In Review

Misfits by Michaela Coel: what the critics are saying

Coel lays out her struggles as a ‘black working-class woman’ in an industry dominated by white middle-class men

Michaela Coel

This “small book” is based on Michaela Coel’s 2018 MacTaggart Lecture to “the bigwigs of the television industry”, said Fiona Sturges in The Guardian.

In it, the actor and screenwriter – best known for her 2020 series I May Destroy You – laid out her struggles as a “black working-class woman” in an industry dominated by white middle-class men. She detailed the racism she’d encountered, and the complacency of TV executives, who so often dismissed her concerns with the words “that’s the way it is”.

Although intended as a wake-up call to “those in charge of our television networks”, the lecture will be interesting to non-specialists for its “startling glimpse into the mind and practices of a remarkable talent”.

Captivating and funny as Coel’s lecture was, I’m not sure it should have been turned into a book, said Tomiwa Owolade in the London Evening Standard. You can watch it in its entirety on YouTube; this repackaging, with a brief introduction and afterword, “adds nothing worthwhile”.

I disagree, said Rosie Kinchen in The Sunday Times. Coel’s voice – “razor-sharp” and very funny – deserves to reach the widest possible audience. She herself may be less of an outsider these days – but her lecture’s message still feels relevant.

Ebury 128pp £9.99; The Week Bookshop £7.99

Misfits book cover
The Week Bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

Recommended

Hôtel Byblos: a heavenly retreat in Saint-Tropez
The main entrance at Hôtel Byblos in Saint-Tropez
The big trip

Hôtel Byblos: a heavenly retreat in Saint-Tropez

Eight of the best burger restaurants in London
Hache burgers plus chips on a table
On the menu

Eight of the best burger restaurants in London

Dakota Manchester: a stylish stay in a city on the up
The bar and grill at Dakota Manchester hotel
In Review

Dakota Manchester: a stylish stay in a city on the up

COMO Castello del Nero hotel review: a true taste of Tuscany
Hotel swimming pool
In Review

COMO Castello del Nero hotel review: a true taste of Tuscany

Popular articles

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

What would happen if China invaded Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

What would happen if China invaded Taiwan?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

The Week Footer Banner