James Kimberley Corden (born 17 June 1978, London) is a lard-laden faux Essex-boy, whose rise to fame via a women's sit-com prompted an unprecedented move into football punditry.
Rise To FameEdit
Conventional pundits generally start down the path to punditry by gaining important experience in the world of professional football. For example, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson formed a defensive partnership so tight that light itself scarcely penetrated the Liverpool box for a decade before reuniting to form the dourest punditry partnership of all time. Peter Schmeichel on the other hand spent a decade deafening the likes of Dennis Irwin and Henning Berg before settling down as a nonsensical red-nosed pundit.
Corden went down a different path and played the roll of Smithy in women's TV show Gavin and Stacey. After the show finished, the fairer sex decided that they hadn't had enough of Smithy and for the first 6 months of 2010, ITV's entire programming schedule consisted of James Corden related content. There were also the standard thrown together DVD compilations you're guaranteed to receive from Uncle Nobhead and/or Aunty Divorcee every Christmas.
By June 2010 Cordenmania was at such a height that accusations of him having a finger in every pie where no longer just cruel jibes about his considerable weight.
James Corden's World Cup LiveEdit
With the World Cup in South Africa about to kick off, it was imperative that ITV quickly cobbled together a live format show involving the World Cup and Corden. The result - James Corden's World Cup Live - was a quickly cobbled together mess best described as a "minor celebrity talk show meets Match of the Day." It was basically like a Fantasy Football for the metrosexual generation.
'Highlights' of the show included:
- The human World Cup wall chart - where unsuspecting members of the public appeared to have been pulled off the street, dressed in the kit of one of the 32 participating nations and made to sit in groups for just over a month. While the people representing bigger nations clearly got quite into it and were quite happy to be able to support someone other than the unexpectedly shit England, it was all clearly a bit embarrassing for the 'fans' of some teams making comments like: "Where actually is Honduras?", "Who am I again? Slovakia or Slovenia?" and "Isn't it just morally wrong to support North Korea?"
- Challenges for celebrity guests. Examples include: 'Heston Blumen-Cool or Heston Blumem-Fool?' or 'Uru-Guy or Uru-Girl?' and 'Joachim Löw or Joachim No?'
- Interviews and news from the England camp. Usually the questions asked had little to do with football and left you with a feeling that the players' time would've actually been spent training or working on tactics to make them less likely to do stupid things like play bore-draws with Algeria.
- Abigail Clancy (Blonde 32-24-35). She might be married to Peter Crouch these days, but you still would.
The show wasn't without its problems though. Chief amongst these were:
- Corden frequently claiming to love Diego Maradona . No Englishman loves Maradonna. It's hard to believe anyone loves such a liar, cheat and squanderer of natural talent and when people laugh at his decline into alcoholism, cocaine-depedance, obesity and eccentric mismanagement of the Argentine national team, it's fair to say people are laughing at Maradonna and not with him.
- Corden doesn't know much about football. This did prove a bit of a stumbling block when attempting to present a live World Cup TV Show or when interviewing some of the game's greatest legends.
- The show regularly featured James Corden dancing.
- The show was yet another frustrating media outlet for the wave of unjustified media optimism surrounding the England national team. England draw with the USA: It's a good start. England bore-draw with Algeria: Their destiny is still in their own hands. England 1 - 0 Slovenia. THEY'RE THROUGH! THIS IS BETTER THAN '66! ARISE SIR JERMAINE DEFOE!
- The show implied an undue level of excitement about the itself tournament, even after it quickly became apparent it was going to be the worst since Italia '90. With hindsight it's hard to believe anyone got excited about a tournament that sounded like the microphones were stuck in a beehive rather than a football stadium and a game with 2 goals was to be considered a goal-fest.
- It wasn't Fantasy Football.
- It was basically crap.
The show business route into football is not totally unheard of however. Mick McCarthy began his career as Bernie in Sesame Street, whilst Ian Holloway narrowly missed out on an Oscar for his portrayal of Smeagol in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This article more than once asserts that Gavin and Stacey was a women's TV show. If you are a man reading this and feel offended because you (and/or you friends) happened to like Gavin and Stacey - don't be. Like moisturising, male-waxing or phoning friends 'just to chat', it's perfectly acceptable to enjoy doing these things nowadays, with nothing implied about your masculinity or sexuality.