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Monday, 11 September 2017

Welcome back Cold Feet

Every and now and then something will trigger my memory of the original final episodes of Cold Feet. The scene where Helen Baxendale's Rachel is rifling around on the floor of her car for a cassette tape and is killed is still vivid to me. The original run of Cold Feet was damn near perfect. It encapsulated the late nineties early noughties. When ITV announced last year that the gang (minus Baxendale) would be returning my initial excitement turned to trepidation. Could writer Mike Bullen really pull it off twice?


I had some issues with the last year's sixth series but all the things that I fell in love with the original series were present and credit. Bullen's characters feel so real, the cast has an unmatchable chemistry and it manages to feel both fresh and familiar.   My issues with the first series were, Adam leaving his wife Angela too quickly, the inclusion of Robert Webb as father to Jenny's daughter Chloe, the death of James Bolam's character and a daft robbery scene in the final episode which felt too slapstick and silly for the Cold Feet universe.


This opening episode of series seven seemed to get the balance right. Adam (James Nesbitt) is feeling broody with landlady/girlfriend Tina (Leanne Best), Karen (Hermione Norris) running her publishing company from home with the help of series regular Romana (Jacey Sall├ęs). David, who went to prison briefly last year in another strand I wasn't keen on (Robert Bathurst) is forced to sell loans to sweet old ladies who only invite him in to get the free pen his ad promises. Pete (John Thompson) is slowly getting himself back on track following his bout of depression and is considering taking a job at the care home he worked for in the last series. Jenny (Fay Ripley) is battling at work and feeling slightly left out as Karen and Tina's friendship moves on without her.

Not a lot happens in this scene setting opener but it's just nice to be back with them all again. The opening sequence where it appears Tina is in labour threw me slightly but Bullen has a knack of keeping his audience on their toes. It must be difficult to give every member of his supremely talented cast something to do but he manages to get this difficult balancing act just right. The inclusion of  Siobhan Finneran as rich socialite Nikki Kirkbright appears to signal an ill fated romance is on the cards for David. Karen appears to have her hands full with her big for her boots author Bridie (Shannon Hayes) whilst it would appear Jenny is heading for promotion.


It's Adam and Tina's story I'm struggling to connect with. Whilst the show is very much an ensemble piece, James Nesbitt's Adam has always been the main focus. His storyline with Tina was the least engaging in this first episode. I worry that a story like this can only go round in predictable circles. They'll move in, he'll propose, they'll plan a wedding etc or, they'll break up and Adam will be left heartbroken. I feel Adam's arch is stuck in a bit of rut plus the introduction of his new work colleague Sarah (Amy Huberman) could mean that an affair storyline could be planned for Adam too. I'm just a little concerned this story could stray into territories that fans have seen the show do a fair few times before.

The better parts of the episode saw Jenny feel abandoned by Karen  which was mirrored by a story which saw daughter Chloe (Madeleine Edmondson) refusing to go to school after a falling out with her best friend.  The stories ran well together and Jenny's eventual scene with Karen was peppered with Bullen's perfect blend of humour and sincerity.

All in all Cold Feet continues to prove that ITV's punt to resurrect it was the right one. I might be being a bit too harsh on Adam's story here as Nesbitt's performance more than makes up for a lacklustre arch, but with six episodes still to air I'll certainly be there to see where it goes from here. I'm just hoping that the channel's strange decision to move this from Mondays to Fridays doesn't damage the ratings and that'll we get more series to come.

Cold Feet Continues Friday at 9.00pm on ITV.

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