The rise and rise of James Corden in TV moments
It’s impossible for you not to have noticed this guy over the last 15 years. This blond-haired, blue-eyed lad is every celebrity’s best friend and everyone else’s imaginary best friend. James Corden has become one of the most talked about personalities on television and is a powerhouse of entertainment.
Born in 1978 in Buckinghamshire to your average British family, James was chasing the spotlight from a young age. He first appeared on stage when he was 18, and by the time he was 21 he was part of Boyz Unlimited – a TV comedy satirising the music industry.
Eagle-eyed fans might also remember James’ appearance in the controversial Tango adverts. This gig was short-lived as critics claimed the advert glorified the bullying of overweight children and so it was banned soon after airing.
In 2000 Corden joined the cast of Fat Friends and appeared as Jamie in the show for its entire four series run. He starred alongside Ruth Jones, Alison Steadman and Sheridan Smith who would be joining him in the not too distant future in…
After starring in the award-winning play and film adaptation of The History Boys, Corden struck gold with Gavin and Stacey. The idea came to him at a wedding reception and was based on the story of his real life friend Gavin who had met his wife over the phone and arranged to meet her. The comedy initially aired on BBC Three and throughout its three series it travelled across to BBC Two, finally ending on BBC One.
Written by and starring Corden and Ruth Jones, it told the story of an Essex family and a Welsh family coming together through the relationship of the title characters. The beauty of the series lay in its undeniably British humour coupled with a huge dose of heart. The casting was fantastic and the characters so true to life everybody was able to pick out the “Pam” or “Bryn” in their social circle.
James brought best friend “Smithy” to life and became an honorary national treasure in the process.
Straddling the last series of Gavin and Stacey, Corden made three memorable appearances as Smithy outside of the show. Appearing in sketches for Sport Relief and Comic Relief, Smithy took his chance to give the England football team a pep talk in 2009, showed off his coaching skills in 2010 and rallied up some celebrities to visit Africa in 2011.
Just sit back and watch David Beckham try and hold it together.
Try and figure out if these sports personalities have any idea what’s going on.
Here’s Smithy encouraging volunteers to visit Africa. Remember when Gordon Brown was our Prime Minister?
Indulging his love of sport, James took on his first regular hosting role on Sky sports show A League of Their Own in 2010. Featuring captains Jamie Redknapp and Freddie Flintoff, the show has been described as “A Question of Sport for idiots” – essentially a whole load of fun. A three-year contract was signed in 2014 so we have been promised more comedy gold like this…
Corden showed off his acting chops once more in two episodes of Doctor Who, displaying real chemistry with Matt Smith and giving us an unforgettable performance as an ordinary guy taken on an extraordinary adventure.
2012 saw Corden treading the boards again with a headline-grabbing performance in One Man, Two Guvnors in London’s West End. His energetic, slapstick and charismatic portrayal earned him a Tony award after the show had transferred to Broadway.
In September 2014 James was announced as the new host of The Late Late Show, taking over from Craig Fergurson. CBS took a huge risk in hiring a relatively unknown Brit to sit at the helm of an immensely popular late night chat show. Luckily, their gamble paid off. James’ natural charm and genuine interest in his guests make for a comforting and entertaining show.
Tom Hanks was a guest on the show’s debut night and in true Tom Hanks style, he nailed it.
Giving the show his own touch, Corden and his team brought many new segments along including “Carpool Karaoke”. What James and the production team did not anticipate was that in a crazily saturated digital market, they had hit the jackpot.
Inspired by the Comic Relief segment in which “Smithy” sings along to George Michael’s songs with George Michael, the Late Late team rightly thought that there was something magical about seeing a singer enjoy their own music. Guests so far have included Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Justin Bieber (twice), cementing this feature as an iconic part of the show. The most recent video, featuring Brit queen Adele has over 57 million views on YouTube.
We hope we haven’t lost James to the US forever, but wherever his career takes him next, rest assured we will be watching.
You can watch clips of The Late Late Show with James Corden at the YouTube channel here.