The series was initially developed with Channel 4  and when Channel 4 passed on the project, ITV took over. The song runs whilst the intertitle plays, showing Belle applying make-up and getting dressed, interspersed with shots of urban London. Plot[ edit ] The series, set in London , revolves around the life of Hannah Baxter Billie Piper , a seemingly normal woman, who lives a secret life as a call girl , under the pseudonym Belle.
The series focuses on her professional and private life and its complications as they collide. However, she receives help and advice from her best friend Ben Iddo Goldberg , in most situations. In the second series premiere, a new call girl Bambi Ashley Madekwe is introduced: Hannah becomes close friends with her, as well as frequently gives her advice regarding prostitution and her personal life.
Hannah, as the main character, also narrates the series, sometimes through voiceovers but more frequently she breaks the fourth wall. During the first series, the episodes are held together by a light story arc , however Series 2 and 3 have relied heavily on a story arc, usually in the form of Hannah's romances, namely with Alex and Duncan. Hannah is secretive about her job to her family and friends, pretending that she is a night-time legal secretary, although she thoroughly enjoys her work.
Iddo Goldberg as Ben series Hannah's best friend and former boyfriend from their university days. Ben is the manager of a London bar and is at first unaware of Hannah's real job. Ben is in a relationship with his girlfriend Vanessa who does not care for Hannah. Cherie Lunghi as Stephanie Charlton series Hannah's agent in the first series.
Stephanie runs a successful escorting agency, Discreet Elite, and is a shrewd businesswoman who can sometimes come across as cold-hearted and unfeeling. Ashley Madekwe as Gloria 'Bambi' White series Bambi has had a hard life and mainly wants to escort for the money. Callum Blue as Alex McLoud series 2: Alex is immediately attracted to Belle but does not realise that she is a prostitute.
James D'Arcy as Duncan Atwood series 3: Hannah's publisher after she has become a best-selling author. Although their relationship is strictly professional, Hannah soon starts to develop feelings for Duncan. Lily James as Poppy series 4: Stephanie's daughter who does not know what her mother does professionally.
Gemma Chan as Charlotte series 4: Charlotte is dominant, unfriendly, and used to getting what she wants. Paul Nicholls as Det.
Harry Keegan series 4: Hannah's parents who are unaware of their daughter's profession. Joanna Bobin as Jackie series Hannah's sister who is unaware of her sister's profession.
Jackie is married and has an infant son. Ace Bhatti as Ashok series One of Belle's favourite regular clients. David Dawson as Byron Seebohm series 3: Critical response[ edit ] Belle turns to the camera and says, "Sex is really a numbers game.
Group sex is complicated, but that's mechanics. For me, the hardest numbers have always been one plus one. Can never seem to make them add up. The show also uses London in somewhat the same way Sex and the City used New York — we see a lot of bright lights, fancy restaurants, and expensive apartments — though there is a sadder, more wistful quality to the photography here, as if Belle were living in a kind of London fog, which, of course, she is. The New Yorker , noting the similarities between the two shows.
Yet according to Belle, the heroine of the series Series 2 became complicated to film due to Piper's pregnancy and body doubles were hired.
After the end of Series 3, ITV had not commissioned a fourth series, as well as there was speculation, even amongst the cast,  whether or not Secret Diary of a Call Girl would return.