Entertainment & Arts

Cold Feet cast reveal Manchester bombing led to sombre return to filming

L-R: Jenny Gifford [Fay Ripley], Pete Gifford [John Thomson], Karen Marsden [Hermione Norris], David Marsden [Robert Bathurst] and Adam Williams [James Nesbitt]. Image copyright ITV
Image caption Cold Feet returned with the original cast last year after a 13-year hiatus

The Cold Feet cast have revealed how their return to filming had a sombre start after the Manchester Arena bombing, where 22 people were killed after Ariana Grande's concert.

"It was horrible. Just horrible," said John Thomson, who plays Pete.

"I couldn't wait to get home to my girls that night, as we nearly went.

"We couldn't get into town because town was shut down. We re-jigged the schedule and went to the studio. "

He paid tribute to the Cold Feet team, saying: "Credit to everyone that day, crew especially and cast."

Image copyright Itv
Image caption The new series starts nine months after the end of the last one

They were meant to be filming on 23 May in St Ann's Square, where flowers were laid in tribute to the victims of the bombing the day before.

Fay Ripley, who plays Jenny, said: "The first thing you think is - we're in Manchester, working with people who are friends. The first call you make is 'is everyone okay?'

"Then you look to Manchester. You try to behave in a way that's responsible. My kids came up about a week after. We all went to St Anne's Square, something I know they will always remember."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Hermione Norris spoke of the impact of the bombing on Manchester

Hermione Norris, who plays Karen, added: "It's a small community and it was felt incredibly strongly."

Last year's series was a huge success for ITV and was very warmly received after its 13-year gap.

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Media captionCold Feet is back for a new series but what happened to the characters?

"It was an enormous relief that people welcomed us back with open arms," admitted Ripley.

"We didn't have an example - it was the first experiment of bringing something back after (more than) 10 years. But it's the same characters so why wouldn't you be interested?"

Image copyright ITV
Image caption John Thomson said he felt the pressure of filming this series

But after that success, Thomson said it wasn't easier this time round.

"The pressure was huge, it's harder in a way - like the difficult second album.

"To be honest when I had my storyline pitched to me I was a bit underwhelmed.

"Because we went in guns blazing the first time round, we had to bait the audience because it'd been 13 years so we had to go in strong.

"You can't go in on popularity stakes alone, that's so arrogant, so we had to have decent, meaty storylines and it worked."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Fay Ripley said there's some "fun to be had" in this series

"What I had to appreciate is once we'd now established ourselves you can build slowly to a bigger thing."

Ripley said the audience could look forward to a few surprises along the way.

"There may be some cameos, famous cameos coming up. I'm not allowed to say who or when, but there might be fun to be had. Some people you might recognise."

Between the last series and this one, Nesbitt made headlines after he made an impassioned speech about equality for actresses at the Bafta TV Awards. Something his co-star Ripley approved of.

"I think it's great to have someone stand up and defend women in the workplace. I've paid for a taxi for James to go and renegotiate my salary.

Image copyright Itv
Image caption Nesbitt, pictured with onscreen son Cel Spellman, said the characters' children growing up "means a whole new dynamic"

"Obviously I am joking - in Cold Feet we don't have a gender issue. If there is any (disparity) it's not because of that."

Nesbitt has a slightly different memory of it, joking that she was a "nightmare" with teasing him over his speech. But he's glad he did it.

"I didn't want to become the spokesperson for it, but I'm very, very happy to be part of the campaign for the equal representation of actresses.

"Society is absorbing on a daily basis - particularly the young - that even though there is a 50/50 split for genders, for every female part there's three male parts.

Image copyright Itv
Image caption Tina and Adam got together at the end of the last series

"That is absorbed by my children and anyone's children on a daily basis - subconsciously or consciously - it is bound to have an impact on actual equality and who has power and who has influence."

He added: "You know what was funny was my eldest daughter sent me a text having seen it saying 'You go girl', which I thought was very good."

As for the success of this series John Thomson said another series is not definite.

"Everyone goes 'oh it's in the bag' and you go 'not in this day and age, absolutely not'.

"You cannot rest on your laurels. It's best to go in with low expectations."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Robert Bathurst is happy to do occasional series with gaps in between

And Robert Bathurst, who plays David Marsden said it would be fine if this was the end for the time being.

"If we do no more that's that, and in a sense it might allow us to get older, and creatively it could become open ended until we die - we might just do a couple here and a couple there until we're 105."

This is an idea Thomson is fully on board with.

"We'll do it now in our 50s, sit on it a bit and come back in our 70s. I'm glad that's the idea because I'm a comedy actor and my pension was going to be Last of the Summer Wine - they all rocked up in that - that was our pension but it's gone now."

Cold Feet is on ITV 21:00 BST, 8 September.

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