Episodes

  • For this extra-special bonus episode, I'm delighted to welcome Lemn Sissay to the podcast. Lemn is a poet, author and broadcaster whose memoir, My Name Is Why, is one of the most moving I have ever read. In it, he writes about his childhood - the son of Ethiopian parents who was wrongly given up for adoption as a baby and fostered by a white, working-class family in Lancashire. At the age of 12, he was told by his adoptive family that they would be putting him in a children's home and would never contact him again. He spent the next five years in a succession of brutal institutions during which he had a mental breakdown. In these dark times, the light of his poetry began to form.

    It is astonishing, then, that Lemn is such a gloriously expansive interviewee. You know when people talk about good energy? Lemn has good energy by the bucketload. There is not a trace of bitterness in his demeanour, in spite of what he has been through, and he's unafraid to be vulnerable and honest, even though his early life was a succession of betrayals.

    He joins me to talk about his failure to belong to the family he spent his life searching for, his failure to marry or have children (Lemn is the first male guest to have chosen this as a failure, which in itself is pretty fascinating), why he gave up drinking and his failure to be the poet he wishes he could be. Along the way, we talk about the power of human resilience and what family really means. Oh, and his dislike of cauliflower.

    This is a deeply inspiring and humbling interview. You might want to have the tissues ready.

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    The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

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    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay is out now, published by Canongate, and available to order here

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    This BONUS SPECIAL episode of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is sponsored by Sceptre, publishers of The Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. This is the complete Fleabag. Every word. Every side-eye. Every fox. Out now. Available from Waterstones, online, and all good bookshops.

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Lemn Sissay @lemnsissay

    Sceptre Books @sceptrebooks

  • Fearne Cotton blazed the trail for podcasts like mine. When she launched Happy Place in March 2018, it went straight to the top of the iTunes chart and has seemingly stayed there ever since. It has done so much to bring discussions about mental health into the mainstream, partly because Fearne has also been honest about her own experiences with panic attacks and anxiety.

    So when I started How To Fail in July 2018, I always knew Fearne would be top of my list of dream guests. A few months later, we ended up sitting next to each other at the British Podcast Awards (spoiler alert: neither of us won but embarrassingly, we both presented awards to other winners) and having a good old natter, and then I was sent to interview her for a magazine and we got on so well that we hatched the idea of doing each other's podcasts now HERE WE ARE.

    What makes Fearne so special is not just her impressive broadcasting career as a TV and radio presenter, or her bestselling books or the fact that she turned Happy Place into a full-blown festival, complete with yoga workshops and inspiring talks. No, it's that she is unafraid to be honest. She believes, as I do, that true strength comes from true vulnerability, and it's these qualities that make her a phenomenal guest.

    Fearne joins me to talk about failing most of her GCSEs, a failed engagement and, in one of the most powerful passages of any interview I've ever had the privilege of doing, about her failure to be herself in her 20s and how she lived with an eating disorder for years. This is the first time she has ever spoken about it, and I am so truly grateful that Fearne felt this was a safe enough space to bare her beautiful soul.

    Thank you, Fearne. Your words and your courage will help a great many people.

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    The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

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    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    You can listen to Fearne Cotton's Happy Place here

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    This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Fearne Cotton @fearnecotton

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

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  • For 15 years, George Alagiah has been a familiar face on our television screens as the presenter of the BBC's Six O'Clock News. Before that, he was one of the corporation's most respected foreign correspondents. Before that, he was born in what was then Ceylon, the only boy in a family of four sisters, and was sent to boarding school in England at the age of 12.

    George joins me to talk about his self-perceived failures at fatherhood, the challenges of reporting from the front-line in times of humanitarian crisis, his nuanced relationship with racial identity and how he dealt with racist incidents in his youth. He also talks movingly about his bowel cancer diagnosis in 2014, which has seen him undergo over 40 rounds of chemotherapy and make his peace with death. What struck me most about George was his elegance: in person, but also in expression. He has no anger or bitterness or stored-up resentment, and this to me is the definition of a quiet sort of heroism.

    (Obviously I also asked him about BBC equal pay and if he'd watched Anchorman.)

    I loved this interview. It moved me and made me think. I hope it does the same to you.

    *

    The How To Fail Live tour is almost over. SNIFF! There are limited tickets left for Belfast with Sinead Burke (14th November) and Gateshead with Jess Phillips MP (8th December). Dublin with Amy Huberman (15th November) has SOLD OUT! Thank you! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

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    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    George Alagiah's novel, The Burning Land, is out now and available here.

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    This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    George Alagiah @BBCAlagiah

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

  • Today, I welcome Shirlie Kemp to the podcast. She was an 80s icon: a backing dancer for Wham! who ACTUALLY APPEARED IN THE MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'LAST CHRISTMAS', as well as being a best friend to George Michael until his untimely death in 2016 at the age of 53. She was also one-half of the pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie and the wife of Martin Kemp, of Spandau Ballet fame (fun fact: their son, Roman, is the Capital Radio DJ).

    Shirlie joins me to talk about what went on behind the scenes of fame and her memories of George, including the last conversation they ever had. She talks about her challenging council estate upbringing, feeling a failure at school and developing an eating disorder in her teens. We also discuss her long journey to self-confidence as a woman and how she and Martin coped with his brain tumour diagnosis in 1995, and what got them through those tough times as a couple. And we touch on the mean photography teacher whose criticism she will NEVER FORGET (but more fool him, because now she's an amazing photographer so there).

    Thank you for coming on How To Fail, Shirlie: you are truly the loveliest woman.

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    The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

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    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    Shirlie and Martin Kemp are releasing a joint album, In The Swing of It, next month. You can pre-order it here.

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    This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Shirlie Kemp @shirliekemp

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

  • Lisa Taddeo is a phenomenon. Although she is too humble to recognise that description of herself. But this is a journalist and author who spent eight years - EIGHT YEARS - of her life travelling the United States and embedding herself in the lives of three 'ordinary' women in order to report back on that hitherto unexplored topic: female desire as it really is. Not as pornographic exploitation or rom-com fantasy viewed through the male gaze, but as women truly experience love and loss and expectation and sex and marriage and crushes and abuse and threesomes and motherhood and daughterhood and sisterhood and all the liminal spaces in between.

    The resulting work of narrative non-fiction, Three Women, caused a sensation on its publication earlier this year. It shot simultaneously to the top of the bestseller lists in both the UK and America. Elizabeth Gilbert called it 'the best book of the year'. Dave Eggers said it was 'scorchingly original'. When I read it, I was blown away: I had never experienced a book quite like it. It turned out I had been desperately thirsty for these female stories to be shared, and Three Women was like a long, cool glass of water.

    I'm so thrilled to welcome Lisa as a guest on How To Fail. Meeting her was like falling in platonic love. She speaks so openly about crippling anxiety, losing both her parents in her 20s, quitting university for a boy and professional rejection, that I'm pretty sure you won't be able to help falling in love with her too.

    Along the way, we also discuss female desire and repression, the practicalities of writing Three Women, and her relationship with the women she wrote about.

    Thank you Lisa, for your work, your empathy and your humanity.

  • If you're a fan of The Good Wife or The Good Fight (and if not, why not?) you will know Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn, the whip-smart, ambitious lawyer who speaks with a flawless American accent. But Cush was actually born in South London, the daughter of a British mother and a Nigerian father and the second of six children. She took dance classes from the age of three, and went on to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. An award-winning stage actress who wrote and starred in her own highly-acclaimed one-woman show, Josephine and I, she is returning to the theatre next year to play Hamlet at the Young Vic.

    Way back in the mists of time (well, ok, 2012), I interviewed Cush for the Observer. I was struck then by how impressive she was, as well as being nice and funny. We stayed in touch over the years as I proudly watched her ascent from afar, and now I'm delighted to get the chance to interview her again because she is unafraid to talk honestly and beautifully about her most vulnerable moments.

    She joins me to talk about her fears of letting her family down, the self-perceived failure to 'have it all' as a working mother, plus the rejection and sense of terrible failure she felt as an actress starting out and the spiral of depression that ensued, during which she thought 'obsessively' about suicide, before seeking medical help (and getting a dog). Thank you Cush, for being fearless in your honesty and generous with your talent. Also thank you for bringing me delicious cakes from Gail's when we recorded. You really are a gem.

    ALSO, TODAY SHE COLLECTS HER O.B.E. It's almost as if I'd planned the timing (I hadn't).

    I hope you enjoy listening, and if you do, I'd love it if you felt moved to rate, review and subscribe.

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    The How To Fail Live tour has now started! I will be at various venues around the UK and Ireland over the next two months, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. Limited tickets left! These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Cush Jumbo @cushjumbo

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

  • This week on How To Fail, we are doing something slightly different. I know, I know, we don't like change, but sometimes IT'S GOOD FOR US. It's especially good for us when it comes in the form of Alain de Botton, one of the most intelligent, eloquent and thoughtful people on the planet.

