Almost worth signing up to Sky for alone, Billie Piper continues her extraordinarily powerful work with the blisteringly excellent I Hate Suzie Too
“It’s just…very long list of everything that’s wrong with me”
In some ways it is a bit of a shame that I Hate Suzie Too is on Sky, thus not getting anywhere near the views and attention it should rightly be receiving. But on the other, would a terrestrial channel have allowed creators Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper to be as uncompromisingly daring? It’s something to ponder… Following on from the anarchic energy of the first series, we return to the life of Suzie Pickles, a celebrity whose life and career has been shanghaied by a hacking incident resulting in intimate photos being released.
Six months later, things aren’t getting better. The pregnancy revealed in the finale has been aborted in boldly eye-wincing detail, her estranged husband Cob is suing for divorce and custody of their kid Frank, and her attempted career comeback via reality show Dance Crazee Xmas is kyboshed by the public voting her out in the first week. And that’s just in the first 15 minutes. In the ensuing three episodes, life continues to snowball out of control, into crushingly oppressive horror that is somehow so compellingly watchable.
This is in large part due to Piper’s extraordinary performance, part of her blistering foray into redefining feminist cultural narratives. Suzie is often terrible, beyond terrible even, as she ricochets from bad decision to bad decision, usually meaning to do well in her relationships – particularly with Frank and now ex-agent Naomi (the excellent Leila Farzad) – but somehow always fucking it up even worse. The show is brutal beyond belief, not least because the potential for happiness doesn’t seem too far away for Suzie, she just can’t ever seem to get there.
Anastasia Hille is brilliant as her ferocious new plain-speaking agent Sian, and Daniel Ings as the equally messed up Cob contrasts well with the gentle insouciance of Douglas Hodge’s Bailey, Suzie’s first ex-husband, who is also on the dancing show. Omari Douglas’ PR expert, Peter Caulfield’s choreographer and Ambika Mod’s tireless runner also impress in their supporting roles. I Hate Suzie Too is an undoubtedly challenging watch but it is also one of the most essential shows of the year, in my mind. Stunning.