TV show comebacks are not always guaranteed to be a roaring success. For example, no more Only Fools and Horses should have been made after Del and Rodney FINALLY became millionaires. The remake of Dallas was an unmitigated disaster and I presume those involved in the revival of the soap opera Crossroads, don’t work in television anymore due to it being that bad. Therefore, I was nervous about Cold Feet coming back onto our screens this past week. I longed for it not to be a stinker, I didn’t want my much treasured memories of this utterly brilliant comedy-drama to be ruined!
After ITV1 had a somewhat unexpected summer hit this year with ’80s comedy-drama Brief Encounters, I did then wonder if they had unwittingly set themselves up for a fall here with regards to the scheduled return of Cold Feet. By this, I mean if Cold Feet wasn’t that great, then airing them both so closely together would only serve to further magnify Cold Feet being a flop.
The great news for my late ’90s nostalgia is that this Cold Feet comeback was an absolute triumph. The writing was top-notch, the acting was fantastic and the music throughout was sublime. The show even managed to retain its slightly quirky feel that I adored so much about it when it was first on.
Barring the one bit of overacting by James Nesbitt(as Adam, when telling off his son Matthew at his school), the rest of his performance and those of the other cast members were great. Fay Ripley as Jenny, reminded us all just what a fantastic talent she is. The thought struck me whilst watching, why have we not seen her in more things on the telly over the years because she has this really likeable earthy quality to her acting.
The massive hole in the cast so-to-speak, was obviously no Helen Baxendale as Rachel(this character died at the end of series 5, Adam’s wife and Matthew’s mother). Therefore, it was pivotal to the success of this first episode that the new cast members who filled in this void of no Helen/Rachel, were up to scratch. Actress Karen David as Angela, Leanne Best as Tina and Cel Spellman as Matthew, all deserve a major congratulations for their first class performances here. I thought I would miss Rachel a lot more than I did so writer and creator Mike Bullen needs to receive high praise for this.
With regards to the brilliant writing, I first want to comment on a scene very early on in the episode that featured Pete going to pick Adam up at Manchester Airport. We saw these two best mates embrace one another and then Adam affectionately refer to Pete as Denis Law, the former Manchester United football great(because both are avid Man United fans). As I watched this scene for a second time of these two characters lovingly hug each other, it was then that it struck me how their embrace could sort of be seen as like a metaphor between the programme and its audience, i.e Adam representing all those involved in the making of the show and Pete representing us the viewers, with the hug signifying how great it was to see one another again after all those years apart!
The plot centered Adam returning back to Manchester after years of working abroad and announcing to the gang that he was getting married to a woman from Singapore called Angela Zubayr. The alarming thing for his close friends Pete, Jenny, Karen and David, was that he had only known his future bride-to-be for six months. Throw in a heart-attack THAT WASN’T a heart attack as well as Adam having problems with with his young teenage son Matthew, and the superb all-round quality of the script reminded me just exactly why I had become such a massive of fan of this late ’90s comedy-drama in the first place. The script was funny, it was punchy and at times beautifully moving without ever being overly sentimental.
What I really loved about this comeback episode was that there seemed to be a funny comment or joke in almost every scene. For example, when Adam first met his new landlady Tina(where he pretended to be her taxi driver), they had this very amusing opening exchange where she joked with him,
Tina: “Shouldn’t really be out”.
Adam: “You not well”?
Tina: “Oh, just a touch of THRUSH”!
It was just a funny gag that instantly made me smile and immediately made me warm to this new character in Tina. As Cold Feet is set in Manchester then much of the humour had a northern quality to it. i.e funny mickey taking banter. I thought Robert Bathurst played an absolute blinder throughout as funny snob David, and Pete looking ridiculous in a chauffeur’s hat was a very funny scene. The sharp writing kept me laughing and smiling all the way through.
Amidst all the humour and in line with the comedy-drama genre, there were also some beautifully moving scenes too without ever going over-the-top. The most emotive one for me was when Adam and Matthew were stood outside their old family home discussing Rachel. I thought James Nesbitt was brilliant in his touching portrayal of a widower who after fourteen years still deeply missed his late wife. It was sad yet at the same time it was a lovely scene.
In relation to that emotional scene that I just talked about, it began with us hearing a gloriously emotive tune called ‘Open Up Your Door’ by Richard Hawley. Its intensely moving lyrics really helped to emotionally set up the extremely moving dialogue that we then heard from Adam. This underlined to me yet again just how significant music is to the make up of this show. I love the quirky sounding theme tune and the background music throughout helped to energise the narrative. Another example of this was when we heard uplifting orchestral music as we watched Matthew play rugby at school.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this was a joyous, glorious comeback for Cold Feet. The question I therefore ask is, who does indeed like Cold Feet in September???? The answer I give to you my friends is most definitely, I DO, I DO, I DO and I hope you do too!! 4/5.