There are certain celebrities you simply do not criticise, to do so is to flirt with death. Well, almost. My husband, a music journalist, once dared to write a scathing review of ‘modfather’ Paul Weller. Weller’s people duly issued a ‘mod fatwa’ – making any mod honour-bound to scarify dear husband should they encounter him. That was 15 years ago, and since then I can happily report that the sole act of vengeance consisted of an old geezer in a pork pie hat giving him a funny look, but we remain ever vigilant for surprise attacks.

Anyway, sorry I seem to have done a Miranda and meandered off down a merry stream of randomness. But my worry when given this book to review was what if I don’t like it? Would I dare to say so and risk the wrath of the gazillions of Miranda fans throughout the land? After all, she has become the nation’s number-one female comedian – she is loved, ferociously. Granted most of the Miranda fans I’ve met seem harmless enough – excitable teen girls who identify with her gaucheness and indeed my own mother. But who knows what lengths they might go to to exact revenge on those who dare to criticise their idol?

My big worry was that the Miranda show is such a hoot but so reliant on Ms Hart’s brilliant asides to camera and buffoonish physical comedy (the toilet paper trailing from trousers hilarity, etc) that the humour would not translate to book form - and like many spin-offs, be merely a cash in.

So I picked up the book and read with caution: “My Dear Reader Chum, a very hearty hello to you. What an honour and privilege it is to have you perusing my written word... I hope you are sitting comfortably… maybe you’re lying on the bookshop floor having a little breather (it that’s the case, I’m not being rude, but you’re a bit weird).” It’s a bonkers opening that conjures visions of mad folk lying on floors being weird. Where we, the reader, are all a little bit, well, Miranda-ish. I am hooked. Fifteen pages of delightfully oddball waffle later, she divulges the book’s purpose: “We weren’t given a rulebook at birth about this whole how-to-manage-life business, but I can at least show you what I’ve learned since childhood. Call it your own personal Miran-ual.”

What follows is 18 chapters on a variety of subjects on which Miranda offers her obviously dysfuntional advice (dating, bra-buying, owning a dog). I needn’t have worried, it’s pretty much the Miranda show in literary form: pratfalls, bad puns, self-effacing observations.

Yes it’s lame, but deliberately so (“Miran-ual” is knowingly bad).

Could Miranda Hart’s bestselling book really be as funny as her show? GILL SUTHERLAND finds there’s plenty to chortle over

Like Tommy Cooper when his tricks go wrong, Eric Morecombe waggling his specs, Frank Spencer falling off a ladder or Joyce Grenfell looking goofy – it is both deeply naff and comic genius all at the same time.

We can all identify with the cringey, everyday episodes Miranda describes. One of my favourites is when Miranda joins a book club and is greeted by po-faced women all drinking herbal tea. She blunders talking rubbish: “I bought a bottle. Who else would like da vino? Da vino da campo. A little joke on Gino D’Acampo, the chef off This Morning. No?”

It’s funny because it’s lame and also because it brilliantly depicts that isolated feeling of being the only buffoon in the room.

So Miranda fans, put down your pitchforks, lighted torches and custard pies, we’re all fans here.

Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart is published by Hodder Paperback and is priced £7.99

Miranda factfile

  • Miranda Katharine Hart Dyke
  • Born: December 14, 1972 (age 40) in Torquay
  • Boyfriends: 0
  • Pets: 1 (Peggy the shi tzu)
  • Height: 6ft 1inMiranda grew up in Petersfield, Hampshire with her younger sister Alice, her glamorous mother Diana and naval officer father Captain David Dyke. Her dad’s ship, HMS Coventry, was sunk during the Falklands War with the loss of 20 men.


Shortly after, he was posted to America, and Miranda and her sister were sent to Downe House boarding school in Hampshire, where broadcaster Claire Balding was head girl during Miranda’s time (they are still chums).

After school, Miranda studied politics at university in Bristol (she got a 2:1). Follwing uni she suffered from depression and says she hardly left the house for two years and blames a five-stone weight gain on the antidepressants she was prescribed at the time.  She slowly recovered and, keen to realise her lifelong ambition to be a comedian, she enrolled on a year’s acting course in London.
A series of temping jobs in offices followed, including PA for Comic Relief, before she landed a few small roles including French & Saunders, Absolutely Fabulous, Vicar of Dibley and Not Going Out. She put on a one-woman show at Edinbrugh Festival in 2002 and was seen by a BBC producer, to whom she pitched the idea for Miranda. And the rest, as they say, is history.