What drew you to Penny Dreadful in the first place?
Billie Piper: The script immediately hooked me – that’s the only place to start. I was also attracted by the people involved and the promise of playing ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’!
Were you at all daunted by the idea of playing such an iconic character?
Billie: No, because I knew it would be a very tasty interpretation. It wasn’t going to be a simple resurrection of a classic character. During the course of Penny Dreadful, you might actually find out more about that kind of chick!
Lily is a woman on a mission in the third series. Do we discover more about what drives her?
Billie: Yes. I’d say you’re going to get a taste of her back story in this series. You’ll see everything that has led her into this angry, villainous quest.
Would you regard Lily as a feminist?
Billie: Absolutely. This becomes a feminist tale because she and Dorian have recruited an army of fallen women in the name of justice. The root of Lily’s anger is the horrific things that have happened to her and to women at large. That really is the cause of her new movement – and I would call it a movement.
Please talk us through Lily’s relationship with Dorian Gray.
Billie: She and Dorian have a tricky, strained relationship. They have their own agendas, but they enable each other to achieve things. In Dorian, Lily has found her ally. He has the means and the money, and he is also immortal. Together, they can do whatever the hell they want.
Are you ever affected by the goriness of some of the scenes?
Billie: No. It’s one thing doing it, and another thing watching it. So I don’t feel the gore that everyone else talks about. Thankfully, we break it down into such tiny moments that – and I hate to say this – it becomes normalised.
Why are fantasy shows such as Penny Dreadful so popular at the moment?
Billie: It’s a sign of the times. It’s absolute escapism. We want to lose ourselves in things that are not at all normal. We are looking for stories about heroes and villains, and that appetite just keeps going strong. Ultimately, it’s about this amazing bunch of characters lost in their own realm. If you feel an outsider, then emotionally you will find something to connect with in Penny Dreadful.
Why have these great fictional characters endured so well?
Billie: They’re classic stories, aren’t they? They never get old. Every generation wants to interpret them differently.
Would you like to make more series of Penny Dreadful?
Billie: Yes, I’d love to. I really hope we do more because this drama is too good to phase out. As we go on, the stories are getting way more tasty!
Finally, have you enjoyed the role of Lily?
Billie: I love playing her because as Lily I get to do all the things I wouldn’t dream of doing in my real life! That’s a massive attraction for me!