Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble reunite and collaborate to great success with the sharply funny I Hate Suzie
“I’m sorry the world’s seen your dick, but also – fuck off, slightly”
Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper’s creative relationship has covered TV (Secret Diary of a Call Girl, the first season at least) and theatre (the excellent The Effect) and was recently reignited with Sky series I Hate Suzie. Drawing something of personal history, the show follows a former teen pop star turned sci-fi actress as she deals with a phone hacking incident which leaves problematic intimate photos of her scattered on the internet.
The eight episodes cycle through, and are titled after, stages of trauma – Shock, Denial, Fear, Shame, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger, and Acceptance – representing the indubitably self-centered Suzie’s processing of her experience. And it is a highly entertaining, linear journey, one which Suzie barrelling forward with an interesting lack of recurring characters – even her family members only get the one episode in which to appear, such is the pace of the high-maintenance that she is alternately trying to salvage and sabotage.
This works effectively to evoke the headlong sense of freewheeling that Piper’s Suzie – if not embraces – certainly doesn’t reject. Initially pushing against societal demands of how a female celebrity should behave, particularly where sexuality is involved, the show latterly probes into how we treat celebrities at large (Framing Britney can’t help but spring into mind right now) and how unforgiving we can all be (there’s a deliberate nod to Judy Garland come the end).
Piper is clearly having a ball, revelling in how close to the edge she can take Suzie, and she’s supported well by Daniel Ings as her wavering husband and Leila Farzad as her best friend and agent, on her own journey of self-discovery. Along the way, there’s particularly vivid appearances from Amanda Abbington as the awful Charon and Joshua James as an awfully pretentious theatre director amongst other cameos. The whole thing is wonderfully bingeable – well worth getting the free 7 day trial from NOWTV if you haven’t got Sky.