People

Billie Piper’s tribute to her I Hate Suzie co-creator is both relatable and moving

Posted by
Anna Brech
Published
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

Amid growing elation over new Sky Atlantic drama I Hate Suzie, its star Billie Piper speaks to the power of female collaboration in a message to her co-creator Lucy Prebble

Female writers have long fought for the visibility and credit they deserve on British TV. In 2018, an open letter from a large group of female screenwriters argued that TV drama was “overwhelmingly written by men”, while research published the same year showed that less than 15% of primetime episodes are predominantly written by women.

This representation gap perhaps explains why female friendship and partnership – even now – is not portrayed on TV in quite the same way that we recognise it as in real life.

You may also like

I Hate Suzie: Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble explore the ‘bad’ decisions women make in their 30s

Too often, female leads in TV are characterised as jealous and competitive of one another: while the loyal, deep-rooted and creative bonds we know to exist between women somehow take a backseat.

At the same time, women themselves are often painted as glossy, one-dimensional characters: rather than the messy, weird and complex reality of womanhood that we all know to be true. 

Billie Piper in new Sky Atlantic hit I Hate Suzie

So it’s great to see Billie Piper call out her I Hate Suzie co-creator, Lucy Prebble in a moving post on Instagram this week.

In case you haven’t heard of it yet, I Hate Suzie is the new Sky Atlantic drama based around a 30-something Hollywood star, Suzie Pickles, whose life unravels amid an explicit photo leak. 

You may also like

I Hate Suzie: Billie Piper explains the meanings behind those striking looks

Starring Piper as the wayward protagonist, and written by Prebble, the full series dropped earlier this week to rave reviews from critics and the public alike (#IHateSuzie is currently trending on Twitter).

Amid growing excitement around the dark comic-drama, Piper paid tribute to her “lady love” and “boss writer” Prebble, saying: “Your pen is the strongest.”

Piper’s words are poignant because – in an industry that’s still dominated by men – it shows just how powerful creative partnerships between women can be. 

Piper and Prebbles worked together previously on ITV drama Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and – based on the early runaway success of I Hate Suzie – their chemistry has once again paid off in a big way.

The post also illustrates the kind of generosity of spirit that is often spectacularly missing in media-driven narratives of women working together (think of the thousands the column inches devoted to “tensions” between the females casts of Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives).

Piper is able to pay tribute to Prebble in such an open and warm way because, like many women who work together, she can celebrate her talent without feeling threatened by it.

Not only that, but female writing talent such as Piper describes in Prebble is increasingly leading the way in TV, creating the kind of shows that women truly want to watch.

You may also like

I Hate Suzie: everything you need to know about Billie Piper’s new show

Think of Sharon Horgan’s Catastrophe or Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge: like I Hate Suzie, they are TV series that show women who are sexual, complex, funny and deeply flawed: in other words, characters we can all relate to. 

In an industry where sexism is still very much alive and kicking, and women are routinely reduced to their looks, this ability to cut through the clichés is more important than ever.

And if I Hate Suzie feels very real in a gritty, confessional way, that’s because it draws from the real-life intimacy between Piper and Prebble. 

“We have a very similar taste in dark humour and that’s really helpful,” Piper told Stylist in an interview earlier this month. “Within our friendship, there’s very little Lucy can say to me that is shocking or frightening. And I think that works both ways. I certainly appreciate that; it makes me feel less alone in life. It’s also definitely the same in the work that we’ve been doing.”

Here’s to the life-long fuel of female collaboration and friendship – long may it continue. 

The full series of I Hate Suzie is available on Sky Atlantic now. 

Images: Getty, Sky Cinema

Sign up for workouts, nutritious recipes and expert tips. You'll also get your Beginner's Guide To Strength Training.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Topics

Share this article

Author

Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

Recommended by Anna Brech

People

Billie Piper calls upon TV bosses to cast a woman as Doctor Who

She insists it would be a “snub” to womankind if they don’t

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Billie Piper nails the big difference between life in your 20s and 30s

“When you compare them to your thirties, they’re a bloody walk in the park”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Life

BBC Three might return to TV, these are its 10 best series so far

Hurrah for its potential return!

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
Published
Life

Million Dollar Beach House is the Netflix show we didn’t know we needed

From Project Power to All Together Now.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published