Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, James Hammerton, John Lynch
Director: Peter Howitt
Year of release: 1998
Harmless rom-com with a twist.
Helen Quilley gets fired from her PR job and runs to catch her train home. Her future hangs on whether she makes it through the tube's sliding doors or if she gets left on the platform,
The story then follows her two possible futures - If she makes the train, she meets the charming James (who happens to be a rower) and catches her boyfriend Gerry in bed with his ex-girlfriend, Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn). If she misses the train, she doesn't meet James, and Gerry's affair continues under her nose.
The two Helens diverge dramatically as in one life, she finds a successful career, a new haircut, and a new boyfriend in James while the other Helen is left making sandwiches and waitressing to support Gerry, who is supposedly writing a novel (while really carrying on with Lydia).
The first rowing shot we see is when the Helen who caught the train, is throwing her ring in the Thames from the Albert bridge (the pink one near Battersea that hardly anyone ever rows under), when a four goes past in the background.
Later on there's a race between Cygnet and what looks like a UL crew and lots of drunken post race revelry in the Blue Anchor.
Although a lot of the rowing action was filmed around Hammersmith, John Hannah's crew were taken from UL, IC, Vesta and Cygnet.
John Hannah hadn't rowed previously and was given some coaching by Julie Newens followed by an outing in a Cygnet eight.
The cygnet website gives an insight into their selection for the role
"There are two stories behind our club's selection as the "opposition" crew in the film Sliding Doors. The first and, let's face it, most likely is that the director (Peter Howitt) was flicking through a catalogue of rowing club's kit and colours and he loved our double blue hoops so much that we were selected.
The second, which can't be true, is that they first went to IC but they didn't look like "real people" (all over two metres with flat stomachs and their own teeth). Aha!, thought Mr. Howitt, Cygnet are slow, fat, bald and gummy - just what I need. And so it came to pass that a rag-tag and bobtail crew from Cygnet took part in a couple of days rowing, filming, singing and drinking (all on expenses), and earned the club a few hundred quid in the process.
Want to see us? Then buy it from Amazon you tight git. Arse.
The following has since been received from the Horse's Mouth (as it were). "The story with Cygnet's selection for this defining 'rowed movie' was that they needed a crew to make John Hannah look (comparatively) young, thin and handsome. Judge for yourself from the attached cast photo. Note the warm affection between Gwyneth and Chris Shea (left of Miss Paltrow). It was no surprise to us when she chucked Brad Pitt the week after!"
The Cygnet participants were: Ritchie Brookes, Ian Stevenson, Anthony Forsythe, Steve Keating, Toby Haggith, Chris Shea, Jason Harris, Mark Davies, Steve Morgan, Andy Rawkins, Pat O'Connor and Alan Cox.