Hermione Norris: ‘It feels like the old Cold Feet is back’
The cast of the popular drama tell Georgia Humphreys what to expect in the new season
Rewind to 2016 and one of the most-loved comedy dramas made a triumphant comeback after a 13-year hiatus.
Yes, we’re talking about Cold Feet – the ITV show that follows a group of Manchester friends now in their 50s.
But what can we expect from series eight?
Here, James Nesbitt (who plays Adam), Hermione Norris (Karen), Robert Bathurst (David), Fay Ripley (Jenny) and John Thomson (Pete) tell us about the laughs and tears to come.
One of the big storylines already announced for this series is around Jenny being told she has breast cancer, so prepare yourself for some particularly emotional scenes.
“I wasn’t sure that it was the right story, initially, because I didn’t want it to be soapy,” Ripley, 52, recalls of first reading the script.
“People say to me: ‘Was it really hard?’ No, because I haven’t got breast cancer, of course it wasn’t hard. What’s hard is getting it right.”
The Londoner continues: “Because I know so many people who have breast cancer, or other kinds of cancer, I am aware that life goes on.
“You have a laugh, you go for dinner, you get your kids off to school. That was what I wanted it to be.”
Every time the cast revisits the show, they feel a “weight of responsibility to deliver something to the audience that they will love, and is true to Cold Feet”, says Londonborn Norris.
But she isn’t worried about this series at all, and reckons part of why these episodes are so strong is down to storylines involving all the characters.
“It feels like old Cold Feet is back,” the 51-year-old elaborates excitedly.
“We were all together working a lot as a group
– all of the storylines, and the journeys that we go on, impact everyone in the group. Everyone’s not off on different strands.”
Norris also reveals there’s a flashback in episode two to Adam’s wedding to Rachel, played by Helen Baxendale – long-time fans will remember Rachel’s tragic death in a car accident in series five.
“You see all of the characters – just for a moment – about 20 years ago, and that was quite a profound moment,” the actress explains.
“You see how young we all were and that really brought back that Blairite time of real hope and positivity.”
She even shed a tear watching it. “I was quite shocked, I thought: ‘Oh God, am I being over the top?’
“Then he said he did as well,” she says, while smiling at Thomson, who agrees he was “really choked up”.
Nesbitt, 53, felt it was right for the writers to focus on him dealing with acting his age in this series.
“Sometimes, for people who are in complete denial about things, they need a very big eye-opener. I think it comes, and it’s delivered through humour and pathos and embarrassment and awkwardness,” he says.
Indeed, watch out for some painfully cringey scenes between Adam and his son Matthew in the first episode.
Discussing his role further, the Northern Irish actor says: “I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s a TV programme and it doesn’t really matter, but in the last series, I felt that he’d lost a bit of his likeability.
“I think that was attached to his disconnect from the reality of who he’s supposed to be and what age he is.
“In this series, it’s addressed a bit more. He’s a bit more vulnerable.”
While it seems pretty clear David and Karen will not be getting back together, how they deal with each other is always an interesting element of Cold Feet.
As Bathurst, 61, puts it: “How possessive can you be with someone you’ve been married to or been out with?
“What right do you have... do you have any claim over them whatsoever?” continues the actor, who was born in west Africa but grew up in the UK.
In episode one, we see Pete putting himself in danger to save someone. And the aftermath of this becomes an ongoing storyline with some “tough” scenes to film, says 49-year-old Thomson.
The Salford-born actor also had some real-life struggles to deal with on set, as he was diagnosed with kidney stones and was really poorly.
“It wasn’t life-threatening,” he says, “but I’ve not been ill for 12 years, so it came as a massive shock to me.”
The actor ended up having two procedures during filming and was back at work after seven days.
There are other shows that have been rebooted, but not had the same success as Cold Feet – so what’s the secret?
“It’s a very different, eclectic bunch of people,” Norris says of their characters.
“All spectacularly flawed, dealing with life on life’s terms, journeying together.
“And you realise, when you get to my age, it’s all that there is at the end of the day – that connectivity.”
“All the journeys that we go on, impact everyone in the group”
● Cold Feet returns to ITV tonight at 9pm.
0 The Cold Feet cast have reunited for an eighth season