Why you should (still) be watching Cold Feet
James R | On 12, Jan 2020
Cold Feet returns for Season 9 on Monday 13th January – a sentence that several years ago, you would never expect to read. But with ITV’s rebooted incarnation of its smash hit drama from the 1990s still going, we break down why you should (still) be watching.
1. Time’s gone by
“Have you lost weight?” “No. Have you got more hair?” “No.”
From Gilmore Girls and Full House to The X-Files, TV reboots and reunions are so 2010s. The prospect of Cold Feet, which first aired 20 odd years ago in 1997 (when Tony Blair won the election to become Prime Minister), coming back sounds like this reunion business has gotten out of control. But Season 6 (and Season 7) of Cold Feet turn out to be absolutely smashing. Written once again by Mike Bullen, he catches up with Adam (James Nesbitt), Pete (Robert Bathurst), Jenny (Fay Ripley), David (John Thomson) and Karen (Hermione Norris) like they’ve never been away. Except, of course, they have – and those 33 episodes and five seasons from decades past can be felt behind each gesture and glance.
2. The cast
A reunion wouldn’t work without a group of people happy to hang out with each other, and the cast ease back into their roles superbly, from Bathurst and Ripley’s married couple, still sticking it out after renewing their vows, to Norris and Thomson’s divorced partners, still stuck in each other’s lives seemingly for years to come. James Nesbitt emerges as the central figure to hold it all together, and his youthful, buoyant presence, despite his age, is perfectly pitched to balance the show’s simultaneously sad and jubilant tone.
3. The drama
Revisiting characters can lead to frustrating retreads of old plot lines, but a generation on, our characters are facing new challenges. In Season 6, Nesbitt’s Adam returns to Manchester after several years of working in Singapore – and even more years after the death of his wife, Rachel – and is assessing whether to get married once more. With that, meanwhile, comes the difficulty of reconnecting with his son – the kind of inter-generational conflict that’s now par for the course of our ensemble, who approach theirs and each other’s problems with the wariness (and possible wisdom) of life experience. By Season 8, Adam finds himself back on the singles market and, in an attempt to prove he’s still got his mojo, puts himself into a position that’s wonderfully, painfully embarrassing for his son.
5. The laughs
Needless to say, our characters still don’t know everything about everything, and that learning curve only becomes more poignant as they age and their relationships (and baggage) become more complex. But through the drama shines the same humour that made Cold Feet a hit back in its heyday. The quartet’s chemistry is still pin-point sharp, and the witty back-and-forth dialogue that became a signature style of the programme (arguably influencing every ensemble-comedy drama since) us still as rapid and amusingly delivered as ever. One laugh-out-loud sequence opens Season 8 involving a canal and The Bee Gees – need we say more?
6. The generosity
With an ensemble made up of fully formed characters, Cold Feet’s secret is being generous with its screen-time, giving each actor a chance to explore their individual foibles and feelings. That nuanced understanding also extends to the show’s new additions in recent years, from Adam’s son, Matthew, played by Ceallach Spellman, Leanne Best as Tina, and Downton Abbey’s Siobhan Finneran as Nikki Kirkbright, a Cheshire housewife whom David takes a shine to, even with her husband, George (Robert Glenister), in the wings – prompting David, in Season 8, to grind through a telesales job to try and keep up with her. The result has an emotional heft that not only justifies getting the gang back together, but leaves you wanting more. Who says reunions are always a bad thing?
Cold Feet: Season 1 to 8 are available on BritBox as part of an £5.99 monthly subscription.