When is Michaela Coel’s BBC drama I May Destroy You on TV? What is it about?

Everything you need to know about Chewing Gum star Michaela Coel's “fearless, frank and provocative” new BBC drama

Michaela Coel in I May Destroy You

Michaela Cole, star of Chewing Gum and Black Earth Rising, is back with a “fearless, frank and provocative” new BBC drama about consent, gratification, and modern dating.

Advertisement

Set in London, it will explore “the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation”.

Set in the UK capital (“where gratification is only an app away”) the drama explores modern society’s understanding of sex, relationships and dating.

The story centres on Arabella (Coel), a novelist who found fame with her first-time book ‘Chronicles of a Fed-Up Millennial’. It’s Arabella’s “raw and personal experience of consent” that’s the heart of the story.

According to the BBC, “through Arabella we meet a group of fictional friends and colleagues whose sexual adventures frequently collide with a world in which new codes of sexual practice are emerging…”

Programme Name: I May Destroy You - TX: 23/06/2020 - Episode: n/a (No. 6) - Picture Shows: Arabella (MICHAELA COEL) - (C) © Various Artists Ltd and FALKNA - Photographer: Natalie Seery

The broadcaster adds: “Feted as the ‘voice of her generation,’ Arabella is complex, original and highly talented. But, distracted by the pressures of her first triumph, she is struggling to write her second novel and is in danger of becoming destructive and self-absorbed.

“After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, her life changes irreversibly and Arabella is forced to reassess everything: her career, her friends, even her family. As Arabella struggles to come to terms with what has happened, she begins a journey of self-discovery. Often painful, sometimes funny, it leads her to some surprising places – and controversial conclusions.”

BBC Two controller Patrick Holland has said that drama “promises fearless, provocative and gripping storytelling exploring one of the defining issues of our times”.

When does I May Destroy You air on TV?

CONFIRMED: I May Destroy You will begin on Monday 8th June on BBC One at 10:45pm.

The second episode will air on Tuesday 9th June at 10.45pm. Episodes will then air on Mondays and Tuesdays for the remainder of the series, and will be available on BBC iPlayer.

Click here to read our I May Destroy You review.

Is there a trailer?

Yes! The BBC has now released this trailer…

Who is in the cast of I May Destroy You?

Series creator and lead actress Michaela Coel will lead the I May Destroy You cast as Arabella.

She will be joined by Weuche Opia, who plays Terry Pratchard, Arabella’s “fun-loving caring best friend” with a disappointing acting career and an erratic love life.

Paapa Essiedu plays Kwame Acheamong, “a sometime dancer who now teaches a gym class” who is “an attractive gay man with serious self-esteem issues when it comes to getting what he wants in sex and love”.

Programme Name: I May Destroy You - TX: 06/07/2020 - Episode: n/a (No. 9) - Picture Shows: Kwame (PAAPA ESSIEDU) - (C) © Various Artists Ltd and FALKNA - Photographer: Natalie Seery
Paapa Essiedu plays Kwame Acheamong

The cast also includes Aml Ameen, Adam James, Sarah Niles, Ann Aikin, Harriet Webb, Ellie James, Franc Ashman, Karan Gill, Natalie Walter and Samson Ajewole.

I May Destroy You soundtrack

Click here for full details on the I May Destroy You soundtrack, including songs by Daft Punk, The Bricks, Little Simz, The Blackbyrds and more.

What else is Michaela Coel known for?

Michaela Coel is known for creating the hit comedy series Chewing Gum, in which she starred as Tracey Gordon.

Recently she starred in Black Earth Rising, a BBC and Netflix co-production on the subject of genocide and the prosecution of international war criminals. It is now available on Netflix.

Is I May Destroy You based on real life?

In 2018 Michael Coel revealed that she had been a victim of sexual assault, while working overnight on a script deadline.

The premise is very similar to the situation that Coel’s character, Arabella, finds herself in, as she pulls an all-nighter at her publisher’s in order to finish her second book. However, although the show draws from and is inspired real life, it is fictional.

Programme Name: I May Destroy You - TX: 08/06/2020 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Arabella (MICHAELA COEL) - (C) © Various Artists Ltd and FALKNA - Photographer: Laura Radford

Speaking about the assault in her MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival 2018, Coel said: “I took a break and had a drink with a good friend who was nearby. I emerged into consciousness typing season two [of Chewing Gum], many hours later. I was lucky. I had a flashback. It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers. The first people I called after the police, before my own family, were the producers.

“How do we operate in this family of television when there is in an emergency? Overnight I saw them morph into an anxious team of employers and employees alike; teetering back and forth between the line of knowing what normal human empathy is and not knowing what empathy is at all.”

She continued, “When there are police involved, and footage, of people carrying your sleeping writer into dangerous places, when cuts are found, when there’s blood… what is your job?”

Click here for more on the I May Destroy You true story.

Advertisement

For more to watch, visit our TV guide.