Episoder

  • For our second and final bonus episode this season, I bring you the dulcet tones of actor Jamie Dornan. Most recently seen in The Fall (currently on Netflix and BBC iPlayer) playing a serial killer with an incongruously happy family life, Dornan is also well-known for starring as Christian Grey in all three of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie adaptations, which brought him to the worldwide attention of millions.

    He joins me to talk about failures in acting, failures at school and a failure to sit still. We also discuss growing up in Northern Ireland at the heigh of The Troubles, male objectification, the death of his beloved mother from cancer at the age of 16 and the loss of four friends in a car crash shortly afterwards. We talk about grief, therapy and what it means to be a father. And we talk about why he walks on his tiptoes.

    I think this one of my favourite ever interviews and I hope it brings you some comfort through these undoubtedly challenging times.

    How To Fail will be back with a ONE-OFF SUPER SPECIAL MINISERIES at the end of the month, where I’m doing something a bit different…follow @howtofailpod on Instagram or Twitter to be the first in the know!

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    I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

    Jamie Dornan: @jamiedornan

  • It is such an honour to welcome the extraordinary Claudia Rankine to the podcast. She is a poet, playwright and essayist, a woman who's life's work has been devoted to the interrogation of race and white supremacy and to the discovery of what connects - and divides - us as human beings.

    Her 2014 book, Citizen: An American Lyric is the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the non-fiction category. It also won the Forward Poetry Prize. Her latest work, Just Us, explores a series of real encounters with friends and strangers. Its genre-defying essays, images and poems span everything from Beyonce to airport lounges.

    This was, I think, one of the most important conversations I have *ever* had about race. Being able to listen and learn from Claudia's wisdom and intellect was an unforgettable experience and I'm so glad that I get to share it with you.

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    I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests. I'd love it if you bought a copy. Also: they make EXCELLENT gifts imho.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    Claudia Rankine's Just Us is out now.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

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  • Yes, it's the SEASON FINALE - I know, I know, it comes around so quickly doesn't it? But fear not, for we have an excellent guest in the form of James Acaster: comedian, podcaster, author and music enthusiast (specifically enthusiastic for anything released in 2016, which he claims in his book, Perfect Sound Whatever, is the best year for music dot dot dot ever).

    As well as being the only British stand-up to have fronted a four-part Netflix special, James co-hosts the Off Menu podcast. He joins me to talk about mental health, political correctness, relationship break-ups, dropping out of school and the importance of making mistakes without being overly critical of everything you've ever done wrong [TW: contains discussion of suicidal thoughts]. Plus the time he called a heckler a paedophile and immediately regretted it.

    Thank you so much for listening to season nine - and we'll be back in the not-too distant future with a couple of exciting bonus episodes.

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    I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    James Acaster's book, Perfect Sound Whatever, is out now.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • [TW: contains discussion of sexual assault]

    You asked - and we listened. Welcome to one of the most requested podcast guests of all time, the wonderful Nadiya Hussain. Baker, tv presenter, author and all-round good egg, Nadiya joins me to talk about her failure to enjoy life, her failure to finish university and her failure to speak out on issues she subsequently realised were important for a public figure to tackle - such as race, identity and the issues we face as a country (such a self-aware failure, that). We also discuss her recently discovered joy of not planning, her constant effort to remain in the present and the fact that she doesn't have a cleaner (her children help her clean the house every weekend...I KNOW).

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    I have a new book out! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong contains two-and-bit years worth of accumulated wisdom from my fantastic podcast guests and is available here

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    Nadiya's new book, Nadiya Bakes, is available to order here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Nadiya Hussain @begumnadiya

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • ***SPECIAL EPISODE KLAXON***

    To mark the publication of my new book, Failosophy, I take a trip down memory lane and share my favourite moments from the How To Fail archive, featuring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mo Gawdat, Alain de Botton and many, many more. AND I discuss the three personal failures that many lovely listeners sent in - they're funny and insightful and moving (best have a hankie nearby, is all I'm saying).

    Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write in and to all of you for listening. I love and appreciate you more than I can say.

