‘It’s just like Old timesõ

TV Times - - Drama Revival - Caren Clark

In Manch­ester, the stars of Cold Feet tell TV Times about the most an­tic­i­pated screen re­u­nion of 2016…

n ex­cited TV Times stands in an unas­sum­ing street in Manch­ester, ready for the big­gest come­back in re­cent TV his­tory.

Yes, af­ter 13 years away and con­stant spec­u­la­tion about whether we’d ever see charmer Adam, up­tight David, no-non­sense Karen and bick­er­ing Pete and Jenny again, iconic com­edy-drama Cold Feet is re­turn­ing to ITV.

We’re out­side the home of

Pete and Jenny, played by John

AThom­son and Fay Ri­p­ley. As James Nes­bitt and Robert Bathurst, aka Adam and David, knock on their door, dressed in nifty cy­cling gear, and John emerges in a rather lurid num­ber, the gang fall about laugh­ing. See­ing them to­gether, it’s like they’ve never been away, but it’s nearly 20 years since we first took the close-knit group to our hearts in the 1997 pi­lot episode.

Five se­ries fol­lowed and

Cold Feet won the pres­ti­gious Golden Rose of Mon­treux TV award, pos­si­bly partly thanks to James’s in­fa­mous rose­be­tween-the-but­tocks scene.

Al­though a twinkly-eyed

James as­sures us he won’t be re­vis­it­ing that par­tic­u­lar mo­ment in the new eight-part se­ries, penned again by cre­ator Mike Bullen, the cast are de­lighted by the buzz sur­round­ing the show’s re­turn.

‘There’s still a pub­lic de­mand for it; not a week has gone by in the last 13 years when some stranger hasn’t asked me, “When is Cold Feet com­ing back?”,’ en­thuses John, 47. ‘The world’s not in a great place, so there’s a need for nos­tal­gia.’

‘Peo­ple are so ex­cited,’ agrees Fay, 50. ‘It’s crazy. We didn’t think it would ac­tu­ally hap­pen, so I didn’t need con­vinc­ing, other than to be re­as­sured that it wasn’t a prac­ti­cal joke! Then I said, “Bril­liant, bet­ter brush up on my north­ern ac­cent!”’

Hermione Nor­ris, 49, who plays Karen, was ini­tially wor­ried that the show’s pre­vi­ous suc­cess couldn’t be repli­cated.

‘My first re­sponse was, “That’s a ter­ri­ble idea”,’ she laughs. ‘I thought it was best left, so that we didn’t undo what we’d done be­fore. Then I re­alised that Cold Feet was al­ways about iden­ti­fy­ing with the char­ac­ters’ flaws and it could be in­ter­est­ing to see the is­sues that later life brings up. Then I thought, “Bring it on!”’

The open­ing episode sees Adam re­turn from work­ing in Sin­ga­pore with a big an­nounce­ment. Our lips are sealed about ex­actly what’s in store for the quin­tet, but they’re now in their fifties and fac­ing a new range of mid­dle-aged prob­lems.

‘They’re older but not wiser – they’ve al­ways been rub­bish at life,’ smiles Robert, 59. ‘We’re no longer young thrusters, we’re dented by ex­pe­ri­ence – and some of us have learned from it bet­ter than oth­ers.’

The new run in­tro­duces some fresh but top-se­cret char­ac­ters – played by James Bo­lam, Robert Webb, Leanne Best and Art Ma­lik – but the orig­i­nal cast were keen for the show to stick to its roots and main­tain the blend of hu­mour and tragedy that made it so spe­cial.

‘We all had fears, be­cause Cold Feet was the most im­por­tant job any of us ever had, so we’re tak­ing a risk,’ ad­mits James, 51. ‘But we’re try­ing not to for­get the DNA that made it so pop­u­lar. They were like you, so when you see these old friends again now, it’s easy to ac­cept them. Hav­ing the other char­ac­ters, too, means it feels like a fa­mil­iar show, but with some­thing new added.’

