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S5, Ep7 How to Fail: Meera Syal

S5, Ep7 How to Fail: Meera Syal

By Elizabeth Day

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.


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

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

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Meera Syal @meerasyal

Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio

Naomi Mantin @naomimantin

Teatulia @TeatuliaUK


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