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    Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is published on 1st October and is available here

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    I am doing a LIVE show at the newly Covid-secure London Palladium on 2nd October at 6.30pm UK time. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • I'VE GOT A TEXT...MESSAGE. This week's guest is Ovie Soko, a man who entered the Love Island villa in 2019 and rapidly became iconic by uttering this phrase. But he's so much more than a reality TV star: famed for his laid-back charm and wise advice, Ovie is also a professional basketball player and a soon-to-be-published author. His debut book, You Are Dope, is out next week.

    Ovie joins me to talk about almost getting expelled from school, cheating on a girlfriend and being caught stealing from his mother. Along the way we discuss Black Lives Matter, and his experiences of being pulled over by police in America, Love Island, Nigerian families, faith, relationships, social media and what it means to channel your difference as a super-power.

    What. A. Dude.

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    PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK, THANK YOU! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here

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    To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at the newly Covid-secure London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here.

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    You Are Dope by Ovie Soko is available for pre-order here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Ovie Soko @oviesoko

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • I've wanted to get this guest on for ages and now - hooray! - here she is: the inimitable Ruby Wax. Ruby started out as an actress at the RSC, took a side-step into comedy and had a hugely successful television career, interviewing everyone from Madonna and Imelda Marcos to the Spice Girls. But, after living with depression all her life and a series of breakdowns, she got a Masters from Oxford University in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and is now a mental health campaigner and author.

    Ruby joins me to talk about mental health, mindfulness, job loss, how to deal with anxiety and comedy as a vehicle for truth. We chat about the influence of her late, dear friend Alan Rickman, the trauma of a difficult upbringing, the time she mortally embarrassed herself in front of Sir Paul McCartney and her spectacular failure at an audition for Saturday Night Live. Oh, and we talk about what happened when she interviewed the future President of the United States, Donald Trump, on his private jet [spoiler alert: it wasn't great].

    And if you enjoyed this episode, Ruby's new book, And Now For The Good News...From the Future With Love is out TOMORROW!

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    PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK TOO, THANK YOU! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here

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    To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at The London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com You can buy our fantastic PODCAST MERCH here.

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Ruby Wax @rubywax

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • At the age of 80, Annie Nightingale still manages to be one of the most forward-looking and future-facing people I've ever interviewed. She is the legendary Radio 1 DJ - the first woman ever to get a job at the station and now the BBC's longest-serving presenter and a vital force in British music.

    Annie joins me to talk about confronting sexism, breaking the mould, getting the best of of interviewees and what it's like to have met everyone from David Bowie to Paul McCartney to Eminem and Jim Morrison (he didn't impress her much tbf). We also touch on her convent school education, her inability to tell a lie, her failure at A-Levels and her terrible financial planning. She is, it has to be said, a total riot.

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    PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here

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    To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at The London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here.

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    Annie Nightingale's memoir, Hey, Hi, Hello, is out now.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Annie Nightingale @aanightingale

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Mohsin Zaidi's memoir, A Dutiful Boy, is one of the most powerful and emotive books I've read this year. It tells the story of his upbringing in a poor pocket of east London, in a devout Shia Muslim community. His family were close-knit and religiously conservative. From a young age, Mohsin knew that his sexuality was a secret he had to hide in a household where being gay was viewed as an inconceivable taboo. Despite these personal struggles, Mohsin became the first person from his comprehensive school to go to Oxford University, later becoming a leading barrister. And then he told his family the truth.

    Mohsin joins me to talk about the realities of being gay and Muslim, about what it means to love your family while keeping your truest self hidden and about how he found the strength to break through the barriers surrounding him in the search for a truly authentic life.

    Trust me, YOU WILL LOVE THIS EPISODE. Mohsin is so eloquent and interesting and sweet-natured and funny that you can't help but fall in love with him a little bit, even when he's talking about such harrowing and difficult experiences. Inspiration is a word that gets bandied around a lot, but Mohsin Zaidi is a man who is wholly worthy of it.

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    PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here

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    To celebrate the publication of Failosophy, I am doing a LIVE show at The London Palladium. It is also live-streamed online. If you'd like to buy tickets for either option, you can do so here.