    And because it's Alain de Botton, modern philosopher, founder of The School of Life and bestselling authors of life-changing books such as Essays In Love, I decided to allow him a little leeway. Instead of choosing personal failures, Alain wanted to talk about three philosophical 'failure concepts' and I'm so glad he did, because it led to one of the most fascinating and enlightening discussions I've ever had on the topic.

    We discuss the idea that we can be good people and yet fail, and the concept (which I'm forever banging on about) that failure is the norm, and that we should find contentment in the average rather than constantly expecting the exceptional. He also has brilliant insights into why romantic break-ups are not, in and of themselves, tragic, because each relationship teaches you something you need to know, and when the time is right, it is ok to move on. Along the way, I also ask him about X Factor, so fear not, I'm there to pepper his brilliance with my usual lowbrow content, as per.

    It was such a delight to meet Alain. An hour in his company left my brain fizzing with new (and reassuring) ideas, and I hope it has the same effect on you.

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    The new book from The School of Life, co-authored and introduced by Alain de Botton, is out now and available to buy here.

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

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    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Alain de Botton @alaindebotton

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

  • We're back! Did you miss us? Go on...say you did. I'm really very, very needy.

    It's such a treat for me to be opening season six with a truly fantastic guest: Camilla Thurlow. Camilla was always one of the most genuine and impressive contestants on ITV2's hit reality show, Love Island. A former bomb disposal expert who worked in life and death situations in Cambodia and Afghanistan, she came second in the 2017 series. Instead of launching a clothing line or advertising detox tummy teas, Camilla went on to use her new-found public platform to talk about issues close to her heart: namely, the immigration crisis and mental health. Her first trip after Love Island was to a refugee camp with the contestant she coupled up with, Jamie Jewitt (oh, and by the way, they are still together).

    Set aside any preconceptions you might have about reality TV and listen to the wisdom this extraordinary woman imparts about love, loss and human connection. We talk about her periods of extreme anxiety and panic as she was forced to confront who she really was rather than the Camilla she was trying to be. We talk about the challenges of public expectation and the fear of not living up to other people's idea of her. We talk about social media, turning 30 and her ingrained fear of making a fool of herself. We also talk about a near-fatal car accident and the unexpected lessons it taught her.

    I am so grateful to Camilla for opening up to me and for showing that strength comes through an acknowledgement of - and respect for - vulnerability. I know that you will find so much to relate to in what she says.

    Thank you for listening. It's great to be back.

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    This season of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp and sponsored by Sweaty Betty. Sweaty Betty are offering listeners 20% off full-price items with the code HOWTOFAIL

    To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Camilla Thurlow @camillathurlow

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

  • A live recording of a one-off How To Fail With Elizabeth Day special with authors Philippa Perry (The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read) and Sadie Jones (The Snakes) about How To Fail...At Families.

    Recorded in front of a live audience at Foyle's bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London.

    This episode is sponsored by Penguin Life, which publishes books by experts who share a passion for living well.

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    Philippa Perry's The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read is available to order here.

    Sadie Jones's The Snakes is available to order here.

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    This bonus episode of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day was hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Penguin Life. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Sadie Jones @thatsadiejones

    Philippa Perry @philippa_perry

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

  • Well, old friend, here we are again. The end of another season. Where does the time go?

    I saved this guest for the finale because she's bloody spectacular. Jess Phillips is the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, a campaigner on women's rights, an outspoken critic of Brexit, anti-semitism and the politics of the hard-left, and the author of an acclaimed book, Everywoman: One Woman's Truth About Speaking The Truth.

    She joins me to talk about coping with failure in politics, living with daily death threats and how she stays sane by prioritising her female friends. She talks about the failure in contraception (!) that resulted in her eldest son, her failure to get on the Home Office Fast Track scheme and, in an extremely moving admission, her self-perceived failure to fix her brother's drug addiction.

    This makes it sound pretty heavy, but Jess is so naturally funny and such a self-deprecating force of nature, that I promise you this interview will leave you feeling energised and quite possibly punching the air.

    That's it for season five (apart from one bonus live record COMING SOON. Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss out). I'll be back in the autumn with eight brilliant new guests.

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    A THANK YOU FROM ME:

    Thank you so much for subscribing and rating and reviewing and for all your lovely messages over this season and all the others. It really does mean the world to me. Truly. And if you don't like me / this podcast / actually took time out of your day to leave a one-star review / worry that my guests all went to Oxbridge (they didn't) / are too middle-class (they aren't) / think I'm too gushing (well...ok, maybe you have a point there, but I genuinely mean it when I say someone's amazing...) then please know that however angry or sad or lonely or un-heard you feel, I send you nothing but love in return. Bet that winds you up, doesn't it?

    To the rest of you: I feel so blessed for your companionship on this crazy, beautiful journey. You have helped me make sense of things. You have met me in a place of vulnerability and made me feel so much stronger. You have shown me that love, compassion and kindness is strength. You have taught me what I always suspected: that failure does not have to be an end point, but can instead be a stepping stone on a journey towards greater understanding. Thank you.

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    Jess Phillips's new book, Truth to Power, is out in October and available to pre-order here.

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Jess Phillips @jessphillips

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • This week, I welcome the multi-talented Meera Syal to the podcast: actor, comedian, playwright, novelist, producer and, most notably, sister-of-my-friend-Rajeev. Meera first came to prominence when she co-wrote and starred in the award-winning BBC comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and was Bafta-nominated for her later role in The Kumars at Number 42. She, along with her husband Sanjeev Bhaskar, almost single-handedly reinvented British-Asian comedy, taking it from the stereotypical and lazy racist tropes of old and bringing it brilliantly into the mainstream (I mean, who can forget the hilarious 'Going for an English' sketch? If you haven't seen it, YouTube it now).

    Meera joins me to talk about failing at maths (and having a bigoted teacher), failing to live up to her parents' expectations of her, failing at auditions (and hating them), failing to raise her second child how she wanted and instead getting obsessed with a rigid regime rather than following her own maternal instincts. Along the way, we discuss ageing, race, school, womanhood, ice-cream vans and embarrassing smear tests. Yes, really.

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Meera Syal @meerasyal

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • Oh, Samin Nosrat! Where do I start? With her ebullient personality and wildly infectious laugh? With her four-part Netflix show, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat where she travels the world eating freshly baked focaccia and Japanese seaweed? Or with the award-winning, bestselling cookbook of the same name, that revolutionised the way we thought about food?

    I don't know where to start. So let me just tell you that she is one of the bubbliest, most open and generous interviewees I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She joins me to talks about growing up in San Diego, the child of Iranian parents, who was 'the only brown kid' in her school, and what this sense of outsidership taught her. She talks about overnight fame, and the weirdness that comes with that, as well as failing to write, what happens when your business fails and the one memorable time she burned the sauce for a dinner she was cooking for Hillary Clinton. Oh, and the story of how she got the description of osmosis wrong in the science part of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and was berated by critics. Also the way she talks about cassoulet will probably leave you feeling very hungry.

    Thank you so much Samin for coming on my podcast!

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    Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat is published by Canongate and is available to order here

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Samin Nosrat @ciaosamin

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • I'm so delighted to welcome my first ever OLYMPIC ATHLETE onto the podcast this week. And not just any Olympic athlete, but double-gold medal winner, Kelly Holmes, who also just so happens to be my first DAME on How To Fail too.

    Dame Kelly joins me to talk about how her single mother was pressurised to give Kelly up for adoption as a baby and how she refused to do so, teaching her daughter about what it is to be truly strong. We also discuss Kelly's 'failure' at school and how she joined the army at 16 but then failed her first Physical Training Instructor selection (I mean, who would fail Kelly Holmes? Come on, now. Have you seen the size of her biceps?) She also talks openly about coming second in the 1995 World Championships because of her spiralling anxiety and discusses her ongoing mental health issues, including her diagnosis with clinical depression, her grief over her mother's death and [TW] her experiences of self-harm.

    For me, Dame Kelly epitomises the kind of empowerment that comes from being open about your own vulnerabilities. Her strength is forged through her resilience. As she puts it: 'You train for the outcome.' I know I use the word a lot in the context of this podcast, but Dame Kelly truly is inspiring in the most profound ways.

    [Trigger warning: this episode contains descriptions of self-harm]

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    *

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Kelly Holmes @damekellyholmes

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • This week, my guest is the writer Francesca Segal whose recently published memoir, Mother Ship, details the birth of her twin daughters 10 weeks prematurely. Her first failure is, in Segal's own words, her failure 'to stay pregnant' and the feeling of shame that came from not having managed to provide the requisite 40-week gestation period. 'I felt I had failed at my first ever task of motherhood,' she explains. 'That my body could not be a safe space for them felt a spectacular failure.'

