Billie Piper has said her upcoming drama I Hate Suzie, about a fading celebrity whose life is thrown into chaos when she is hacked, shows how quickly someone’s world can come crashing down.
The actress says it highlights how “anybody’s life can be torn apart very easily”.
Created by Piper and her good friend and former Secret Diary Of A Call Girl collaborator Lucy Prebble, the series follows the titular character Suzie Pickles as a photo emerges of her in a compromising position and her life unravels.
The Sky original drama is a billed as a series about “the moment in life when the mask slips, asking if any of us can survive being well and truly ‘known’.”
Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet at Sky’s Up Next launch event, showcasing new programmes for 2020, Piper spoke about comparisons with her own life, but said she is “much nicer and more patient” than her character.
Now that most people have some sort of public profile thanks to social media, she says, what happens to Suzie could happen to anyone.
“Everybody’s life can be torn apart very easily,” says Piper. “That’s something we now all potentially could experience. Everything’s potentially incriminating.”
Laughing, Piper adds: “We all live in a permanent state of anxiety and fear about what is to come.”
“Everyone has a profile now,” says Prebble. “So our character of Suzie, I felt she was quite relatable to everyone.”
Episode by episode, I Hate Suzie follows the character through the different emotional stages she goes through following the hack – shock, denial, fear, shame, bargaining, guilt, anger and acceptance – as she and her best friend and manager Naomi (Leila Farzad) try to hold her life, career and marriage to Cob (Daniel Ings) together.
Prebble, who is also one of the writers behind the critically acclaimed US drama Succession, says they wanted to explore the difficulties of living life in the public eye in I Hate Suzie.
“When I was writing the show and Billie was starring in and co-creating it with me, we were looking at what it is to be a woman in the public eye at the moment. And I think although of course Billie can relate to that, many of us can sort of relate to that a little bit now. More and more with social media and things like that.”
The series is a “culmination of many conversations about what it felt like to be in our 30s, which feels radically different to what it felt like to be in our 20s”, says Piper.
“We wanted to put a light on that in a way that felt very true and authentic and exposing.”
Prebble says: “We had a lot of conversations about what sort of TV show would we make together if we could do anything we wanted.
“This is a show that we both really believe in and have made together about things we really, really care about.”
Piper and Prebble were among dozens of celebrity guests at the Up Next event at the Tate Modern, with stars including David Schwimmer, Steve Coogan, Brian Cox and Maisie Williams all introducing programmes coming up on Sky in 2020 to host Chris Evans.
Magician Dynamo was also there to promote his upcoming show Beyond Belief, which marks his return to TV after taking several years out due to health problems with Crohn’s disease and arthritis.
The illusionist told Sky News he is now “feeling on top of the world” and that “hitting rock bottom” turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
I Hate Suzie is coming soon to Sky Atlantic and NOW TV