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    A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi is out now and available to buy here

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Mohsin Zaidi @mohsinzaidi_ldn

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • IT'S SEASON NINE AND I FEEL FINE, BABY! And we open with a humdinger - the podcasting king, comedy legend and all-round thoroughly decent bloke that is...[drum roll + X Factor announcer voice]...ADAM BUXTON.

    Adam joins me to talk about misdirected perfectionism, dropping out of university, mid-life crises and what it means to be a parent after the death of your own. We talk about privilege, being sent to boarding school aged nine, whether he feels rivalry with his astonishingly successful friends (*coughs* Louis Theroux *coughs*) and about what makes a bad spoon. That's not a euphemism, by the way, we do literally talk about bad spoons.

    Adam is such a lovely man and it was an honour to have him on How To Fail, especially given that his podcast always charts higher than mine, the bastard. He is so funny - listen out for the anecdote involving wrapping scaffolding in multi-coloured ribbon - and he introduced me to the brilliant concept of having a mind like a sat nav, which is to say: if something doesn't go according to plan, the challenge is to find another route to the destination.

    I like that. I hope you like the episode. It's good to be back.

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    PLEASE PRE-ORDER MY NEW BOOK! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is available here

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    Ramble Book by Adam Buxton is out (in physical form) next week. You can pre-order it here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Adam Buxton IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA...wow

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • GLORIA STEINEM. Gloria ACTUAL Steinem.

    For this very special bonus episode, I had the absolute honour of interviewing one of my all-time heroes, the feminist activist, writer and icon, Gloria Steinem. And yes, I'm still pinching myself.

    We talk about her failure to understand her mother, her failure to be at her father's deathbed and her failure to learn lessons quickly enough - yes, we go deep... She also talks to me about how, at the age of 86, she is joyfully outliving society's expectations of her; of how fear can often be a sign of growth (let that sink in), about how 'anger is an energy cell', about how we are 'linked not ranked', about not having children, about spending a lifetime combatting misogyny and racism and sexism and injustice, and about the counteracting forces of love and compassion and friendship which keep her going. If you've been watching the Mrs America miniseries about the battle for equality, then this is a MUST-LISTEN, even if I do say so myself.

    I love Steinem's work so much that I often quote her in my own - the book of How To Fail is a classic example (she's in the 'Anger' chapter) - and so to be given a chance to meet her, albeit remotely, was honestly a life highlight. She did not let me down. In fact, she exceeded my wildest expectations.

    Whoever said never meet your heroes clearly never met Gloria Steinem.

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    If you've enjoyed this season of How To Fail, you might like to join me for a livestream event I'm doing on 2nd October to mark the launch of my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong You can book here

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    The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off, an illustrated collection of Steinem's best quotes, is out now and available to buy here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Gloria Steinem @gloriasteinem

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • It is the SEASON FINALE, BABY! I know, I know - it goes so quickly doesn't it? But here we are, two months after we started season eight, with a truly phenomenal guest. Bernardine Evaristo was the first black woman to win the Booker Prize, with her stunning novel, Girl Woman Other. She joins me to talk about her failure to be an actor, her failure to drive from London to Australia (hey, it happens to the best of us) and...brilliantly...her failure to be a lesbian. Along the way, we talk about writing, motivation, race, coercive control, age, gender and the courage she found to create her own work when none was offered to her. Bernardine is the embodiment of that overused term - an inspiration - and a truly jouyous interviewee. Thank you for listening!

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    If you've enjoyed this season of How To Fail, you might like to join me for a livestream event I'm doing on 2nd October to mark the launch of my new book Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong You can book here

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    Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo is available to buy here

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Bernardine Evaristo @bernardineevaristowriter

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Siena Castellon is my youngest ever guest. She's a 17-year-old activist and mentor. She is autistic, has dyslexia and dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. And she's just published her first book.

    Her book, The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic, is a brilliant guide for neurodiverse girls navigating a neurotypical world. It is packed full of information and insight into many of the challenges that autistic teen girls face. There are sections on how to date, how to deal with social anxiety and sensory sensitivity and an analysis of the fact that autism is routinely underdiagnosed in girls (in Siena's words: 'we’re really good at hiding our autistic traits. In fact, we become so good at pretending to be “normal” that we convince everyone that we’re neurotypical.')

