Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble on what to expect from I Hate Suzie Too
The series follows Piper’s Suzie Pickles, a former teenage pop star and TV actress whose personal life, career and reputation turn to ash after her phone is hacked and compromising sexual photos – featuring a man who is clearly not her husband – are leaked. Wittily titled I Hate Suzie Too, the show’s second series sees Prebble, whose TV credits include Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and Succession, return with Piper to continue Suzie’s story as she deals with the aftershock of her scandal.
“She’s sort of burnt the house down. Metaphorically, not literally,” says former singer and Doctor Who and Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star Piper, 40, of Suzie. She’s chosen herself, and she’s starting life again. She’s pregnant – we learn that at the end of series one. She wants to redeem herself and win back the love of the public, but also get some cash because she’s homeless and jobless. And everyone hates her. That’s where we find her at the beginning of season two which makes for some good drama.”
Suzie has signed up for a TV dance competition, Dance Crazee, hoping to garner some support from the disapproving public and get some cash back in the bank, but it’s clear that the emotional rollercoaster she was put through in series one has not quite reached its final stop. Divorce lawyers, a furious soon-to-be-ex-husband, a new agent and the reappearance of a past husband, Bailey, catch Suzie in a destructive vortex as she tries to recover from her photo scandal, and it’s clear from the off that she has the odds stacked against her.
I Hate Suzie Too, like the first series, is deliberately subversive and takes care to explore experiences distinct to female celebrities – and to women in society in general. It explores the other side of celebrity “breakdowns”, examining how the real person behind the emotion differs from the one the tabloids present.
“We always talk about Britney Spears, we talk a lot about Amy Winehouse, Caroline Flack… you know, the journey to these awful tragedies,” says Piper. “And if you were actually following that, as a protagonist… if you actually followed that journey, would that sort of outcome be inevitable?”
“And would it make sense?” muses Prebble, who studied at the University of Sheffield. “So often, we’re introduced to these things at their last point. The famous images of Britney Spears, or other women celebrities, that portray them as seeming quite frightening, or monstrous, or crazy.
“If you did follow what her experience was professionally, culturally, socially, would you think: oh, no, that’s a logical reaction to what has happened to her and what she has done, rather than an insane manifestation that you couldn’t possibly understand, that must be due to mental illness? It’s a challenging question, but it’s one that the show is concerned with.”
I Hate Suzie Too is available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW.