TV Recap

'Secret Diary of a Call Girl': Tricks of the Trade

On the U.S. premiere of the controversial British series, Hannah reveals the ins and outs of being a high-priced whore

Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl | RIDE 'EM, COWGIRL Hannah saddled up an ex-farmer john
RIDE 'EM, COWGIRL Hannah saddled up an ex-farmer john

'Call Girl' recap: Off to a great tart

''The first thing you should know about me is that I'm a whore.''

Hannah — the high-priced prozzie in Secret Diary of a Call Girl who occupies the attractive and talented body of Doctor Who's Billie Piper — has no secrets...from us, at least. We know how she turns up for an appointment (in a designer suit). We know that she glides past hotel reception (''look like you know where you're going''). We know what she charges (a lot and up front). We even know how she convinces clients she fancies them (lube). And we know why she does it: ''I love sex and I love money...I'm fundamentally lazy...what I really like is being my own boss.'' But Hannah's parents, sister, and best friend, Ben, have no clue how she rakes in the dough. They think she's a legal secretary. A very well paid, ultra hush-hush, has-a-lot-of-free-time-in-the-afternoons legal secretary. Denial is not just a river, apparently. And I'm talking to you, Hannah (a.k.a. ''Belle'' when you're working), as much as anyone else. I sense Ben has a hunch — he's got to notice the bling in your pad. And though we haven't met your mom or pops yet, I bet they suspect something, too. Hence, the drama.

Or some of it.

My favorite part of Belle de Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, the best-selling, X-rated, ''happy hooker'' memoir that is Call Girl's source material, didn't make it into last night's opener. No, it's not Belle de Jour's A-to-Z of English sex work, the graphic descriptions of fisting and anal, her sexually adventurous, understanding beau (yep, in the book she's got one and he knows) or the exchange of Martin Amis references with a john. (All of which makes it a prickly subway read, and I'm including Amis in there — some crazies think he's overrated.) It's when Belle warns us never to use ''whoring'' to describe any other profession but her own: ''Many of my friends will tell you how temping for a year or ending up in sales is the equivalent to prostitution. It's not. I know this because I've been a temp and I've f---ed for money, and they are in no way similar. Not even the same planet.'' She's as right as rain: Say what you want about fetching Starbucks for the man, it's a lot different than making it with Hannah's first punter on the show, a fat, middle-aged ex-farmhand who looks like a sideburned refugee from Bob Hoskins' gang in The Long Good Friday. Then again, Hannah enjoys riding him, quite literally, like a horse. I'm not sure anyone is that keen on getting coffee.

NEXT: Unhappy hooker

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