James Corden is a bit ubiquitous on British TV. After gaining initial prominence with the stage show and subsequent film History Boys, playing the Gary Barlow-type in boy band Take That parody Boyz Unlimited, the TV series Fat Friends, and the co-written blockbuster of a show Gavin & Stacey, he became a bit of a star.
And so that stardom was exploited with less than stellar received projects such as sketch show Horne & Corden, Lesbian Vampire Killers with a couple of positive blips on Doctor Who. But his chat show and late night partying antics didn't exactly endear him to the public and dashed his moves to becoming a national treasure, to a bit of a national annoyance. And his Tony winning One Man Two Guv'nors just wasn't seen by enough people to make a dent. So with the expected news that he is moving to take Craig Ferguson's role on the Late Late Show in the US has seen some wave goodbye to him as we did, say, Piers Morgan, with warnings to Americans…
But I think that's unfair and incredibly short sighted. See, I've worked with James Cordon, principally on a long running series of adverts for British multimedia store HMV. And found him a hard-working creative type who will go the extra mile to get the job done, with no prima donna attitude at all. So when we needed him to be out of breath for a take, he decided to add extra veritas by taking his not inconsiderable frame up and down the studio stairs about twenty times, to return to the studio to give a very impressive read indeed. The Nintendo Wii Fit never sounded more impressive.
Because that's the James Corden I saw. A generous individual, happy to knock himself down to get the best result. The man who co-wrote one of the best sitcoms in recent years that made him look an uncouth, lazy, drunk, waste of space, unable to grow up.
But that's now Corden. Given this opportunity, I believe he has the chance to do great things. Maybe he needs to reinvent himself with a new, unfamiliar, audience. And if British folk are saying "good riddance", well, I don't think we know what we're losing here.
Good luck, James.