Billie Piper studied Caroline Flack, Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears for I Hate Suzie

Virgin Radio

13 Dec 2022, 10:57

L-R: Amy Winehouse, Billie Piper, Britney Spears

Credit: Getty

Billie Piper has revealed she studied Caroline Flack, Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears for her new series of I Hate Suzie to understand how events can lead to celebrities experiencing “awful tragedies”.

The hit Sky drama centres around the life of actress Suzie Pickles (Piper), whose life is turned upside down when her phone is hacked and compromising photographs of her are leaked.

In the second series, which launches next week, Suzie tries to resurrect her career and reconnect with her first love, the British public, by becoming a contestant on a reality TV dance programme.

Piper helped create the show with Lucy Prebble, after the pair collaborated on the drama series Secret Diary of A Call Girl.

When asked what her hopes were for show and its portrayal of celebrity breakdowns, she told PA news agency: “At the beginning of series two, we talked a lot about Britney Spears, we talked a lot about Amy Winehouse, Caroline Flack and the journey to these sort of awful tragedies.

“And (questioning) if you actually followed that journey, would that sort of outcome be inevitable?”

Prebble added that the public often sees these stories “at their last point” and photographs of female celebrities in particular going through difficulties are used to “portray them as seeming quite frightening or monstrous or crazy.”

She continued: ““There’s a lot of talk about whether somebody – women particularly – are mad or not or crazy.

“I think that it’s interesting what a culture calls crazy and often what it calls crazy is the thing that it’s looking at, that it has no way of understanding how it got there.

“And I think one of the responsibilities, when you’re thinking of what story you want to tell is, ‘Well, what have we not seen before?’ And that’s what I get very excited about, is what have we not seen before that if you saw you would understand society a bit better?

“And this is just a very small version of that but it’s a version of going, ‘A woman having a breakdown is in itself an interesting phrase and what does it mean?’

“And 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.”

Piper said her experience of becoming a celebrity while still a teenager in 1998 with the release of her debut pop song Because We Want To, allows her an insight into the entertainment world that “not everybody sees.”

Speaking about her character, she said: “Even though she makes a series of terrible decisions, she kind of consistently gets things wrong. I love her lack of sense of consequences,” she said.

“She’s so reactive that she can’t ever really seem to see the bigger picture, although that slightly changes this season.

“There’s something so satisfying about playing someone who’s a bit of a monster, a bit all over the place.”

I Hate Suzie Too will be available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service Now from December 20.