Billie Piper delivers a hypnotic performance in I Hate Suzie - Aidan Smith

If you knew Susie like I knew Susie. It’s a very old song suggesting a secret held by just one person and obviously predates social media and the moment in Billie Piper’s new drama when absolutely everyone discovers rather too much about her character, Suzie with a z.
Billie Piper stars in a bold, bracing, Sky original drama about the moment in life when the mask slipsBillie Piper stars in a bold, bracing, Sky original drama about the moment in life when the mask slips
Billie Piper stars in a bold, bracing, Sky original drama about the moment in life when the mask slips

Former child star Suzie Pickles has just had her country pile invaded for a glossy magazine photo-shoot and make-up, wardrobe, props, etc – have these people never heard of the print recession? – are soon feasting via smartphone on lurid and libidinous revelations which have just gone viral.

It’s a blackly comic scene promising that I Hate Suzie (Sky Atlantic) is going to have lots of fun with the notion of celebrity. For instance, rather than halt the shoot, Suzie battles on gamely, suggesting she needs the publicity or is simply addicted to it.

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She was once in a sci-fi show, the kind which lives on at geek conventions. Facing her fans she ignores her agent’s plea to pass on the Q&A session and is ambushed by a tabloid reporter.

Is she secretly enjoying this? Her husband isn’t, for the reason he’s not the man in the highly compromising photos hacked from Suzie’s phone.

Piper has written the drama with Lucy Prebble, the pair having collaborated previously on Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Piper obviously knows a thing or two about private lives going public and delivers a hypnotic performance here, not least in those macabre first few minutes, mounting panic spreading across her painted face, bowels moving involuntarily, world falling apart. The poor hubby threatens the mag’s platoon of berks with his air-rifle. “It’s going to be a hipster bloodbath!” he roars.

Some people are perfectly happy airing their dirty laundry. The documentary Swingers (Channel 4) gets astonishing access to Liberty Elite, a club just off the A5 catering for some of the 1.5 million Brits into wife-swapping. Do you know any? According to my sums Scotland could have as many as 125,000 swingers, equivalent to the population of Motherwell and Wishaw combined, though I’m pretty sure these good Lanarkshire folk don’t all chuck their car keys in a bowl.

It’s dirty laundry quite literally at Elite. We meet the woman who cleans up after theme nights. There’s “an accumulation of DNA”, she says delicately, as her washing machines rumble non-stop.

Then we meet some of these swingers, emotionally-damaged, done-with-relationships people in the main. Some get it on and some didn’t. Still, everyone seems to enjoy the buffet – chipolata sausages.

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After Swingers I’m glad to get on to the Tweed for the return of Whitehouse and Mortimer: Gone Fishing (BBC2), Paul and Bob being two men who don rubberwear for a more wholesome and innocent pursuit.

This is one of my favourite programmes: similar to The Trip but also different. Steve Coogan, happy to portray himself as smug and competitive in the latter, would never come out with a line like this from Whitehouse: “I’m not very good with art. I don’t know how long to look at a painting for.”

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Whitehouse is an expert angler, Mortimer is rubbish, but they come together over having had similar health scares and reflect on their brushes with mortality in between stuff and nonsense about – this week – football, favourite jams, Mexican cooking, the male menopause, skin regimes, mysticism and always being found in the kitchen at parties.

On this show you’re only ever five and a half seconds away from Mortimer falling over or shattering the riverbank solitude with some techno. Then the mood is well and truly altered when – spoiler alert – Bob lands a lusty salmon.



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