‘It’s just like Old timesõ
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!”’
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
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
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
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