    Siena joins me to talk about being bullied at school, being misunderstood by teachers and failed by a mainstream education system that seemed unable to appreciate her difference. We discuss neurodiversity, sexism, dogs, prejudice, challenging the stereotypical 'Rainman' view of autism and why it's important to stand up for yourself. As Siena puts it: 'I've learnt that you can't assume that people experience the world the way you do and that it's important to express yourself to avoid people making untrue assumptions about you.'

    Siena is AMAZING. Listen to her and feel inspired (and also probably quite old).

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    The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic by Siena Castellon is out now and available to purchase here.

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Siena Castellon @NCWeek

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • This week, I bring you the utterly sensational Glennon Doyle. She is the author of three books, the latest of which, Untamed, is a memoir that defies easy categorisation - somewhat like the woman herself. Untamed is thrilling, original and brave. In it, Glennon dismantles our socialised preconceptions of what women should be and challenges us all to look at the boxes we're trapped in that are not of our own making. She joins me to talk about all of this, and about why women are taught to 'look outward for permission, approval and consent' when we should be looking 'inward for wisdom' (I KNOW! THIS IS GENUINELY HOW SHE SPEAKS!) But, don't worry, there's also plenty of amazing stuff in here whatever gender you are.

    We also discuss her failure to have a thick skin (and how she protects herself from judgement), her failure to keep her family together (and what this taught her about love) and her failure to be fully comfortable with her own body image (despite years of trying). Every sentence she utters contains a revelation, which is why when the time came to edit this interview I just...couldn't. So I've let it run at full length, with no cuts, exactly how it happened.

    Enjoy.

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Glennon Doyle @glennondoyle

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Today's guest is someone I fell in platonic love with by reading her work. Julia Samuel is one of the country's leading psychotherapists but she is also well-known as an author. Her first book, Grief Works, was a Sunday Times bestseller and is routinely cited as one of the most helpful and compassionate books on bereavement you will ever read. Her second book, This Too Shall Pass, Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings, was published just before lockdown and could not have been a more insightful guide to the uncertain times we all found ourselves in. Adwoa Aboah called it 'one of the most valuable books I've ever read', while my hero Esther Perel, said it was 'a remarkable portrayal of how we need to understand ourselves to truly heal'.

    She joins me to talk about failing exams, failed jobs, her self-perceived failures as a mother and the impossibility of putting our emotions through a logical system. We also touch on imposter syndrome, quitting things you aren't good at, being a twin (she is one!), her close friendship with the late Princess Diana (plus what kind of godmother she is to Prince George) as well as the discomfort she feels talking about herself, rather than being the one to ask questions of a client.

    I am so honoured to have Julia on the podcast. Her integrity and intelligence, forged through 30 years as a working therapist, shine through absolutely everything she does. Her work has been crucially important to me personally and I'm sure it will be to you too.

    As Julia says: 'We are brought up thinking life is an upward journey, a stairway to a better place, each step higher than the last. but the reality is far less certain: there are ups and downs, and the only certainty that exists is that there will be change.'

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    Julia's latest book, This Too Shall Pass, is out now and available to order here.

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Julia Samuel @juliasamuelmbe

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Scarlett Moffatt was working at the checkout in Asda when she and he family got the chance to be on Channel 4's Gogglebox. She rapidly became the show's break-out star with her brilliant one-liners. Television fame followed - she co-presented with Ant and Dec, won 2016's I'm A Celebrity and now hosts the official podcast for Rupaul’s Drag Race UK. But with her overnight celebrity also came increased scrutiny and criticism.

    She joins me to talk about becoming an accidental famous person and dealing with online abuse (she will now reply to trolls with the phone number for the Samaritans). Scarlett also discusses her shifting relationship with body image and her own struggles with anxiety and low self-worth.

    This is a woman who has worked hard all her life - from her first job at 14, putting sweets into Pic n' Mix to being employed in sales at the Carphone Warehouse. When she went on I'm A Celebrity, she had only just managed to clear her student overdraft. With the fee she was given from that show, Scarlett paid off the mortgage on her parents' house. She talks to me about the value of hard graft, being bullied at school, a bicycle accident that left her with Bell's Palsy and using humour as a defence mechanism. This episode also contains what is quite possibly the greatest Tom Hardy anecdote you will ever hear.

    Thank you Scarlett, you are an absolute gem. Those school bullies were wrong about you. They always are.

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

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    You can listen to Scarlett hosting Rupaul's Drag Race UK: The Podcast here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Scarlett Moffatt @scarlettmoffatt

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • Matthew Syed is an acclaimed author, newspaper columnist and broadcaster. He is also, in many ways, is the father of failure. I mean that as a compliment, obviously. Through his seminal, bestselling books - Bounce, Black Box Thinking and his latest, Rebel Ideas - he has shown again and again that failure can actually be the richest seam of data acquisition.

    His interest in making mistakes in order to evolve started, incongruously, with table tennis. He was the British number one in 1995 but later choked in spectacular fashion at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The experience triggered a fascination with what it means to fall apart under pressure and why it happens.

    Syed joins me to talk about all this, as well as leaving school at 15, his childhood experiences of racism, the horror of cold-calling when he ran a marketing agency, the 'terrible' early newspaper columns he wrote, the necessity for diversity of thinking, fatherhood and why we don't need to be scared of airplane turbulence (thank goodness, quite frankly, because I'm terrified of it). It was a joy meeting Matthew, and I also liked his exceptionally polite way of saying 'thank you' when I ask a question.

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

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    Matthew Syed's lates book, Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking is available to order here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Matthew Syed @matthewsyed

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • *This episode was recorded before recent tragic events in America. There are links to useful Black Lives Matter resources and ways to help below*

    You know when you read someone's work and feel like you'd be friends in real life, and you become basically a little obsessed and Google them to inhale all the online content that is out there about this person and their work and THEN you get to to meet them and despite thinking they couldn't possibly live up to all your overhyped expectation, they actually do? Well, ok, so that's what happened to me with Samantha Irby.

    Not only is she a brilliant, hilarious and perspicacious essayist (she has published three collections, the latest of which, Wow, No Thank You, entered the New York Times bestseller list at number one) but she's a wonderful, generous and warm human being. Samantha joins me to talk about failure to complete college, her failed relationships, failing at drama class, being her mother's carer, growing up poor, using humour as a defence mechanism and the BRILLIANT theory she has developed of 'Detachment Parenting' which she deploys on her wife's children. Oh, and we talk about The Real Housewives too, because we're both huge fans (in fact, we went on about it for so long that I had to edit some of it out in case we bored everyone else). My other favourite thing about this interview is that producer Naomi nonchalantly informed me that Samantha would be dialling in from Kathmandu, Nepal. It turns out that she had misheard and actually meant Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Samantha, I heart you. Please can we be friends for real? CALL ME!

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully hand-illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

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    Samantha Irby's latest book, Wow, No Thank You is out now and available to order here. Her extraordinary essay, My Mother, My Daughter is available to read for free online here.

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    Many of you will have been as appalled as we are by the recent tragic news from America and the homicide of George Floyd. If you'd like to help there is a link to Black Lives Matter resources (including petitions to sign and places to donate) here.

    Belly Mujinga was a railway worker at London's Victoria station who was spat at by an assailant and who later died of Covid-19. You can donate to her family here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Samantha Irby @wordscience

    How To Fail @howtofailpod

  • *This episode was recorded before recent tragic events in America. There are links to useful Black Lives Matter resources and ways to help below*

    WE'RE BAAAAAACCCCKKKK just like Backstreet, The Mack, and the toilet roll that's now in stock again in Sainsbury's. And what a guest I have for you! It is the one, the only, Jessie Ware. Not only is she one of my favourite singer-songwriters (four Brit nominations to her name, three top-ten albums and a whopping 120 million streams on Spotify for one of her most famous songs, Say You Love Me...JUST SAYIN) but she's also one of my favourite podcasters, co-hosting the brilliant Table Manners with her mother, Lennie and interviewing an array of astonishing talent over a home-cooked dinner. Their eponymous cookbook is a Sunday Times bestseller.

