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

The Scotsman - - Features -

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

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