Episodes

  • Frankie Bridge is probably best known as a member of one of the UK's most successful girl bands of all time, The Saturdays. But, more recently, it's as a mental health advocate that she has been making headlines. Her new memoir, Open: Why asking for help can save your life, is a brave and unflinchingly honest attempt to destigmatise the conditions that so many of us struggle with in private. Frankie lives with treatment-resistant depression. Initially, she struggled in silence but when she was hospitalised in 2011, she could no longer ignore the severity of what she was facing. Open tells the story of what happened next, of how she survived and of the decisions she makes on a daily basis to protect that survival.

    It was an honour to have her on the podcast to talk about all of this, especially in the wake of the devastating news about Caroline Flack. I met Caroline a few years ago and she was really lovely: so warm and funny and kind. I - like many of you - have been so sad and so shaken by the idea that she could see no other way out. I cannot imagine the pain that her family and friends are feeling. I am thinking of them. Although this interview with Frankie was recorded before any of us knew what Caroline was going through, Frankie has a lot to say about the dark places that depression can take you and offers many helpful insights into how to cope.

    Below are some useful numbers that can help you if you are going through a tough time or have been affected by any of the issues raised. Please know that you are not alone. Please know that, even if it doesn't feel like it right now, this too shall pass. You are loved, you are wonderful, you are unique. You are worthwhile. You exist. Please hold on.

    USEFUL NUMBERS

    Contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 (free from any phone).

    If you don't feel like talking, text Shout to 85258 to get help from crisis volunteers 24/7 (free on all mobile networks).

    Mind, the mental health charity, is on 020 8519 212.

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    Frankie Bridge's memoir, Open, is out now and available to order here.

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    This episode is sponsored by one of my favourite jewellery brands, Missoma. Visit uk.missoma.com and use the code ElizabethDay10 at checkout for 10% off your next purchase!

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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 is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    You can now buy exclusive How To Fail podcast merchandise - sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, post-its and notepads. The perfect gift for the failure in all of us! View the full range at howtofailshop.com

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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

    Frankie Bridge @frankiebridge

  • So. This podcast episode almost didn't happen because I'd forgotten to put it into my iCal (I find any diary that isn't paper so confusing, don't you?) and on the allotted day, I had a text from sound engineer Chris saying 'We're outside!'. Needless to say, I was not inside. I was half-an-hour away having breakfast with my friend Viv.

    It is a testament to Adam Pearson's kindness that, when I spoke to him, harassed and sweating as I ran for the train, he didn't seem remotely put out. 'It's very on-brand to fail at turning up,' he quipped.

    Anyway, I'm so glad Adam stuck around because when we did sit down to record this interview, he was utterly phenomenal. Adam is a broadcaster, actor, campaigner and documentary-maker (and also Celebrity Mastermind champion) who has lived for most of his life with the incurable genetic condition, neurofibromatosis which causes benign tumours to grow along the nerves. In his case, the tumours are mostly on his face and they have severely affected his physical appearance since the age of five.

    Adam joins me to talk about what his condition has taught him: from standing up to bullies at school to confronting the people filming him on their cameraphones when he ventures outside. He talks about the discrimination, the name-calling and how he has managed to channel his anger into changing the world for the better. Along the way, we discuss the pressures of social media in a culture that has learned to value superficial aesthetic 'perfection' at the cost of other, more meaningful characteristics. And we talk about his failure at dating, which involves once taking a Swedish woman to Ikea (it seemed like a good idea at the time) and possibly the most offensive joke you'll ever hear about why he was barred from eHarmony - listeners of a sensitive disposition might like to turn away for that bit, but I've left it in because it will give you a sense of Adam's humour, which is an integral part of how he has learned to survive.

    I hope you enjoy the episode. As the man himself might say: BOOYAH.

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    This episode is sponsored by Frank Body who are offering listeners 15% off when they spend £20 or more with the code HOWTOFAIL15 at checkout.

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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 is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    You can now buy exclusive How To Fail podcast merchandise - sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, post-its and notepads. The perfect gift for the failure in all of us! View the full range at howtofailshop.com

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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 Pearson @adam_pearson

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  • Marian Keyes is one of those people who you think can't POSSIBLY be as lovely and talented and nice as everyone says she is. She must have a hidden dark side, I thought. Maybe she's a terrible diva who will demand bowls of blue M&Ms and want my toilet freshly re-painted and scented with vanilla before she deigns to use it?

    But then you meet her and - lo and behold - she is not only as lovely as everyone says she is, but in fact EVEN NICER than that. This is a woman who has sold millions of book, who is one of the most successful and lauded Irish authors of all time, and who could quite forgivably be an egomaniac, but she's utterly fabulous. Or 'fabliss' as Keyes herself would put it.

