Billie Piper has teamed up with the writer of Secret Diary of a Call Girl for a new project, and it looks bloody brilliant. But is it really based on Piper’s own life?
Updated on 21 Feb 2020: We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re big fans of Billie Piper – hell, we even asked the actor to step in as our guest editor last year. You can only imagine, then, how excited we were to learn that Piper’s reuniting with Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Lucy Prebble to create a new Sky original drama.
“It’s taken years to finally get Lucy, my long-term GF and favourite writer in London – to work with me again,” Piper said of the collaboration. “We feel we’ve created something timely and not for the faint-hearted.
“If you too suffer with anxiety, shame, compulsive lying but like a laugh, please tune in at some point.”
In the show, Piper plays an actor who, years prior appeared in a TV show that made her a favourite with cult TV fans. But Piper and Prebble have made one thing very clear: it’s not inspired by the former’s own life.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the series at Sky’s Up Next event, Piper said: “It was a culmination of many conversations about what it’s like to be a woman in your 30s, which feels radically different to what it felt like to be in our 20s. We wanted to shine a light on that in a way that felt very true and authentic and exposing.”
As reported by OK! Magazine, Piper added: “I certainly understand the emotions and the feelings of being a woman in my 30s, which the show is about as well.
“It’s an unmasking of a woman, so even though what’s happening is really quite brutal, she’s getting to know herself through this awful trauma.”
And Prebble continued: “We were looking at what it is to be a woman in the public eye at the moment and though of course Billie can relate to that, many of us can relate to that a little bit – more and more with social media and things like that.
“Everyone has a profile now, so our character of Suzie I think is quite a relatable character right now.”
As reported on 13 Feb 2020: Here’s everything we know about I Hate Suzie so far.
What’s I Hate Suzie about?
The short version? It’s about a woman whose phone is hacked.
And the long version?
Fine, you asked for it: Piper stars as Suzie Pickles, a celebrity whose star is well and truly on the wane. When Suzie’s phone is hacked and a photo of her emerges in an extremely compromising position, though, she soon finds herself thrust unceremoniously back into the spotlight.
Episode by episode, the series will follow her through the stages of shock, denial, fear, shame, bargaining, guilt, anger and acceptance. But can she and her manager really hope to hold Suzie’s life, career and marriage together in the face of all that bad press?
Only time will tell, we guess. As Sky puts it: “Can any of us survive being well and truly ‘known’?”
Is there a trailer?
There is indeed, and it shows Piper at her absolute best.
Check it out:
Is it based on a true story?
Not ostensibly, although some have suggested that Suzie’s story is inspired by the phone hacking scandal that led to the shuttering of Rupert Murdoch’s The News of the World.
Speaking to Stylist, though, Prebbles has said that both she and co-creator Piper found Suzie’s story to be very relatable.
“[The show] is about a woman in her 30s going through a life crisis,” she said. “That’s something we both can relate to. In the last 18 months, Billie has ended her eight-year marriage [to actor Laurence Fox] and embarked on an emotionally shattering performance at the Young Vic with Yerma – about a woman craving motherhood in a society that demands it – collecting a prestigious Olivier Award for Best Actress in the process…
“From teen pop star to power player on the British acting scene, it feels like Billie’s subverted expectations and turned her life upside down. We often talk about our mid-30s and how for both of us, it’s been an age of reinvention and risk. Or, as Billie would say, ‘an absolute shitshow’.”
Who stars in I Hate Suzie?
As well as Piper, we have Innocent’s Leila Farzad stepping into the role of Naomi (aka Suzie’s manager and BFF). The Crown’s Daniel Ings stars as Cob, our titular hero’s husband. And Kate Cook, Terence Egnie, Kaisa Hammarlund, Olivier Huband, Trevor White, James Henri-Thomas and Helena Blackman will be joining them, according to IMDB.
We will keep you updated as further casting details are announced.
When is I Hate Suzie on TV?
I Hate Suzie will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in 2020. Which is… well, it’s pretty vague, we guess. We promise to let you know as soon as we get an exact release date.
Main image: Tom Van Schelven for Stylist
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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