    She and her husband, Gabriel, were pitched into a nightmarish situation where they did not know whether their baby girls would survive. When they were born they weighed only 2lbs each. The girls could not do anything on their own and they suffered harrowing, life-threatening infections. Segal joins me to discuss what happened next.

    Even if you are not one of the 100,000 women in the UK who, every year, give birth to premature babies and even if, like me, you are not a parent at all, I promise that you will find Segal's insightful eloquence both enlightening and moving.

    We also talk about her failure to be a rebellious teenager, her conflicted attitude to social media and how, as a writer, she deals with the eternal nagging of her fractious internal critic. Listen, be moved and then order her wonderful book via the link below.

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    *

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Francesca Segal's memoir, Mother Ship, is out now and available to order here

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    If you were affected by any of the issues raised in this podcast, help is available via Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Francesca Segal @francescasegal

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • This week, I chat to the chart-topping singer Emeli Sandé about life, love, fame...and all the nitty gritty bits in between. Emeli has sold over 19 million singles, won four Brit Awards and is about to return after a three-year break with her hotly anticipated third album, Real Life. Her rise to fame was rapid and overwhelming. Celebrity, she says, took some time to get used to.

    She joins me to talk about her body image and the long journey to self-acceptance in an industry that frequently made her feel like she was never 'enough'. She talks about letting go of the need to be perfect, and embracing failure. Plus we discuss her visit to Zambia to reconnect with her family there, and what impact that had on her. Emeli also opens up for the first time about the breakdown of her marriage, to a man she had been with from the age of 17, and the feeling of shame she had about admitting she was getting divorced before being forced to confront herself as she really was.

    Emeli speaks as powerfully as she sings: like an old soul channeling all sorts of wisdom. I'm so grateful she came onto the podcast and I hope you get as much from it as I did. Thank you Emeli!

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    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

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    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Emeli Sandé's forthcoming album, Real Life, is out in September and is available to pre-order here

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Emeli Sande @emelisande

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • Yes. That's right. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is back.

    One year on from her debut appearance on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, my first ever guest returns to talk about the craziness of her last 12 months, during which she has written and starred in Fleabag 2 (described as a televisual masterpiece by...well...almost everyone), made Killing Eve (described as a televisual masterpiece by...well...almost everyone) and been brought in by the James Bond producers to work her magic on the franchise.

    It's a year that, from the outside, has seemed to many of us to be the epitome of success. But what failures lie underneath the surface? What about those private moments of vulnerability and self-doubt we are so rarely privy to?

    Phoebe joins me to talk about three failures from the past year, including her failure to connect with her family, her failure to speak up for herself and her failure to Marie Kondo her bedroom. Along the way, we discuss what makes the perfect water bottle, filming THAT final scene in Fleabag (apparently the foxes were total divas), sexuality, exhaustion and why female creators are often unfairly assumed to be writing autobiography. And yes, the Meryl Streep apple crumble anecdote makes an appearance.

    Thank you, Phoebe, for coming back onto the podcast and being such a generous and wonderful friend.

    If you haven't already listened to her first episode, you can do so here

    ***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT KLAXON***

    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are *not* recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • We’re BAAACK! As House of Pain once rapped in their immortal hit Jump Around, ‘Just like the Prodigal Son I’ve returned’. Yes, here we are for Season 5 of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day: eight sparkling new episodes featuring eight marvellous guests.

    And for our opening episode, I could not be happier to welcome the legendary Nigel Slater to the podcast. The bestselling and beloved cookery writer, whose books have adorned every kitchen worth its (Maldon) salt for decades, joins me to talk about his failure to be a proper chef, his fear that he let his father down and his failure to be a good friend. We also talk about sexuality, children, neatness, ceramics and whether or not he believes in an afterlife. Nigel was an utter joy from beginning to end and arrived in my flat for the recording bearing a bunch of flowers he had picked from his garden and a packet of green tea so delicious I promptly devoured it and had to order a massive packet of it online.

    Thank you Nigel, for being so lovely. I hope you all enjoy the episode as much as I enjoyed doing the interview - and if you do, I’d be so grateful for any ratings or reviews you’d like to give us.

