The theatrics of Lucy Prebble

Following the release of her explosive phone-hack series I Hate Suzie, Lucy Prebble talks about her belief that every story benefits from a little drama, and how an ongoing infatuation with tech inspired her to write for video games

The traditional perception that creatives should stay in their lane – be it advertising, television or photography – is changing for the better, as the lines begin to blur between different creative practices. Lucy Prebble is a prime example of the modern-day creative polymath. Over the past decade, the writer has made a name for herself with everything from her adaptation of the real-life murder of ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko by two Russian assassins in The Old Vic’s A Very Expensive Poison, to her work on arguably the biggest show on TV right now, Succession. Plus, she has even ventured into the world of gaming as head scene writer on cult video game Destiny.

Brought up in commuter-belt Surrey, the worlds of West End theatre and big-budget TV felt a world away from Prebble. Her introduction to writing, she explains, came via more traditional forms of storytelling. “I was a big reader as a kid, reasonably solitary, and I wrote a lot of short stories and what you would now probably call fan fiction, stuff based on television programmes that I liked. I never thought it was a proper job, or that it would be available to me as a career,” she says.

Lucy Prebble's Succession
Top: Still from Sky original series I Hate Suzie, which stars its co-creator, Billie Piper. Stills courtesy Sky UK Limited; Above: Still from Succession, a satire about a powerful dynasty of media tycoons in New York. Stills courtesy HBO

Prebble was first exposed to the power of storytelling in theatre, while studying English at Sheffield University, when she began writing plays for her drama-studying friends to star in. “It wasn’t good at all, but it was a way of making friends at the same time as expressing myself. I still always use making work as an invitation to people, whether it’s other actors, directors, designers or even audience members,” she says.