Joining Cold Feet as Adam's landlady Tina last year, Leanne Best is now a fully-fledged member of the gang as Adam's other half. But it seems there's a rocky road ahead for the couple, as Leanne reveals...
Cold Feet star Leanne Best on why Tina is a dream role and making her famous uncle proud…
When TV Times calls actress Leanne Best for a chat, things get off to an amusing start. “I thought you might be one of those random call centres, so I was gonna pick up the phone and politely ask you to stop calling,” jokes Leanne, 37, who’s currently gracing our screens as likeable Tina Reynolds in ITV drama Cold Feet.
Liverpool-born Leanne made her Cold Feet debut last series as Tina, landlady to Adam, played by James Nesbitt. As the pair became an item, Leanne was thrilled to be asked back as a series regular this time round. “It’s lovely the audience thought there was mileage for Tina and Adam,” she says. “So I’m chuffed I got to go back and have another crack at it.”
This series, Tina and Adam have been happily cohabiting – they’ve even talked about making babies! Their relationship hit a rocky patch recently, though, when someone from Tina’s past posted revenge porn of her online. And, according to Leanne, things are set to get a lot more complicated…
What do you like most about playing Tina? Are you anything like her?
“Tina wasn’t sitting around waiting for Prince Charming, so falling head-over-heels in love with Adam was almost a bit inconvenient. People always ask me whether I enjoy playing strong women, like it’s an oddity. All the women I know are strong – but they’re also vulnerable, messy, romantic and unsure of things. That’s what I love about Tina – she’s a little ball of contradiction and we’re all a bit like that. I’d definitely go for a drink with our Tina!”
Can you give us any hints about what the future holds for Tina and Adam’s relationship?
“Just as Tina and Adam were trying to work out if they could commit to a life together, the sex tape featuring Tina emerged. Because of the pressures of the tape, Tina and Adam disconnect in a way they haven’t before – it leaves the door open for a ‘fox in the chicken coop’, shall we say…”
Love’s young(ish) dream… Will it all end in tears for Tina and Adam?
Twenty years ago, James Nesbitt famously bared his bum as Adam, and we’ve seen him in all his glory again this series. What was that scene like to film?
“It was hilarious! There were about 20 people in the room and Jimmy’s standing there starkers! I ended up howling with laughter because it was so ludicrous. It certainly wasn’t a bad day at work – I just kept thinking: ‘How will I explain this to my mother?'”
What’s it like working with James and the Cold Feet gang?
“Jimmy’s so skilful, knowledgeable and just a great actor, so it’s a pleasure working with him. Last year, I was the landlady over the hall, so most of my scenes were in the hall or in Tina’s flat with Jimmy, so I could go days or weeks without seeing any of the other cast, but they’d always give me a tinkle if they were going out for dinner. So it’s been lovely this year to actually have scenes with Hermione [Norris] and Fay [Ripley], who are just brilliant, brilliant women. We’ve had a few little nights out, too!”
All of the Cold Feet gang together (L-R): Robert Bathurst, Fay Ripley, James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, John Thomson and Leanne Best
As well as Cold Feet, you’ve enjoyed TV success in Tin Star, Home Fires and Line of Duty. It seems there’s no stopping you…
“I only got into acting because I didn’t know what to do with my life! I just thought I’d be a professional backpacker. I went to drama school but I had no idea why I was there or whether I’d ever work. But I worked a bit and, in recent years, I’ve done some really nice telly. Before, when people recognised me, they’d say: ‘You’re the girl who was in that thing’. Now it’s: ‘You’re Tina from Cold Feet!'”
Your uncle is none other than the ‘fifth Beatle’, Pete Best. Is he proud of you?
“All my family watched me struggle for years, so they’re just happy now that I’m working and I know I’m fortunate to be doing this job. But I’m not musical at all – Pete’s an amazing musician, my dad’s a fantastic musician and I just let the side down terribly!”
The ‘original’ Beatles… (L-R): George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney, John Lennon
You’ve been nominated for Favourite Newcomer (Cold Feet) in the TV Times Awards 2017. Why should people vote for you?
“Well, I don’t have that many prizes, so I always love a prize. It’s lovely that people like Tina and I’ve never underestimated, with a show like Cold Feet, how it’s almost a public service to do a good job. So if people feel I did a good job for them and want to vote that would make me really happy.”
What’s next for you?
“I’ve just done a short film called Cotton Wool made by an amazing filmmaker called Nicholas Connor, who’s just 17 years’ old. I got this script through about a single mum who has a stroke and cried my eyes out reading it. Then I was on the way to a meeting with Nick when the producer rang me and said: ‘I think we should tell you he’s only 17’, like they were worried his age would put me off.
“But I was just so impressed that this kid from the North of England is writing and directing these short films. I’m in another film with Annette Benning and Jamie Bell, which is out in October. Then I’ve got some lovely stuff floating around at the end of the year, but that’s all I can say.”
Any roles you’d like to play?
“Oh, I’ve got about 90 million of them. I just love working – I know this is an uncertain profession and there might be a time again where I’m like: ‘Jesus, is the phone gonna ring?’ So I really appreciate being in work – it’s never lost on me, put it that way. I just always try to do my best and trust my instincts. I’m really looking forward to what’s next.”
Cold Feet continues Fridays at 9pm on ITV.