Michaela Coel says BBC didn't censor I May Destroy You's explicit themes

Michael Coel’s new series I May Destroy You is rightly being hailed as a must-watch, singular vision from a writer and performer at the peak of her powers.

But Coel says that the show’s depictions of explicit sex and drug use – as well as heady discussions and dissection of sexual assault and its aftermath – wasn’t censored in any way by the BBC.

Speaking to Radio Times, the star explained that even her friends questioned her on I May Destroy You’s difficult topics, and whether being co-produced with the BBC meant certain restrictions were in place.

‘Honestly, friends are like: “Oh, God, was it hard doing it with the BBC?”‘ she explained.

‘I’m like: “Guys, they let me [do anything]”. You know those things you put your toddler in – some sort of harness? The BBC took it off.’

Overall, she said, the public broadcaster was fully committed to bringing her uncompromising vision to life, revealing: ‘There was no pushback.’

In the comedy-drama, Coel takes on the role of Arabella, a writer who is struggling to finish her second novel when she gets sexually assaulted on a night out.

Also starring Papaa Essiedu and Weruche Opia, I May Destroy You explores the issues around consent and through the character of Kwame (Essiedu) examines gay hook-up culture on apps such as Grindr.

The 12-episode series is still airing on both BBC iPlayer in the UK and HBO in the US, but it’s already won rapturous acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

Coel also recently opened up about how her own experiences of racism have affected her writing and outlook as a performer.

I May Destroy You is available to stream via BBC iPlayer.

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