Sadly ab­sent is Adam’s wife Rachel (He­len Bax­en­dale), who fa­mously died af­ter a car crash in the fifth se­ries. There are nos­tal­gic nods to her in this run, and newcomer Ceal­lach Spell­man, 21, plays Rachel and Adam’s trou­bled teenage son, Matthew.

‘I loved work­ing with

He­len and we were very close,’ says James. ‘I shot a lit­tle scene the other day out­side Adam and Rachel’s old house and I found it re­ally mov­ing.’

For the rest of the cast, re­viv­ing their pre­vi­ous dy­namic has been sur­pris­ingly ef­fort­less – even though, just like their char­ac­ters, their own lives have changed hugely since Cold Feet gave most of them their big break.

‘It’s a bit like a school re­u­nion,’ smiles Fay. ‘But ev­ery­one slots back into the same sense of hu­mour. I’m still telling the same jokes, so that’s easy!’

‘I was 28 when we first started, so it was a rite of pas­sage,’ adds John. ‘One of the beau­ties of the se­ries is that we forged friend­ships off cam­era, and it shows. There was an epiphany mo­ment when Jimmy, Robert and I were in the pub film­ing and we laughed and said, “It’s just like old times!”’

New com­edy-drama Cold Feet mon­day / itv / 9.00Pm

Pete Gif­ford John Thom­son

Then af­ter di­vorc­ing Jenny in se­ries four, adam’s best friend mar­ried aussie Jo (Kim­ber­ley Joseph) but they split when he found she had cheated on him. now Pete and Jenny have re­united. He’s work­ing as a cab­bie and a carer but fam­ily and fi­nan­cial trou­bles lie ahead… ‘Pete is strug­gling to make ends meet,’ re­veals John. ‘He’s not in a good place and it’s a real test for his fam­ily. He has to find a way of right­ing it all.’ Adam Wil­liams James Nes­bitt

Then The wise-crack­ing IT worker left Manch­ester with his baby son Matthew fol­low­ing wife rachel’s death. now The wid­ower re­turns from Sin­ga­pore, but can he build bridges with Matthew, who has been away at board­ing school?

‘adam’s spent a lot of time try­ing to get away from the pain of rachel’s death,’ says James. ‘He’s come back to see what the fu­ture is with

Matthew.’ as they were, with rachel (He­len Bax­en­dale, cen­tre)

Jenny Gif­ford Fay Ri­p­ley Then Fol­low­ing her di­vorce from Pete, forth­right Jenny went to New york but re­turned heav­ily preg­nant by an­other man. now Jenny and Pete are rais­ing their teenage son, adam, and her daugh­ter, chloe, who is un­aware that Pete’s not her dad… ‘Jenny’s an­gry about tak­ing the strain,’ ex­plains Fay. ‘I think she and Pete are both strug­gling with

demons.’ Karen marsden

Hermione Nor­ris

Then af­ter split­ting from david, the re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic was left rais­ing their three chil­dren. now Still sin­gle, Karen fo­cuses on her ca­reer and her kids. ‘There hasn’t been much of a love life but there may be now,’ teases Hermione. ‘She’s a point of con­tact for Matthew and man­ages her own kids’ re­la­tion­ship

with david.’

Peo­ple are so ex­cited; it’s crazy. I didn’t need con­vinc­ing, other than to be re­as­sured that it wasn’t

a prac­ti­cal joke! fay ri­p­ley david marsden

Robert Bathurst

Then Karen’s ex-hus­band started see­ing his di­vorce lawyer robyn (Lucy robin­son). now The fi­nan­cial ad­viser is mar­ried to prickly robyn, but he has some big de­ci­sions to make that could have dark con­se­quences… ‘david’s judge­ment is not quite what it should be,’ says robert. ‘Karen is still part of his life but whether there’s a deep­en­ing of the

re­la­tion­ship is yet to be re­vealed.’ adam and his son Matthew (ceal­lach Spell­man) need

to start again The re­turn­ing five fiftysome­things look for­ward to grow­ing old dis­grace­fully Cold Feet is pre­viewed on pages 50-51

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