I have not written before about the resurrection of Cold Feet which returned with the same level of wit and asides on the realities of life, the interactions between couples, and their children and each other who remain good friends and supportive over decades and where from time to time reality has its destructive cutting edge and no more so than in relation to the member of the group who has grown into a much-loved actor and personality James Nesbitt. He wanted to leave after the fourth and five series which ran from 1998 to 2003 and persuaded to stay on for the fifth season only on the basis that he was killed off at its end. In fact, the company decided on a different course and it was his series wife played by Helena Baxendale who dies. Helena had remained a TV actress since playing roles in some series such as an unsuitable Job for a woman (4), Friends (14) Adrian Mole (6) Kidnap and Ransome (6) and Cuckoo (13) but I believe it is for those 32 with James that both will be remembered.
It was therefore brave for James and the other two couples to return reprise their roles 13 years later in a possibly one off eight-episode series, given the nature of the ending. James is a widower a son and where the fictitious story pregnancy was made real by the second pregnancy of Helena Baxendale. The now adolescent boy is at a public school which he dislikes because being of a different social stratum he does not fit in. The series begins with Adam (played by Nesbitt) returning from Singapore with his young fiancé who has a wealthy international business man as her father (played by Art Malik) who at one level she sees as Adam as her weapon against her controlling and dominating parents. The relationship does not last as the bride fist accepts an important job opportunity and the plan of the couple to fortnight commute for weekend with each other once a month in in Singapore and once a month in England breaks down. The reason Adams dies not return with her is that his needs a different school environment and to have a base with his father. The boy is uncertain about his sexuality but a relationship with the daughter of one of the other couples appears to settle that and his father appreciate that the boy has found his feet and no longer required his full attention.
Adam takes a short rent lease in a small apartment bock where his land lady lives across the hallway and I think she is also a widow, both finding it difficult not to look for someone identical to their lost loves. The woman Tina is in fact having an affair with a married man whose suspicious wife comes looking and although Tina was aware of the marriage, contact with the wife breaks the spell although the duplicitous husband says he has left his wife for her at one point and moves in. James, in part spurred on by his friends, begins to question whether his friendship with Tina is more profound. At the end of the series there is prospect of their relationship developing, one day at a time, compare to the whirlwind affairs which commenced the series.
There is what had become the nationally known comic sketch involving Ronnie Corbett. Ronnie Barker and John Cleese about the three levels of social class, working, middle and upper and the three couples which form Cold Feet representing the middle class with Adam and Rachel (Helena Baxendale), the working class by Pete (John Thomson) and his wife Jenny (Fay Ripley). Their relationship is Rocky and Jenny begins to turn to an admirer as Pete loses sexual interest and it is only when he is clinically diagnosed with depression that she and his friend begin rally and attempt to find ways to build up his self-esteem. This is brought about when his son forms a band which plays at a gig to great success and Adam persuades Pete to play the drums which he did when James and he had their own band as young men and Pete shows he still has talent which results in his children thinking of him as cool. Just when things are looking up the biological father of their daughter who does not know and insists on re-entering their lives to apologise for past behaviour and then works out their daughter must be his. The girl finds out in the worst of possible ways and rejects her care father however he becomes a hero again when he becomes a local hero as a video shows his actions in persuading an armed robber at the round the clock local store where he has gone for extra booze for the 49th birthday party of Adam is put on TV. The depression is gone and family relations restored Pete and Jen also find their marital relationship also goes back to normal. Fay Ripley is also known for being Mrs Reggie Perrin and more recently for Suspects. She has published three cookbooks. John Thomson began his career as a stand-up comic and made his name in the TV show The Fast Show before Cold Feet and until the past two years his appearances have been limited including Celebrity Master Chef in 2013.
The Public school upper class is represented by David (Robert Bathurst) who has remarried (into money) and where early on his recognises there is no love between himself and his wife when she refuses to take the speeding points to prevent loss of his licence. She sets out to destroy him forcing him out of the house and to seeking refuge with his original series wife and their children Karen who has kept her married name. She becomes the interest of the international business man Eddie Zober (Art Malik) and they have a sexually satisfying affair. Karen (Hermione Noris has made her name and financial security in publishing and walks out when the first is taken over and the new people want to dumb down. She sets up her own company despite offers of a new life as the wife of Eddie and then joins forces with the young owner of company involved with digital marketing and their synergy leads to a new passion in her life. David who is given temporary accommodation with his former wife also begins to appreciate her value more than ever and she also begins to see him as maturing. (Art Malik admits that instant fame went to his head after his role in Jewel in the Crown and he nearly became bankrupt with his marriage breaking up. He has since settled and gets good work although I suspect not as much as his talent should justify).
Hermione Norris also performed in two TV series where I watched every Episode Wire in the Blood and four series of Spooks and she continues to appears in TV productions and had a stage run in Blithe Spirit 2010-2011. Robert Bathurst was also in Blythe Spirit but like Hermione his stage roles have been limited over recent years and be has eight films to his credit in addition to ongoing TV roles. In the 2016 series of Cold Feet his world comes crashing down at every level when an investment he and his firm promoted is proved to be a fraud and looking for scapegoat David is suspended and the focus of a police fraud investigation. Because of a mix up over the whereabouts of his passport which he is required to produce when seeking bail, he spends time on remand and this experience has a very positive effect. Karen is responsible for persuading him to take a firm stand with his second wife and with his employers and both situations work with all the charges against him being dropped and his wife becoming more amenable to a fair settlement. The number of positives at the conclusion made me question whether another series was being planned even though it attracted over 8 million viewers. I have since seen a report suggesting there will be.
Last word is with James Nesbitt whose work I will always watch when given the opportunity. He established himself as a serious actor in the film Bloody Sunday and since played a part in charitable and community becoming Chancellor of the University of Ulster for which has been awarded the O.B.E. While he was the undoubted star of all the stars in Cold Feet I he is also known for his role in Murphy’s Law and as Bo fur in the Hobbit which meant two years in Australia which impacted on his marriage He has had a role as a UNICEF ambassador