1 MARCH 2007

She's admitted to having butterflies over her West End stage debut, but judging by her early performances Billie Piper has overcome her nerves like a pro. The former Dr Who actress is no doubt glad to have the support of her boyfriend and co-star Laurence Fox, who also happens to play her lover.

"The level of concentration is like nothing I have ever known before," she admits of her role in Treats at London's Garrick Theatre. "When it's great, it's the best feeling I've ever experienced." She plays Ann, a young woman who replaces her difficult long-term boyfriend Dave, played by Kris Marshall, with the more conventional Patrick - portrayed by Laurence.

Billie, who is gearing up for the play's press night on March 8, is not only contending with stage fright these days but also increasing interest in her relationship with her 28-year-old beau, best known to TV audiences as Kevin Whatley's sidekick in the Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis. Newspaper reports are suggesting the duo, who started dating at the end of last year, are preparing to head up the aisle already.

In a recent tabloid interview, however, the star admitted: "I used to think, 'Yes I can definitely see myself getting married again' loads of times probably. But I'm in no rush." The 24-year-old, who says she loves "being domesticated", has learned not to plan her future, and take life as it comes. "It's hard to predict anything," she says. "If someone said to me two years ago, you will have been in a massive TV show, won some awards and written a book, I would have said 'rubbish'." Billie will be back on our screens in a new role on March 18 when she stars in the ITV adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Photo: ©
Murder City actor Kris and Laurence, of Lewis fame, star alongside Billie in Treats at London's Garrick Theatre Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
The former Dr Who actress has overcome her theatre nerves, no doubt with the help of boyfriend Laurence (above), who also plays her on-stage love interestPhoto: © Rex
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