As comedy drama Cold Feet returns to ITV this week, we chatted to its stars James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Robert Bathurst, John Thomson and Fay Ripley about life, love and why the show's still a hit 20 years on...
The cast of comedy drama Cold Feet reveal that life is no barrel of laughs for our five 50-something friends…
After a 13-year absence, comedy drama Cold Feet made its long-awaited return to our screens last year. And as soon as we’d been reacquainted with the exploits of those five mates from Manchester – Adam (James Nesbitt), David (Robert Bathurst), Karen (Hermione Norris), Jenny (Fay Ripley) and Pete (John Thomson) – it was like these much-loved characters had never been away.
With the series pulling in over seven million viewers on ITV, there was no doubt that fans wanted more. So they’ll be delighted to hear that, to mark 20 years since the very first episode aired, Cold Feet is back for its seventh series next week.
“It was heartwarming for us to know that an audience that had been away from these characters for years had just accepted them straight back into their lives,” says James, 52, who returns as unlucky-in-love Adam. “It proved that people still love these characters, and can relate to their stories and the issues they have.”
As TV Times sits down to chat to James, Robert, Karen, Fay and John, we discover there are plenty more trials and tribulations ahead for the fab five this time round…
James, what’s happening with Adam as the series begins? Is he blissfully happy with his landlady Tina (Leanne Best)?
James: “At the end of the last series it definitely looked like Adam and Tina were going to get together, so I suppose Adam’s now settled… as much as he ever can be! Adam’s very focused on his relationship at the beginning – but it doesn’t necessarily go as smoothly as it might…”
What’s Adam relationship like now with his teenage son, Matthew (Cel Spellman)? And is it true that Adam longs for another child?
James: “Adam’s relationship with Matthew is now pretty good. He’s clearly made mistakes as a father but I think he can try and learn from them. Adam is properly 50 this year [after last year’s 50th party when he was only turning 49!] and that’s a huge question that many men face – at what age do you still consider yourself in the game of fatherhood?”
Hermione, last series ended with Karen rejecting two marriage proposals: one from ex David, the other from lover Eddie Zubayr (Art Malik). Is there romance on the cards this time?
Hermione: “Well, there is someone… but that’s a bit further down the line. Karen’s focus this time is on her fledgling publishing company. Karen’s former nanny Ramona (Jacey Salles) is her PA and everywhere you look there’s just drama. It’s not really working that well. For Karen, it’s about being able to juggle her work with her kids – the problems teenagers present and the pressure of it all. It all kind of ‘kicks off’ with Karen’s daughters a bit – and then it’s about how she copes with all that.”
How’s Karen getting on with David? Does he help her with her struggles?
Hermione: “He does actually. He’s kind and steps up to the plate a bit this year. There’s always mileage for Karen and David; there always is for any couple that have had children together. But, romantically, he’s off into pastures new…”
Robert, we saw David get thrown in prison last series, over a fraudulent business deal. Does he manage to sort his life out?
Robert: “David certainly got into a few scrapes last year and he gets into some scrapes again, usually as a result of his poor judgement. Circumstances crowd in on him and he finds himself again at the sharp end of things, which are out of his control.”
Happy Valley’s Siobhan Finneran joins the cast as Nikki Kirkbright, a Cheshire housewife, who ‘forms a bond’ with David. What more can you tell us?
Robert: “All I can say is that there are major complications in that relationship, which both David and Nikki have to deal with. How far that relationship goes, who knows, but it highlights that things aren’t always simple and I think those dilemmas are always really well drawn in this show.”
John, viewers were gripped by Pete’s battle with depression last series, which drove him to almost take his own life. Is he still struggling with his mental health?
John: “Well, he’s taking his medication and he seems to be doing alright and it’s almost like he’s had some sort of awakening as a result of his depression. He’s developed this altruistic streak where he’s not happy just to work for cash and he’s found solace in helping the elderly at an old people’s home. But because he’s not bringing in any decent money, it means wife Jenny is having to concentrate on her career, which kind of upsets the apple cart…”
Fay: “Jenny’s work is on the up and she’s feeling like the world is potentially her oyster. Pete’s not quite up to speed with Jenny’s vision of her future, though. He’s just grateful that he’s finally coping with life and he doesn’t want to rock the boat. Unfortunately, Jenny DOES want to rock the boat – she’s not seeing life in a tracksuit, she’s very much wearing a kitten heel!”
John, what response did you get from the public to Pete’s depression storyline?
John: “The response was incredible, especially on social media. I couldn’t believe how frank and open people were, saying things like: ‘I’ve struggled with depression for years, you portrayed what I’m going through so realistically, so I’m now taking steps to sort myself out’. One guy told me: ‘I’ve been feeling near suicidal for a few months and I’ve finally decided to see my doctor’. I was truly overwhelmed.”
Can you all believe it’s 20 years this year since the very first episode of Cold Feet aired?
James: “Cold Feet has been so good to us for the past 20 years – it features very largely on the canvas of all our careers. I think the strongest testament to the show is that, 20 years on from the pilot episode, we’re all still very interested in doing it, we all still enjoy being together and people still seem to enjoy watching it. So I think that’s reason enough to celebrate.”
Fay: “The 20th anniversary thing just reminds us of how flippin’ old we all are! No, seriously, it’s a reminder of how well we know each other – we’ve actually all been friends now for more like 23 years. We’re like family… warts and all!”
Cold Feet returns on Friday September 8 at 9pm on ITV.