    Part of what makes Table Manners so special is Jessie's down-to-earth manner, whip-smart sense of humour and her ability to shortcut to the real stuff (it's also the affectionate bickering with Lennie, who says that they 'put the fun into dysfunctional'). All of these qualities also make her a wonderful interviewee. She joins me to talk about her failure to tidy up, her failure to be a journalist and her failure to live in the present. Along the way, we discuss imposter syndrome, body image, accidental success, life, love and almost everything in between. Basically all you need to know is that I loved her before we recorded this episode, but now I love her even more.

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    I've written a new book! Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong is out in October. It's a practical, inspirational and reassuring guide to the seven principles of failure I've developed since doing this podcast. Packed full of contributions from loads of former guests, as well as listener stories, it is also beautifully hand-illustrated by Paul Blow and I would love it if you wanted to pre-order a signed copy here.

    *

    Jessie Ware's latest album, What's Your Pleasure, is out on 19th June and available to preorder here.

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    Many of you will have been as appalled as we are by the recent tragic news from America and the homicide of George Floyd. If you'd like to help there is a link to Black Lives Matter resources (including petitions to sign and places to donate) here.

    Belly Mujinga was a railway worker at London's Victoria station who was spat at by an assailant and who later died of Covid-19. You can donate to her family here.

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

    *

    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Jessie Ware @jessieware

  • Ok, so I said I was done with the special lockdown episodes but, forgive me, I CHANGED MY MIND. The reason for this is that I watched Normal People and thought it was the most exceptional piece of television I've seen in...well...an absolute age, and I basically hunted down Daisy Edgar-Jones like the obsessive fan I was until she agreed to be interviewed by me.

    And so here it is: Daisy Edgar-Jones, who gave the performance of a lifetime as Marianne in the BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney's acclaimed novel, Normal People, joins me for the most beautiful chat about failing to go to university, feeling the need for constant validation, wanting to do things for their own artistic sake but being hamstrung by other people's approval, body image, living with anxiety (which manifests as hypochondria), feeling lost in her late teens, dealing with rejection, the weirdness of overnight fame and Connell's silver chain (in-joke there for Normal People mega-fans). We also talk allllll about Normal People: how she approached the part of Marianne, her on-and-off-screen relationship with Connell (played brilliantly by Paul Mescal), how they filmed those extraordinary, respectful sex scenes and the story behind Marianne's fringe.

    Daisy is 21 but speaks with the wisdom of someone three times her age. She is so open, so funny, so kind and so generous in this interview that I know it's going to be a great help to a great many people, especially as it's Mental Health Awareness Week and we need more people to talk like this. Thank you Daisy, you're insanely talented and a genuinely lovely person and I'm so grateful you replied to my Instagram DM.

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    I haven't taken sponsorship for any of the special lockdown episodes because it didn't feel right, but if you have enjoyed this interview or any of the others, I'd be so grateful if you'd consider donating to Samaritans. a truly incredible charity which helps people in crisis by being there, at the end of a phone line, 24/7, 365 days a year. Covid-19 has placed an unprecedented pressure on Samaritans volunteers at precisely the time that we need them the most. Any donation, however small, will help and I'd be so grateful if you felt able to make one. Here is the link to donate:

    https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/howtofailwithelizabethday

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    CORRECTION: during the course of our conversation, Daisy made an innocent mistake in referring to the condition where you effectively 'drown yourself' through drinking too much water as 'hyperhidrosis'. In fact, hyperhidrosis is a serious dermatological condition experienced by 2 million people in the UK which causes excessive sweating, caused by the sympathetic nervous system overreacting and causing bodies to go into stress overdrive. Despite 3 in 100 people in the UK having this condition, not many people talk about it for fear of shame and embarrassment. Thank you to the lovely listener who pointed out the error and who wished to raise awareness of this overlooked condition.

    What Daisy actually meant to say was hyponatraemia, a rare but potentially lethal over-hydration which dilutes salt levels in the blood and has similar symptoms to dehydration, such as headaches, nausea and cramp.

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    If you really can't get enough How To Fail content and are looking for something to read during lockdown, there is a book! How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now and available to order here

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    How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and recorded, edited and mixed by Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email howtofailpod@gmail.com

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    Social Media:

    Elizabeth Day @elizabday

    Daisy Edgar-Jones @daisyedgarjones

    Connell's Chain @connellschain