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A look back on highs, lows and laughter; The good and bad of showbusiness life is exposed in James Corden's new autobiography. He spoke to SARAH O'MEARA.

Byline: SARAH O'MEARA

SOUNDING nothing like alter ego Smithy from Gavin and Stacey, 33-year-old James Corden says quietly: "The person I look back on, two-and-a-half years ago, I don't really recognise as me."

Remembering times of partying, ignoring calls from his family and being rude to his agent, he's embarrassed about letting the hype go to his head.

"I was heartbroken and a little bit famous ... and that's a bad mix," he says, allowing a grin to break through the introspection, which is prompted by his autobiography, May I Have Your Attention, Please? The past decade has been a "rollercoaster", Corden admits. After landing a part in West End musical Martin Guerre at 17, he starred in ITV's Fat Friends (where he met Gavin And Stacey writing partner R1uth Jones), was cast in Alan Bennett's The History Boys and then created and starred in Gavin And Stacey.

The final episode in 2010 pulled in 10 million viewers. Backstage, though, as television's chubby golden boy explains, he wasn't happy.

Riding high on professional success, when mediocrity hit it was a bitter blow. His sketch show Horne & Corden, debut film Lesbian Vampire Killers and even James Corden's World Cup Live were slated. And Corden is honest about the reasons.

"Trying to write a TV show, or be in things and be good, and going out all the time, are mutually exclusive. You just can't do them both.

"You feel like you can, because you're still handing in the work - it's just not very good."

As well as the heady rewards of fame, Corden was also struggling with being single after a nine-year relationship finished in 2007 and his Gavin and Stacey co-star Sheridan Smith ended their "turbulent" affair two years later. So Corden rented a flat with Mamma Mia's Dominic Cooper and his socialising took on an epic quality.

"At one point, for about two weeks, all Dom and I had in the fridge was some vodka, a bottle of pink vitamin water and a Lindt chocolate bunny," he writes.

Soon conscience and family came to the fore. "I was aware I'd been on a rollercoaster. But I didn't realise lots of people who cared about me had been on it too.

"It's only speaking to my mum now and she'll go, 'Oh my God, we were worried about you'. I'd drifted so far away from the boy they had raised."

Corden set out to turn his life around and it worked.

He's in a steady relationship with charity worker Julia, has the lead in One Man Two Guvnors, transferring to the West End, and is the proud father of six-month-old Max.

One steadfast friend is Ruth Jones. "She's the most amazing company, coupled with an incredible creative mind." Corden is still learning to reconcile the highs and lows of his career, but he looks slimmer and admits to having a personal trainer.

Moving from deep reflection to laughter in a blink, he says his love of sandwiches could be his downfall.

"Sandwiches are amazing - they make me believe in God. The trouble with training sessions is they make me think: Well I've done training today, I can have a sandwich."

James will sign copies of May I Have Your Attention, Please? (Century, pounds 18.99) at Waterstone's, Newcastle, at 12.30pm on October 27.

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CITY VISIT James Corden will be signing copies of his book in Newcastle
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2011
Words:568
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