Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble have been close friends for nearly 15 years, and it shows. Speaking to them together, it’s easy to feel like a spare part, smiling politely as they swap stories, laugh at each other’s jokes or turn the interview into a two-hander by posing each other questions. Since they first met, in 2006, when Prebble wrote ITV’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl with Piper in the title role, they have shared a work life as much as a social life, and now it seems that they share almost everything. There’s an honesty and an ease between “Bills” and “Luce” to the point where you sense there’s no question you can ask them that they haven’t already talked over themselves.
Really, though, if you want to know what’s going on inside their heads, go and watch I Hate Suzie — it’s all there on screen. Piper, 37, plays Suzie Pickles, a former child star who is now an actor, performer and mother to a young child. We meet her just as she is offered the role of a lifetime, at which point her life falls apart — minutes later she discovers that her phone has been hacked. A set of compromising photos are already grubbing round the Internet. The series follows her over eight episodes as she disintegrates and then slowly rebuilds. Each of the episodes is branded with a different emotional waymark, from “shock” to “denial” via “anger” and through to “acceptance”.