Entertainment & Arts

Cold Feet: Fay Ripley says show return feels like 'putting on old jumper'

Fay Ripley and John Thomson relaxing during filming of Cold Feet Image copyright ITV
Image caption Fay Ripley said it was easy to step back into character as Jenny

Returning to Cold Feet after more than a decade since it was last seen on TV felt like "putting on an old jumper", Fay Ripley has said.

The actress said she was delighted to revive the role of Jenny, comparing it to "bumping into an old friend".

Co-star John Thomson said the time was right to revisit the show as there was currently a "great need for nostalgia".

Eight new episodes of the comedy drama, which ended in 2003 after five series, will be broadcast this autumn.

Following the ups and downs of three 30-something couples, more than 10 million people tuned into the final episode, which featured the funeral of central character Rachel, played by Helen Baxendale.

'Back in time'

The new series will show how life has treated friends Jenny and Pete, Karen and David and widower Adam in the intervening years, as they experience middle age and life as the parents of teenage children.

Ripley thought it might be hard getting back into character, but discovered: "Within a minute, it was the same.

"It was like stepping back in time. We've got a shorthand when we work together, all of us, which is incredibly handy."

She joked that meant they "didn't have to do any of the polite" stuff when they were reunited on set.

"You can just go in and say, 'I've got a banging headache, my menopause is giving me gip'," she quipped.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption The cast - also featuring Helen Baxendale - as they looked when they were last on screens...
Image copyright ITV
Image caption ...And how they look now (l-r) John Thomson, James Nesbitt, Fay Ripley, Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst

Thomson said "the timing couldn't be better" to revive "something so feel-good" as Cold Feet.

"The world isn't in a great place at the moment, and there's a great need for nostalgia, to look back at the days when things seemed okay," he said.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris on the set of Cold Feet

Hermione Norris agreed it was "comforting" to see the old characters back together again, but admitted she had been initially uncertain of reprising the role of Karen.

"It's that thing in life - you think 'Don't go back, just move forward'," she said. "It was so of its time and it was so loved, I thought maybe it should be left as I didn't want to do anything that would have undone that."

She said the show's creator, Mike Bullen, had persuaded her it was not a remake, but rather a case of "revisiting these characters in this chapter of their life" - and revealed Karen uses dating app Tinder in the new series, showing how technology and dating has moved on.

Rachel 'present' in new show

Norris said she did not re-watch any old episodes before filming started, saying: "It was amazing how much I'd forgotten - I couldn't remember how many children David and I had."

She also said she felt strange not to have Baxendale there, adding: "I missed Helen hugely - because Rachel was Karen's best friend. I really felt her absence. It's like it would be in real life, if you've lost a really good friend."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Ceallach Spellman plays the son of James Nesbitt's character Adam

Ripley joked there would be no "shower" moment for Rachel - referring to the scene in US soap opera Dallas when character Bobby Ewing returned, with his death the previous year explained away as a dream.

She added Baxendale was "happy" with the show going on without her, saying: "She's cool with it."

Norris also said she "loved" working with people her own age on the show: "I really appreciate being with my own generation. As an actor, and as Karen. I find as a woman, I love being older. The weight of experience - you just don't have that as a 30-year-old."

'Daunting' to join show

Robert Bathurst said of his decision to return as David: "It's all very much down to the script. I wouldn't have done it for the sake of it."

He said the secret of the show's success was that it has "never been about anything - it's about ordinariness", adding: "It's about people and how they rub along together."

Bathurst also hopes the new series will "stand alone" and attract a new generation of fans.

Image caption Cel Spellman said he 'binge-watched' the show before joining the cast

Among the new cast members is BBC Radio 1 presenter Cel Spellman, who plays Adam and Rachel's teenage son Matthew - last seen as a baby in the final episodes of the previous series.

He admited it was "daunting" to join the hit show - and that he "binge-watched" the box set to prepare for the role.

"I started to realise why the show was so successful," he said, adding that his mother was a huge fan who "pecked his head" for details of the new storylines.

But Mrs Spellman and Cold Feet fans - will have to wait a bit longer to find out what's in store for the characters, with show bosses keen to avoid any spoilers before it begins.

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