Billie Piper to star in tabloid stage play

Billie Piper is to star in a new production about the world of tabloid newspapers at the National Theatre, created by the man behind stage hit One Man, Two Guvnors.

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The play Great Britain, billed by the National as "an anarchic satire about the press, the police and the political establishment", will open next week.

It has been announced as attention is focused once again on newspaper phone hacking after former News Of The World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones yesterday.

The former boss of News International, Rebekah Brooks, was cleared of all charges against her following a trial lasting eight months.

The new production has been written by Richard Bean, who received great acclaim for One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden. The staging of the play at the Lyttelton Theatre had been put back for the verdicts to be returned.

Piper - who earned a best actress nomination for the Olivier Awards for a previous National appearance in The Effect - will play Paige Britain, who is described as an "ambitious young news editor of The Free Press, a tabloid newspaper locked in a never-ending battle for more readers".

Tickets went on sale today for the production, which is being directed by the theatre's artistic director Sir Nicholas Hytner, who steps down next year.

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