    ***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT KLAXON***

    I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Chris Sharp and Naomi Mantin and sponsored by Teatulia. To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    Nigel Slater’s latest (wonderful) book, Greenfeast, is published in two volumes. Spring / Summer is out now and available to order here. Autumn / Winter is out later this year and available to pre-order here.

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Nigel Slater @nigelslater

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

    Teatulia @TeatuliaUK

  • 'And now, the end is near / And so I face the final curtain...'

    Yes, it's the SEASON FINALE! I know, I know: it's gone so fast hasn't it? What's that they say about time flying when you're having fun calling your brain Becky? (That's a podcast in-joke, peeps, don't panic if you're a new subscriber and you haven't got a clue what I'm on about, but do check out my episode with Mo Gawdat, S4, Ep4).

    Anyway, don't be too sad because I have one solid-gold, cast-iron, brilliant guest for you to usher out this season. Step forward, Jamie Laing. Some of you might know him from E4's structured reality show, Made In Chelsea. Some of you might not watch reality television and believe it to be ushering in the end of days. But I implore you, even if you have no interest in the show and even if you've got preconceptions of who Jamie is, to give this episode a listen. He is such an sincere, funny, generous and self-aware person and so willing to talk openly about the times in his life when things didn't go according to plan that I truly think you will get a lot from it.

    Jamie joins me to talk about he impact of parental divorce, panic attacks, anxiety, sporting injury and what happens when your idea of your entire future seems to collapse. We also talk about why he's never managed to have a lasting long-term relationship. Along the way, he quotes life lessons learned from Socrates, William Blake and, that seminal 21st century philosopher, Lucy Watson.

    I hope you enjoy the final episode in this season. Thank you for all your incredible support. We'll be back in July with eight new fantastic guests for season five. In the meantime, if you felt like rating, reviewing and subscribing, I'd be eternally grateful.

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    You can buy Jamie's delicious all-vegan Candy Kittens sweets here and you can listen to his and Frances Boulle's podcast, Private Parts, here.

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Jamie Laing @jamielaing_UK

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

  • This week on the podcast, I'm delighted to welcome the brilliant Nesrine Malik, a British-Sudanese writer and newspaper columnist who has recently been longlisted for the prestigious Orwell Prize and whose forthcoming book, We Need New Stories, is a riveting assault on our tired old ideologies. (She's also really funny, by the way.)

    Nesrine joins me to talk about the not-so-terrible-yet-somehow-devastating shame of not getting the A-grade she was predicted in her GCSE English (a failure so personal, she has never told anyone about it), why she's never grown out of 'mommy and daddy issues' and why she finds it difficult to put down roots anywhere. Along the way, we talk about the shock of sudden death, going to school against the backdrop of a military coup and when it's obvious someone has cooked Ottolenghi.

    I adore this woman and I know that after 45 minutes in her intelligent, inquiring company, you will too.

    We Need New Stories by Nesrine Malik is available to pre-order here

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Nesrine Malik @nesrinemalik

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks

  • You could say that my guest this week became famous because of failure. Andy McNab led the Bravo Two Zero SAS mission during the first Gulf War but his team was compromised soon after they were dropped into Iraq in 1991. This was the most horrific kind of failure. It resulted in the deaths of three of the squad, a cat-and-mouse chase across the desert and McNab's eventual capture. He withstood six weeks of torture and imprisonment, later turning his harrowing experiences into the bestselling book, Bravo Two Zero. He was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his courage behind enemy lines. In 2017, he was awarded a CBE.

    But this SAS hero did not have the most auspicious start in life: abandoned as a baby in a carrier bag on the steps of a London hospital, he was brought up by adoptive parents on a Peckham council estate and dropped out of school as a teenager, barely able to read or write. He fell into a life of petty crime. After an arrest for burglary at the age of 16 he decided to turn his life around, and joined the British Army.

    Andy joins me to talk about the failure of that Bravo Two Zero mission, about what the SAS taught him about how to fail, about how someone who struggled with literacy managed to make a career as a bestselling author, about why he's been married so many times (four, since you ask) and about how he's now found lasting happiness with his wife Jenny (partly to do with a laminated strip in his wallet...listen to find out more). Oh, and he tells me he's a certified psychopath, but not - apparently - one of the bad ones. So that's a podcast first.

    Andy McNab's books are available to buy here

    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, recorded by Chris Sharp and sponsored by 4th Estate Books

    The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Andy McNab @the_real_mcnab

    Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

    4th Estate Books @4thEstateBooks