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SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Daisy Edgar-Jones on being the star of Normal People, the lockdown television hit everyone is talking about

SPECIAL EPISODE! How to Fail: Daisy Edgar-Jones on being the star of Normal People, the lockdown television hit everyone is talking about

By Elizabeth Day

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 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.


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:

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. 



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



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

Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

Daisy Edgar-Jones @daisyedgarjones

Connell's Chain @connellschain


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