Warming to the idea:
Why James Nesbitt returned to Cold Feet.
J ames Nesbitt would be the first to admit that for a long time he fought against the idea of reviving the hit British drama series Cold Feet last year. It had last been broadcast in 2003, and the actor felt Cold Feet should remain cold in the earth. The popular Northern Irish actor, who plays the twinkly Adam in Mike Bullen’s show about the vacillating fortunes of five close friends (played by Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Fay Ripley, John Thomson and Robert Bathurst), confesses that, “I’d always resisted bringing Cold Feet back. “I didn’t want to revisit something and go along that well-trodden path where things are resurrected and then don’t have the strength, innovation or the voice they had originally.” But Nesbitt says the moment he opened Bullen’s script, he changed his mind. “When I read the scripts, I thought they were very good. We slotted back into it really well but there was no complacency.” Even once they had made the new series, Nesbitt says the cast felt a huge burden of expectation to live up to past glories. “We did feel under pressure.” But they needn’t have worried. Viewers flocked back to reacquaint themselves with these five well-loved characters. It was like greeting the return of old friends. According to Nesbitt, “The reaction was obviously very gratifying. “It was lovely that people took to it. The filming process was such an enjoyable one last year. We were all hoping it would go down well with viewers because we wanted to do it again. And we’re very grateful the audience reacted in the way it did
to the return of Cold Feet.”
So, with the pressure now over, Cold Feet is back for a second series in its new incarnation. All the characters are facing new developments in their lives, with varying degrees of success.
For his part, Adam is still in the throes of romantic bliss with his landlady Tina (Leanne Best). He is a man who is in love with being in love.
Nesbitt explains that, “Adam is eternally romantic. To be a real hopeless romantic, you also have to be a bit reckless. Romance is actually about recklessness as well. To make those great romantic gestures does involve a certain recklessness. I think that’s what is exciting about it.”
As the past has demonstrated, though, when Adam is at his most contented, he is also at his most vulnerable. Nesbitt, who has also starred in such well-regarded work as The Hobbit, Bloody Sunday, The Missing, Murphy’s Law, Occupation, Five Minutes Of Heaven and Jekyll, reflects that at the start of this series, “Adam is pretty happy, in a fairly good place.
“But history has shown us the minute Adam is content, he begins to look for reasons to not be content. There has to be some kind of conflict, some element of danger, guilt, self-loathing or tomfoolery about him for Adam to function.”
The 52-year-old actor continues that, “The question of children comes up in this new series. Adam is a man of 50 faced with that question, ‘What’s next? Is there a next? Or am I just biding my time?’
“It’s that middle-aged angst which a lot of people will recognise. I think that’s with him always. Especially so for someone who has been youthful all of his life. The older he gets, the harder it is to reconcile his advancing years with that instinct of wanting to be 17 again.”
One of the reasons for the perennial success of Cold Feet – which was first broadcast 20 years ago – is that at its heart it is about the lasting power of friendship.
“I think friendships do endure,” Nesbitt says. “My life is certainly like that. It’s not a lot of time since I wrapped Cold Feet with my friends. There’s five of us who have been friends now for a long time.”
As the revival of Cold Feet has done so well, would Nesbitt like to continue making it?
“If that’s what the audience wants, I think it would be very unlikely that the cast wouldn’t want that, too. We’ve certainly loved making it. This new series is more of life. Five, six ordinary people leading rather extraordinary lives at times – which is exactly what people are doing as you and I speak right now.
“Where there is dysfunction, there is also function. Where there is love, there is pain. Where there is romance, there is recklessness. And I think Cold Feet is all of that.”
“It’s that middle-aged angst which a lot of people will recognise.” – James Nesbitt on Cold Feet
P14. James Nesbitt from Cold Feet