    She joins me this week to talk about writing, feminism, low self-esteem, depression, alcoholism, humour as a survival mechanism, her failure to get into journalism college, weight loss (why she knows it shouldn't be important but still can't help worrying about) and her self-perceived 'failure' to have children. We also talk about her great new novel, Grown Ups, where the characters all seem like members of your own family and you're bereft to turn the final page.

    Thank you Marian. You really are fabliss.

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    This episode is sponsored by Frank Body who are offering listeners 15% off when they spend £20 or more with the code HOWTOFAIL15 at checkout.

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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 is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    Grown Ups by Marian Keyes is published by Penguin and 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

    Marian Keyes @mariankeyes

  • Eniola Aluko is a former footballer who bears the notable distinction of being one of only 11 women to play for England over 100 times and the first ever female pundit on Match of the Day. Born in Nigeria, she was raised on a Birmingham council estate, where her talent for football was obvious from a young age. At 15 she signed up for Birmingham City Ladies. Later, she played for Chelsea and Juventus, gaining a First Class law degree along the way. Later still, she was a whistleblower for racist bullying within the Football Association It was a public battle that required extraordinary reserves of strength, courage and determination.

    Eni joins me to talk about racism, sexism, equal pay, psychological pressure, failing the New York bar exam twice and the very real difficulties of dating when you're a female athlete. We also discuss her gripping memoir, They Don't Teach This, which is ALL about the incredible lessons she's learned from failure and is therefore very on-brand for this whole podcast.

    Thank you Eni! This word is overused but you are truly an inspiration.

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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 is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    They Don't Teach This by Eniola Aluko is published by Yellow Jersey and 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

    Eni Aluko @EniAlu

  • This week, the podcast welcomes its first ever Michelin-starred chef. Yes...it's Tom Kerridge! And what a chef he is. He failed at school, but found his way in catering college after the death of his Dad. He climbed the ranks of the profession, working hard and partying harder. Professional success followed, at the same time as personal failure - the long hours triggered a drink problem and he became unhealthily overweight. Faced with his own mortality, he gave up alcohol and went on a fitness regime that resulted in his losing 11 stone. His transformation was so impressive that it inspired a series of bestselling books, the latest of which, Lose Weight and Get Fit, is out now.

    Tom joins me to talk about his failure at education, his failure in business, his alcoholism and the associated failure to live in the moment. We talk about living to the extremes, having an addictive all-or-nothing mindset, how you can work with your spouse in a stressful industry and stay married, what it means to fail in a high-pressure environment and how he once had ambitions to be a child actor because it meant he got to hang out with the girls from a local private school. What a lovely chap he is - I hope you enjoy!

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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 is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge is published by Bloomsbury Books and 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

    Tom Kerridge @cheftomkerridge

  • My guest today has the middle name Alabama-Pearl, which is pretty cool but NOT QUITE AS COOL as the fact that she's a chart-topping pop-star who has racked up three top-10 hits and recently wrote one of the best Christmas songs of all time, Loneliest Time of the Year (and I say that as a die-hard Mariah fan). Plus, my guest is still only 23 years old. Revolting.

    Yes, that's right, it's Mabel, a double Brit nominee and the creative brains behind the hit song Don’t Call Me Up, which was in the top 40 for four months. She was born in Malaga, went to school in Stockholm and now lives in London. Her creative lineage is quite something: Mabel's mother is Neneh Cherry, her dad Cameron McVey is a producer who has worked with Massive Attack, Portishead, All Saints and Sugababes, her uncle is Eagle-Eye Cherry and her step-grandfather is the legendary jazz musician Don Cherry. But her talent and self-possession is all her own. Mabel joins me to talk about her failure to remember lyrics, her failure to stay vegan (which is hilarious) and her failure to sleep, which is a first on the podcast and I'm so glad she decided to broach the subject of insomnia as I know it effects so many of us and is such a debilitating thing.

    Thank you, Mabel, for coming on the podcast and doing your research so well that you actually read my book first. I heart you hard for that.

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    Talking of that book...the Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    This episode is sponsored by MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January.

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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

    Mabel @Mabel

    MEYA @meya_app

  • My guest this week is Malcolm Gladwell, a man who has challenged and changed the way we think with six bestselling books including The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers. Gladwell also hosts his own highly successful podcast, Revisionist History and is basically 98% brain. Obviously this makes him quite an intimidating prospect to interview, but luckily he was extremely nice and, as luck would have it, his new book is all about how we can best talk to strangers. It is called, appropriately enough, Talking To Strangers, and I found it a fascinating read, written in Gladwell's trademark style which combines academic research with humour, insight and journalistic expertise, all of which makes for a curiously propulsive narrative.

