Warm welcome for the return of comedy-drama Cold Feet

The comedy-drama is back for its eighth series and there are some huge storylines in store. The much-loved cast tell Georgia Humphreys more about the return of the drama.

Rewind to 2016 and one of the most-loved comedy dramas made a triumphant comeback after a 13-year hiatus.

Cold Feet cast: (L-R) John Thomson as Pete Gifford, James Nesbitt as Adam Williams, Fay Ripley as Jenny Gifford, Hermione Norris as Karen Marsden and Robert Bathurst as David Marsden. Picture: ITV/ PA.

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.

JENNY’S HEALTH BATTLES

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.

“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.”

Has it made her think about her own health more?

“I’m completely terrified,” she admits.“One in three is not great odds, actually, and I’m constantly thinking: ‘Who’s next?’ I’m not saying it’s right to live like that, but I definitely catastrophise.”

EXPECT MORE GROUP SCENES

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 London-born 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.”

TIME TO GROW 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.

COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIPS

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.

Bathurst teases David’s reaction to any potential romances for Karen will no doubt be entertaining.

“The playground never leaves people... obsessions and diversions and distractions often play with people in later life,” he adds.

DRAMATIC MOMENTS

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, but instead of the recommended recovery time, he was back at work after seven days.

He insists it did not even cross his mind to have more time off, but was “exhausted” when they finished filming.

Thomson says: “I’ve never been more tired. I had to play catch up for all the things I missed.

“So I was in every scene, every day, for two weeks. And they’re 12 hours, so that’s a lot.”

RELATABLE CHARACTERS

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 proudly notes 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.

“I think the beauty of the writing is we pick topics that most people can relate to, at some time in their life,” chips in Thomson. “And we have just enough fantasy in it to pay that off, whereas some things go big in the fantasy side of things and people can’t identify with it.”

Cold Feet returns to ITV next Monday.


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