Billie Piper said she studied Britney Spears, Caroline Flack and Amy Winehouse when considering how to explore events that can lead to a celebrity experiencing “awful tragedies” for the new series of I Hate Suzie.
The hit comedy-drama follows the life of actress Suzie Pickles, played by Piper, whose life is thrown into turmoil when her phone is hacked and compromising photographs of her are leaked.
Launching next week, the second series will see Suzie trying to resurrect her career and become a contestant on a reality TV dance programme.
Asked what she hopes the show portrays about the other side of celebrity breakdowns, Piper told the 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 said the public is often introduced to these stories “at their last point” and photographs of female celebrities going through personal difficulties are used to “portray them as seeming quite frightening or monstrous or crazy”.
The writer said the idea of “craziness” is a theme woven into the show.
“There’s a lot of talk about whether somebody – women particularly – are mad or not or crazy”, she said.
“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.”
After joining the rebooted Doctor Who as companion Rose Tyler in 2005, the Olivier Award-winner carved out a career as an actress, writer and director.
Piper told PA her similarities with the character of Suzie end there but she wishes she was more like her in certain ways.
“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.