Robin Scott-Elliot: How Corden curse stops Britain's girls making a splash

View From The Sofa: Olympic Dreams, BBC

It is currently impossible to watch TV for any length of time without the ubiquitous James Corden looming into shot. The only broadcast that he has not featured in of late is the election debate, but there is still one to go and Smithy knows better than anyone how to build a better Britain having overseen Pam and Mick's conservatory construction project.

He appeared in Olympic Dreams last week because he is to be the centrepiece of the opening ceremony as well as the Games mascot and the Olympic Village before being converted into affordable homes for local people once the rest of the world has gone home (volcanoes allowing). He's not actually, not yet anyway, though popping up in a programme about synchronised swimming might seem even more unlikely.

He is, it turned out, part of the reason why Britain struggles to make an impact in the sport. In this country synchronised swimming is not taken seriously – like Craig Bellamy's analysis of the dollarisation of Central America, Alan Shearer's analysis on Match of the Day and Boris Johnson. Because we laugh at it, the powers that be in synchro apparently always mark our girls down, or so the programme seemed to imply. So Corden splashing around in a swimsuit and make-up is grist to those who want to wipe the fixed grin off the faces of Team GB.

But the bubbly pairing of Jenna Randall and Olivia Allison plugged on, and even broke into the world top 10 by the end of the half hour, having survived a bomb scare, performed in front of a group of bemused soldiers and slapped on enough make-up to make Quentin Crisp look fresh faced while all the time smiling in and out of the water, and under it too.

Whether they are any good or not, who knows, but what Olympic Dreams made plain is the commitment that anyone who wants to make it anywhere near London (Watford?) requires. Peter Reed and Andy Triggs Hodge already have one Olympic gold on their mantelpieces from the coxless four in Beijing, although judging by the chaotic nature of Triggs Hodge's life his is probably propping up the wobbly leg under the kitchen table.

They made an odd couple; Reed, meticulous in everything he did, was filmed by a giggling Triggs Hodge as he unpacked in yet another hotel room. So organised was Reed that he may well have had days of the week pants. If Triggs Hodge did he would have ended up with five Sundays, a Thursday, two sloganed, "you don't have to be mad to work here but it helps" and one thong.

Reed celebrated his birthday in training camp somewhere bleak and wet in Austria, as he had done for the previous few years. His present was to be shouted at by Jurgen Grobler, the mastermind behind Britain's success on the water and a man, with his villainous East German accent, who was born to play a Bond baddie, although since the latest film has been put on hold he has clearly taken the sensible career path.



The other athlete on the programme was Zoe Smith, a slender schoolgirl from east London who lifts weights. Her gymnastics coach was struck by her strength and suggested she switch sports – now she's on course to compete in 2012. Hers was the most diverting of the story strands thanks to her wide-eyed enthusiasm and struggles with pre-event nerves as she begins to make a name for herself in the frankly scary world of women's weightlifting, and all without a sign of Corden. As yet.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Designer

£32969 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Data Engineer

£35000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Data Engineer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence