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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy