|I May Destroy You|
|Created by||Michaela Coel|
|Written by||Michaela Coel|
|Country of origin|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Running time||28–35 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||7 June –|
14 July 2020
I May Destroy You is a British black comedy-drama television limited series created, written, co-directed, and executive produced by Michaela Coel for BBC One and HBO. The series is set in London with a predominantly Black British cast. Coel stars as Arabella, a young writer in the public eye who seeks to rebuild her life after being raped. The series premiered on 7 June 2020 on HBO and on 8 June 2020 on BBC One.
According to Metacritic, I May Destroy You was the most critically acclaimed television programme of 2020, and was described by The New York Times as "the perfect show for an anxious world." It won the BAFTAs for Best Mini-Series, Best Director: Drama, Best Writer: Drama and Best Actress, in addition to two RTS Programme Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, a Gotham Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Peabody Award.
The series received nine nominations at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series; it won two awards including Outstanding Writing for Coel.
Arabella (Michaela Coel) is a young Twitter-star-turned-novelist in her late twenties who found fame with her debut book Chronicles of a Fed-Up Millennial and is publicly celebrated as a Millennial icon. While struggling to meet a deadline for her second book, she takes a break from work to meet up with friends on a night out in London. The following morning, she struggles to remember what happened to her, but recalls the events of the night with the help of her friends Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu).
|No.||Title ||Directed by ||Written by ||Original air date ||US airdate ||US viewers|
|1||"Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes"||Sam Miller||Michaela Coel||8 June 2020||7 June 2020||0.212|
|Arabella is on a deadline to finish her second book. She decides to take a break by going for a drink with friends. At some point during the night, she is raped in a bar toilet.|
|2||"Someone Is Lying"||Sam Miller||Michaela Coel||9 June 2020[b]||14 June 2020||0.229|
|Suffering traumatic memories of the rape, Arabella goes to the police. Meanwhile, Terry has a film audition.|
|3||"Don't Forget the Sea"||Sam Miller||Michaela Coel||15 June 2020[c]||22 June 2020||0.156|
|A flashback to Ostia, Italy where Arabella and Terry have a wild night out, meeting local man Biagio.|
|4||"That Was Fun"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||16 June 2020[c]||29 June 2020||0.098|
|Arabella becomes close with fellow writer Zain. They later have sex and he removes the condom without her knowledge. Meanwhile, Kwame and Damon visit a man from Grindr, and this encounter turns violent after Damon leaves.|
|5||"...It Just Came Up"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||22 June 2020[d]||6 July 2020||0.108|
|Arabella exposes Zain's actions at a literary festival. Kwame goes to the police about his attack but is not taken seriously.|
|6||"The Alliance"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||23 June 2020[d]||13 July 2020||0.128|
|Arabella attends a support group hosted by Theodora, who was at school with her and Terry. In a flashback to the mid-2000s, Theo accuses classmate Ryan of violent rape, but Arabella and Terry provide evidence to the teachers that her story is not entirely true.|
|7||"Happy Animals"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||29 June 2020[e]||20 July 2020||0.102|
|Arabella becomes an influencer for a vegan brand, and hosts a birthday party for Terry. At the party she attempts to matchmake Kwame with another man by locking them in her bedroom. There is tension between Theo and Terry.|
|8||"Line Spectrum Border"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||30 June 2020[e]||27 July 2020||0.087|
|After the police close the investigation, Arabella makes a surprise visit to Biagio who refuses to see her. Kwame hooks up with a woman (Nilufer) but it ends badly when he reveals he is gay.|
|9||"Social Media Is a Great Way to Connect"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||6 July 2020[f]||3 August 2020||0.088|
|It is Halloween. Arabella's increasing social media presence drives a wedge between her and her friends.|
|10||"The Cause the Cure"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||7 July 2020[f]||10 August 2020||0.115|
|Arabella's family meet up for her mum's birthday, prompting memories of her childhood spent between two parental homes. Meanwhile, Kwame meets Tyrone in an attempted hookup, but instead their relationship becomes more romantic.|
|11||"Would You Like to Know the Sex?"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||13 July 2020[g]||17 August 2020||0.088|
|Arabella's publishers drop her book as she has still not finished it, after she had reached out to successful author "Della" signed to the same publisher. It transpires that Della is a pseudonym used by Zain, who offers to help Arabella with her writing. Terry finally gets an acting part and goes on a date with Kai, a trans man.|
|12||"Ego Death"||Sam Miller & Michaela Coel||Michaela Coel||14 July 2020[g]||24 August 2020||0.121|
|Arabella imagines multiple ways in which she and Terry could exact revenge on her rapist, but ultimately decides to move on. She uses these thoughts to finally complete her second book, and the episode concludes at her launch party.|
The series premiered on 8 June 2020 on BBC One in the United Kingdom. The first episode had already premiered in advance on 7 June 2020 on HBO and HBO Max in the United States.
Coel stated in a lecture at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe that she had been sexually assaulted while writing Chewing Gum, and that the experience provided inspiration for the series.
Originally titled January 22nd, the series is produced by Coel's production company, FALKNA Productions. It is executive produced by Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, and Jo McClellan for BBC One. Coel is also co-director and writer for I May Destroy You. Coel turned down a $1 million (£800,000) offer from Netflix for the show because the deal would have taken full rights ownership away from the creator. Coel subsequently made a deal with the BBC which allowed Coel full creative control and ownership rights of her project and the BBC brought on HBO as a co-producer to help fund the project.
The series was predominantly filmed in the London Borough of Hackney with some scenes filmed in Italy.
School interior and exteriors for the flashback scenes were shot at Acland Burghley School in the London Borough of Camden.
I May Destroy You holds an average score of 86 out of 100 based on reviews from 25 critics on review aggregator Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim". On Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of 72 reviews are positive, with an average score of 8.55/10. The website's critical consensus is, "I May Destroy You is at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humour and moments of deep discomfort all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel's undeniable talent."
Writing for The New York Times, critic Mike Hale called the series "touching and quietly hilarious." He praised Coel and the show's willingness to push boundaries. In her review for Time, critic Judy Berman noted the show's unique and complex telling of a story centred on sexual assault after the Me Too movement.
French newspaper Le Monde includes I May Destroy You in its Top 10 of the best 2020 TV shows.
The show featured heavily on year-end lists. Metacritic listed it as the best TV show of the year based on critic top 10 lists, with more than thirty #1 placements.
|2020||RTS Craft & Design Awards||Costume Design - Drama||Lynsey Moore||Won|||
|Director - Drama||Sam Miller, Michaela Coel||Nominated|
|Make Up Design - Drama||Bethany Swan||Nominated|
|RTS Special Award||I May Destroy You||Won|
|2021||British Academy Television Awards||Best Mini-Series||I May Destroy You||Won|||
|Best Actor||Paapa Essiedu||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Michaela Coel||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Weruche Opia||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Craft Awards||Best Director: Fiction||Michaela Coel and Sam Miller||Won|
|Best Editing: Fiction||Editing Team||Won|
|Best Make Up & Hair Design||Bethany Swan||Nominated|
|Best Writer: Drama||Michaela Coel||Won|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Contemporary Television||Lynsey Moore (for "Social Media is a Great Way to Connect")||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Limited Series||I May Destroy You||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie||Michaela Coel||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series||I May Destroy You||Won|||
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||Breakthrough Series – Short Form||Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni||Won|||
|Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards||Best Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series or Live-Action Television Movie||I May Destroy You||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Television Movie||Michaela Coel||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best New Scripted Series||Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni||Won|||
|Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series||Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Weruche Opia and Stephen Wight||Won|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Live Action Under 35 Minutes||Jim Goddard, Joe Beal, Tom Deane, Alex Sidiropoulos and Anna Wright (for "Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes")||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Performance in a Show||Michaela Coel||Nominated|||
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special||Michaela Coel||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series||Sam Miller and Michaela Coel (for "Ego Death")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series||Michaela Coel (for "Ego Death")||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series||Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, Simon Meyers and Simon Maloney||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Michaela Coel||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Paapa Essiedu (for "That Was Fun")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Sam Miller and Michaela Coel (for "Ego Death")||Nominated|
|Sam Miller (for "Eyes Eyes Eyes Eyes")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Michaela Coel||Won|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Julie Harkin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Contemporary Costumes||Lynsey Moore, Rosie Lack and Debbie Roberts (for "Social Media is a Great Way to Connect")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Supervision||Ciara Elwis and Matt Biffa (for "Ego Death")||Won|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television||Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, Simon Meyers and Simon Maloney||Nominated|||
|RTS Programme Awards||Mini-Series||I May Destroy You||Won|||
|Actor – Female||Michaela Coel||Won|
|Writer – Drama||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series||Nominated|||
|Television Critics Association Awards||Program of the Year||I May Destroy You||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Program||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Drama||Michaela Coel||Won|