Episodes
I absolutely loved this interview. Whatever your preconceptions about politicians, please set them aside, because you're about to meet Ed Miliband: former leader of the Labour Party, current shadow business secretary, fellow podcaster and author of a new book, Go Big: How To Fix Our World. Ed joins me to discuss his failure to win the 2015 general election, suffering from anxiety, failing to get the degree he worked so hard for and a failure to keep his late father, the noted Marxist...
Published 06/09/21
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is an Olympic heptathlon gold medallist and a three-time world champion. This is a woman who knows what it takes to succeed at the very highest levels, and who has learned to process failure when she doesn't win. I learned so much from her insight. And she's still only 35! We had a truly fascinating conversation about the psychology of competitiveness, the importance of loyalty and roots, how injury taught her the value of rest and how losing the 2011 World...
Published 06/02/21
What better way to kick off a new season of interviews by interviewing one of the very best interviewers? INTIMIDATED, ME? Pahahahahaha. We open Season 11 of How To Fail with the peerless, hilarious and warm Graham Norton. Chat show host extraordinaire, bestselling author and beloved radio presenter, he joins me to talk about his failure to become an actor, to crack America and to throw a ball (no, really). We also talk about the art of the interview, his workaholic tendencies and, in an...
Published 05/26/21
TW: discussions about suicide For Mental Health Awareness Week, we have a very special bonus episode with Dr Alex George. A former Love Island contestant who after exiting the villa, returned to his job as an A&E doctor. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he’s been hard at work on the frontline. Behind the scenes, he has had to cope with devastating personal tragedy - his younger brother, Llyr, died by suicide in July 2020. Alex’s openness about his own mental health has been a comfort for...
Published 05/12/21
I'm almost too excited to write this but..for this extra-special bonus episode, I bring you none other than Adrian Dunbar: the man, the myth, the legend who plays Superintendent Ted Hastings in one of my favourite ever TV shows Line of Duty. If you're watching season six of Jed Mercurio's addictive police procedural, I suspect you will be obsessed with this interview (and yes, of course I ask him about 'H') but if you've never seen Line of Duty, I promise you'll still love it because Adrian...
Published 04/07/21
It's the season finale, so obviously I insisted our last guest be a Nobel Prize winner and...HERE HE IS! Kazuo Ishiguro, arguably one of our greatest writers of contemporary fiction, and a very lovely man to boot. His most famous book, The Remains of the Day, was written when Ishiguro was only 35. It won the Booker Prize and was adapted into a major film starring Antony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. His other works, including Never Let Me Go and The Buried Giant, collectively earned him the...
Published 03/24/21
On an excitement scale of 1-10 I am currently at a 15 because this week's guest...is my best friend. As well as being my bff (arguably her most important qualification, I'm sure you'll agree) Emma Reed Turrell is also a brilliant psychotherapist and the author of what is destined to become a must-read book, Please Yourself: How to Stop People-Pleasing and Transform the Way You Live. This is the manual every single self-identifying people pleaser needs to read (and in fact, even those who...
Published 03/17/21
Today's episode is an important one. Jim Down is an ICU doctor on the frontline of the Covid crisis. He is a consultant in critical care and anaesthesia at University College London Hospital, running the intensive care unit at one of London’s busiest hospitals, where life and death decisions are an everyday occurrence. Despite having spent all his adult life working in these conditions, nothing could have prepared Jim Down for Covid-19. As the pandemic descended in spring 2020, Down found...
Published 03/10/21
This week, Dr Nicole LePera is here to blow your mind. Better known to many as The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram, where she has over 3.4 million followers, Le Pera has gained huge popularity by breaking down complex but helpful psychotherapeutic ideas into accessible, and often life-changing, social media posts. A trained clinical psychologist, LePera was frustrated by the separation between body and mind in some traditional therapy. Now she's put her theories into a book, How To Do The...
Published 03/03/21
Emma Barnett is the presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, a gifted broadcaster whose forensic interviewing style has reduced politicians to gibbering wrecks and whose compassion and insight can move listeners to tears. She's also the author of Period: It’s About Bloody Time, a book borne out of her own experience of living with painful endometriosis which for years went undiagnosed. At the time of recording, her book was about to come out in paperback, but that's been pushed back to 8th...
Published 02/24/21
Alexandra Burke shot to fame as the 2008 winner of The X Factor. She became the first British female solo artist to have a million-selling single and went on to have a successful career as both a recording artist and a performer: her lead roles in the stage adaptations of The Bodyguard and Sister Act met with rave reviews. But behind the public profile were private battles: her beloved mother was dying, she was subjected to racism in the music industry and her story was frequently misreported...
Published 02/17/21
Today, I invite you to listen to one of my most-requested guests. I've lost count of the number of messages I've received begging me to get Matt Haig on the podcast, and now here he is: the man, the myth, the legend himself! Matt is a bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction and a mental health advocate whose admirers include everyone from Dolly Parton to the Duchess of Sussex. After surviving serious, life-threatening depression in his 20s, Matt used his experiences to form the...
Published 02/10/21
[TW: contains discussion of eating disorders and body dysmorphia] We're back, baby! So much has changed hasn't it? Last year, I released a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. This year...well, I'm releasing a new series in the grip of a national lockdown and a global pandemic. I hope Season 10 of How To Fail brings you some much-needed cheer in these strange times. And WHAT a guest I have for you to kick off with. Jameela Jamil started out as an English...
Published 02/03/21
It's the weirdest time of the year, when all the days become a formless sludge and we start to miss getting emails. Navigating the days between Christmas and New Year can be tricky at the best of times, but in 2020 there's an extra layer of WTAF. So I knew I wanted to talk to someone motivating, but not annoying; someone who could nudge us gently into 2021, without making us feel like we weren't already good enough; someone sweet and funny who wasn't smug; someone who, in short, is as...
Published 12/30/20
An alternative Christmas message for anyone who needs it.      
Published 12/25/20
For this four week miniseries, we've been introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. My final guest is Rebecca Anderton-Davies, a woman with a double life: a high-flying investment banker who has become a yoga phenomenon in her spare time. At the age of 27, she was hit by a van while cycling to work, breaking her collarbone and badly damaging her shoulder tissue. As part of her...
Published 12/16/20
For this four week miniseries, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. Today, my guest is Bassel Deeb. Bassel was born in Damascus, Syria. When his country descended into a brutal civil war, he was forced to flee. He came to the UK in 2013 where he applied for asylum. Bassel joins me to talk about this life-changing experience and about what it's like to have to redefine your idea...
Published 12/09/20
For this four week miniseries, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. Today, my guest is Ross Barr. When Ross was 20,  his dad died suddenly and unexpectedly, and he turned to acupuncture to help him deal with his heartbreak. After one session of treatment, he knew this was his path. Now, Ross is one of the UK's most sought-after acupuncturists, who counts the Duke and Duchess of...
Published 12/02/20
For the next four weeks, we'll be introducing you to four 'ordinary' people with four extraordinary stories as part of a one-off How To Fail miniseries in partnership with Grey Goose. First up: Yinka Bokinni, a radio DJ who grew up on the North Peckham Estate in South London. She was the childhood friend of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old schoolboy stabbed to death in a stairwell on his way back from the library in 2000. Yinka joins me to talk about how this experience shaped her, why...
Published 11/25/20
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...
Published 11/04/20
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...
Published 10/28/20
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...
Published 10/14/20
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...
Published 10/07/20
***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...
Published 09/30/20
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...
Published 09/23/20