Reviews

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl: Season 3

Those aren’t her breasts, but Piper continues to titillate...

The negligee of secrecy protecting the identity of London call girl ‘Belle de Jour’ slipped to the floor last year, when the high-class hooker turned blogger outed herself in the press as scientist Dr Brooke Magnanti. Of course, by that time we’d all got used to visualising her as Billie Piper in the BBC’s racy but restrained take on her bestselling books.

The revealing of the real Belle does little to dispel the aura of fantasy around this third series, which as ever gives the cold, hard reality of the sex industry (at least at the more ‘affordable’ end) a wide berth. No human trafficking, track marks, STDs or pimps here – just shallow, mildly titillating escapism. Four-letter words are chucked about with adolescent defiance while the sex, despite being flavoured in a range of ‘depraved’ but generally farcical fetishes, is sanitised – not least in the fact Piper’s parts are played by a body double.

But there’s good, clean fun to be had in this run, in which Piper’s Belle/Hannah switches the day-job from legal secretary to author with the launch of her debut book. The rumours at the launch party parallel the guessing game that buzzed around Magnanti’s blog. Is the author a man? A team of cunning marketeers?

But for Belle/Hannah, the problem is less amorous fans as her suave publisher Duncan (James D’Arcy) challenges the cardinal rule of never mixing business with pleasure. But is it Hannah he wants to be with, or Belle? The client/ relationship quandary is one also facing Belle’s fellow hooker, Bambi, who falls for a dandyish aristo. So if the whores are just hardworking, high-earning girls, what about the punters? Aside from the occasional cash-flashing geezer, they’re a harmless bunch of flabby-arsed losers with varying degrees of inadequacy and perviness.

Okay, so Diary is hardly taboo-busting dynamite, and its portrayal of the subject matter remains deeply questionable, but the writing’s sharp, snappy and often very funny. And Piper, while bordering on smug, is a convincing, charismatic lead. It’s epsonly on the discs, though. An interview with Dr Magnanti would really have been worth paying for.

Verdict:

An enjoyable romp – or 100 – with Piper on smouldering form, even if it’s never going to win any awards either as docu-drama or soft porn.

Film Details

  • 18
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z
  • Genre

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