Michaela Coel attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021 at Television Centre on June 06, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Bafta TV awards 2021: how Michaela Coel honoured the “unsung heroes” of I May Destroy You

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“This is me seeing you, and acknowledging all of you,” says Michaela Coel.

It was absolutely no surprise (not to anyone who’d seen it, anyway) when the phenomenal I May Destroy You picked up the award for Best Mini-Series at the 2021 TV Baftas.

Created, written, co-directed and executive produced by Michaela Coel, who also stars in the series, the comedy-drama tells the tale of social media star and author Arabella, who pulls an all-nighter with her friends when she finds herself struggling to meet a publishing deadline.

Thanks to a heady combination of drugs and booze, the evening quickly spirals out of control, leaving Arabella with the hangover from hell and very fuzzy memories of the night before. However, as the day progresses, she begins experiencing a smattering of intrusive, frightening flashbacks – flashbacks that indicate she’s been the victim of a sexual assault.

And, stepping up to collect the award, Coel made sure to pay homage to all those “unsung heroes” who helped make the must-watch TV series a reality.

Michaela Coel
Bafta TV awards 2021 red carpet: Michaela Coel.

I May Destroy You took six months to film,” said Coel. “[But] the only people who worked for every day of that were the crew. 

“I want to thank them, and let them know that I’m so grateful to them, because they don’t get enough credit.”

Listing off the crew’s names, Coel continued: “They are the first to turn up to shoot in the rain, snow and severe heat; they are the last to leave. They are the invisible presence in every single scene of this show, the unsung heroes who create everything you see, hear, and feel. 

“Their attention to detail, and work ethic, has helped this show to come alive.”

Coel finished powerfully: “This is me seeing you, and acknowledging all of you. 

“All of our DNA exists in this show, and I am grateful to each and every soul for all of your dedication and hard work.”

The 2021 TV Baftas is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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