billie Piper

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Here’s a twofer for all you Whovians out there! Eve Myles was first introduced as the character, Gwyneth Cooper, in the episode “The Unquiet Dead” (2005), playing a young Welshwoman living in Victorian Cardiff who has a special gift for communing with the dead. She later reprises the role in the episodes “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” (both in 2008). It wouldn’t be too long, however, before Eve Myles shows up as Gwen Cooper, the descendant of her character from Doctor Who, in Who spin-off Torchwood. 

Gwyneth in “The Unquiet Dead” (2005).

Simultaneously, Billie Piper’s character Rose gets sucked into time and space with The Doctor, enjoying all manner of shenanigans before being phased out as the Companion. There are plenty of period Who episodes from her tenure (one of the hallmarks of Doctor Who as we’ve covered numerous times before on this website). Piper went on post-Who to star in a number of mildly successful period films.

The only clear shot I could find of Rose’s costume from “The Unquiet Dead,” which is very much not historically accurate. But that’s kind of Rose’s thing in the show … Any chance she gets to dress up in a historical costume, she’ll do it about as well as you would expect a 19-year-old shop girl from 2005 London to do.

 

Eve Myles:

Little Dorrit (2009)

I’m having a hard time with Myles playing Maggy, the waifish sidekick of Amy, given how malnourished she was supposed to be, and, well … She’s kind of not known for being scrawny.

 

Merlin (2009-2013) – Helen

Ok, it’s fantasy, but I needed more images to make this a post, so deal.

 

Victoria (2016-2019) – Mrs. Jenkins

All prim and proper as the Queen’s dresser.

 

Billie Piper:

Sally Lockheart Mysteries (2006)

I haven’t seen this, but it’s 1) got decent looking costumes, and 2) has Haley Atwell in it, so I should probably try to overlook the weird-ass modernized hair on Piper and give it a watch sometime.

 

Mansfield Park (2007)

In case this photo doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about this critically panned flick, we gave it a short review. It has been brought up repeatedly on this site as one of the poster children for the Great Bobby Pin Shortage, however.

 

A Passionate Woman (2010)

It’s set in the 50s, so I’m not excited about it, and all the hair looks super modern … Meh.

 

Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)

The show is known for it’s fanciful take on late-Victorian clothing, but people love it, so I dunno.

 

Have you noticed either Eve Myles or Billie Piper in historical costume movies & TV shows?

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

17 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    I may be in the minority but I like Billie Piper. My favourite role is in Penny Dreadful which has Gabriella Pescucci costumes. Eve Myles as Mrs Jenkins in Victoria is my favourite of her roles.

    Reply
  2. Katie O

    I like the Billie Piper Mansfield Park more than the 1999 one, but really I would love for someone to do a better one than both. It feels like movie producers are scared to do an Austen flick if the heroine isn’t another Elizabeth Bennet.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Billie Piper as Fanny Price just boggles my mind. Fanny is cripplingly shy and passive to the point of aggression. So not Billie.

      Reply
  3. Gwyneth

    The Sally Lockhart mysteries are worth a watch (and a read, they’re by “Golden Compass” author Phillip Pullman). They are a good “woman does stuff in spite of” series, and have an actual character arc, and storyline.

    Reply
    • Kelly

      And Philip Pullman himself said about her Sally Lockhart, “Why isn’t she wearing a hat when she goes out in public?” :)

      Reply
      • Roxana

        The producers of period drama seem to have as big a problem with hats as hairpins.

        Reply
  4. Lee Jones

    I don’t know who Eve Myles is and as for Billie Piper’s period roles . .. meh.

    Reply
  5. Roxana

    I just loved Rose – until they brought her back as creepy stalker chick and rewarded her with her very own Doctor. Didn’t like that at all. But it was the writers not Billie. Back in a non Rose role she was adorable again. She doesn’t seem a natural for historical flicks though.

    Reply
  6. Nzie

    Ah, I wish I’d paid more attention to 9’s season because then perhaps Eve Myles wouldn’t be in my mind indelibly as a very troubling character in Broadchurch season 2. The other troubling character was played by an actor I liked a lot in Agent Carter (James D’Arcy maybe?) so I was disturbed seeing him but it didn’t form my primary impression. But those two characters’ relationship I found so deeply disturbing that it was a major factor in my never watching a second episode of Victoria.

    Not a huge Billie Piper fan. I don’t have anything against her (she is a competent actress) but in Who I do feel like there’s a sincere effort to make women important… but there are mixed results. It’s a challenge when they’ve created a central (until recently male) character who is portrayed as almost godlike in knowledge and ability But Wait The (Usually Female) Human Reminds Him Of Something Important. Now that I think of it a number of companions (at least in the new Who era) start strong and eventually turn into the writers basically (or explicitly) telling us how important they are. Maybe it was for the best that Bill was a one season–great season, great story, character didn’t fizzle. At any rate, I have a hard time picturing Piper in much historical, the pics above don’t really dispel that problem, but the one with Haley Atwell may be worth a go.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Writers seem to have gone in for superpowered companions. In some cases, Rose and Clara, they seem to have fallen in love with them to the detriment of the character. I hoped a female Doctor would fulfill the need for ‘strong female character’ TM. Not sure it’s worked that way.

      Reply
      • MoHub

        This is why I’m strictly classic Doctor. I’ve always preferred my Doctors to be asexual.

        Reply
  7. Vianne

    Eve Myles was fine for Maggy (well, too much hair). The book describes her as “about eight and twenty, with large bones, large features, large features, large feet and hands, and no hair.” She is supposed to physically contrast with Amy, who is repeatedly mistaken for a child throughout the book (Claire Foy was actually a bit too tall to be Amy, but this is a fab production otherwise.) https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Little_Dorrit_-_Little_Mother.jpg

    Reply

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