    Malcolm really engaged with the idea of this podcast and came up with three highly thoughtful failures, including a professional low-point which caused him public embarrassment and a deeply felt failure to stand by an alcoholic friend. We also chat about running, faith and whether prejudice can ever be a force for good. Talking to Malcolm for an hour felt like plunging into a freezing pool and emerging zingily refreshed from the experience. It was thought-provoking in the best, most meaningful way and I hope it stimulates you as much as it did me.

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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 is out now in paperback and available to buy here.

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    Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell is published by Penguin Books and is available to buy here.

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    This episode is sponsored by MEYA, a new meditation app that uses the power of music to switch you into a meditative state. Download the app here to experience the power of MEYA mind journeys and a new way to fit meditation into your daily routine this January.

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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

    Malcolm Gladwell @gladwell

    MEYA @meya_app

  • HAPPPPPY NEW YEAAARRRR! I hope you've woken up with a sense of rejuvenating freshness about the year ahead, but if you haven't - if you're hungover or feeling weird or sad or discombobulated or tired or like you haven't achieved enough - then fear not. You are simply caught up in this messy business of being human and that's fine. There is no need for a new year to mean a new you. The old you is great! The old you has stuff to say. And to remind you of this, I have the most wondrous of all special guests to help you usher in the first days of 2020.

    Andrew Scott, as well as being an utterly lovely person, is an astonishingly talented and versatile actor. Yeah, ok, you might just have heard of him from the little-known, moderately successful television show that is Fleabag, in which he played the Hot Priest and somehow made 'KNEEL' the sexiest word in the English language, but he's also been in Bond movies and Shakespeare plays and in some of the best television shows and films of the last decade. I'd list them all here but there wouldn't be enough room.

    He joins me to kick off a new decade and to talk about his failure at a drama competition aged 10 (a failure that ended up teaching him about the arbitrary nature of criticism), his failure to complete his degree and - his words - his 'failure to be heteronormative'. Along the way, we talk about the judgemental language of sexuality (why do gay people have to 'come out' when it implies you're hiding something? Why refer to someone as 'openly gay' when you wouldn't say 'openly Irish'? What does 'casual sex' really mean?), why acting should be playful, why growing older is an act of un-learning the things you think you know and why he still feels bad about a pizza delivery guy.

    I love this man. I know you will too.

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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 is out NOW in paperback and available to buy here.

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    This episode is sponsored by Secret Spa - the mobile app that provides you with all your beauty treatments in the comfort of your own home. Now covering London and Manchester, for 15% off your first booking, use the code HOWTOFAIL on the app or via the website secretspa.co.uk

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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

    ANDREW SCOTT IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. (Yet another reason to love him).

  • *SEASON FINALE KLAXON* I mean...where does the time go? A minute ago it was summer and now here I am posting the final episode of Season Six and it's a mere 24 shopping days left until Christmas. Sheesh.

    But what a pleasure I have in store for you! She comes in the form of the ICONIC Jane Garvey: broadcaster extraordinaire, host of Radio 4's Woman's Hour and one-half of the brilliant podcasting duo, Fortunately...with Fi and Jane. I couldn't have asked for a better guest to bring this season to a close. (Well, I suppose I could have asked, but the point is, no-one would have been able to fulfil that request).

    Jane so engaged with the premise of How To Fail that she sent not three but seven failures over email, saying she was 'struggling to narrow it down' and that it was up to me to choose which ones we talked about. We talk about her failure to listen, her tendency never to be seen to be trying too hard in case she doesn't succeed and her failure to appreciate fully what women were really up against in terms of equal pay at the BBC, partly because of what she sees as her own internalised misogyny and self-acknowledged white privilege. Most poignantly, Jane talks about her three miscarriages, and the long-felt emotional impact of each one. As anyone who has ever been through it will know, having a miscarriage is a specific form of grief that is difficult to describe but Jane articulates her feelings so beautifully that I know her story will be a great help to many of us.

    'All sounds a but whiny,' she signed off her email, 'but I’m actually a laugh when I try!!' You are indeed Jane. You're HILARIOUS. But you're also someone who isn't afraid to go deep and we're so grateful for it. I'll be taking a little break now but will be back in January with eight more fabulous guests. I'm deeply appreciative of everyone who has listened, downloaded, rated, reviewed and subscribed. You make me very happy (and, on a practical note, you also make it more financially feasible for me to carry on doing this so YAY for that). Until next year: thank you and keep failing better!

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    Looking for a Christmas present? THEN LOOK NO FURTHER THAN MY MEMOIR, the Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong which is available here.

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    You can listen to Fortunately...with Fi and Jane 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

    Jane Garvey @janegarvey1

    Sweaty Betty @sweatybetty

  • 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

  • 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.

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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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    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

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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

    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

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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 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