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Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee

Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee is a 1999 novel by Meera Syal that was later adapted into a three-part BBC television miniseries in 2005.


Story outlineEdit

Childhood friends Tania (Laila Rouass), Sunita (Meera Syal) and Chila (Ayesha Dharker) are now in their 30s and at a crossroads in life. But their friendship still holds them together.

Sunita, the eldest, used to be 'super swot' until she flunked out of university to marry her psychotherapist sweetheart, Akaash (Sanjeev Bhaskar). Then she turned into 'SuperMummyji'. Now she feels trapped by two kids and an unfulfilling job.'Gob Almighty' Tania is the ambitious career girl who's left her family and 'community' behind. Speaking her mind got her into trouble but out of Ilford.

The baby of the gang, sweet, naive Chila, is getting married. She's bagged the Prince Charming of Chigwell himself, Deepak Sharma (Ace Bhatti) - the man of her dreams. But he has a catalogue of former girlfriends - including Tania.

As well as starring in the programme, Meera Syal wrote the novel from which Life Isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee is adapted.

Both heart-warming and heartbreaking, it's inspired by the juxtaposition of two news stories running in the same newspaper, on the same day: One headlined 'Asian Women Top the Graduate League' and on the opposite page 'Asian Women Top the Suicide and Self Harm League'.Meera admits: "It disturbed me profoundly to see evidence of how much we can achieve, laced with our ability to destroy ourselves. It made me want to look at my life and the lives of my friends, all of whom were going through seismic changes in our belief systems and relationships."


Character Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3
Sanjeev Bhaskar
Ayesha Dharker
Leena Dhingra
Daniel Coonan
Priti Tia Shah
Dave Neal Barry
Raza Jaffrey
Jonathan Jimmy Mulville
Rani Singh
Billie-Claire Wright
Sara Stephens
Seema Anjali Mya Chadha
Milli Bhatia
Matt Day
Ace Bhatti
Meera Syal
Colin Sean Francis
Pushpinda Chani
Surendra Kochar
Pooky Quesnel
Laila Rouass


The music was especially commissioned and composed by Nick Green and Tristin Norwell. The Strings were recorded by Chandru.

Release detailsEdit

  • 1999, UK, Doubleday (ISBN 0385410727), Pub date 1 October 1999, hardback (First edition)

External linksEdit