Michaela Coel delivered a powerful acceptance speech after she won the Leading Actress gong at Sunday night’s 2021 BAFTA TV Awards.

Coel, who was honoured as the creator and star of “I May Destroy You”, dedicated the award to the show’s intimacy coordinator: Ita O’Brien.

“Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space safe, for creating physical, emotional, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power without being exploited or abused in the process,” she shared.

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O’Brien has also worked on shows such as “Normal People” and “Sex Education”.

Coel added that she knows what it’s like to film without an intimacy coordinator and “the messy embarrassing feeling for the crew, the internal devastation for the actor.”

“Your direction was essential to my show, and I believe essential for every production company that wants to make work exploring themes of consent,” she insisted.

Coel told Variety in the press room of why she had specifically dedicated her award to O’Brien: “I’ve shot without intimacy directors and I’ve shot with Ita — and team members that Ita has trained — and the confidence that it gives you to be able to really tell a story that looks harrowing, that looks inappropriate, whilst being totally appropriate, whilst being protected, means that you’re able to properly tell that story.

“I also think it’s a very vulnerable place for not just actors, for the crew as well, because the crew might have had experiences and it triggers things for them. So to have her there protects everybody,” she added. “And if you don’t have people like Ita on set when you’re shooting things like that, I think it’s quite thoughtless and I think it’s really inconsiderate and it shows a lack of mindfulness.”

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Coel then got emotional as she discussed how much making “I May Destroy You”, which deals with sexual assault, meant to her.

“It was incredible. It really helped me get past some troubling stuff. And what it enabled me to do is sort of pair something quite tragic with something quite beautiful. And that was being able to make a show and create opportunities and see everybody’s talents come together to create it. It kind of helped. It kind of replaced bad memories with really nice ones.”

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On The Red Carpet At The 2021 BAFTA TV Awards