Cold Feet, series 9, episode 1, review: a superior soap opera packing a real punch
If you had to pick a TV character ripe for a “woke” conversion, Adam from Cold Feet (ITV) would surely be low on your list. As played by James Nesbitt, Adam is a man who has remained spiritually anchored in the Nineties. He may be hitting middle-age but he’s probably still hanging on to some vintage copies of Loaded magazine, and fondly remembers that time they projected Gail Porter’s bum onto the Houses of Parliament.
But what’s this? Adam has been accused of inappropriate behaviour at work: a feeble joke made at a leaving do (“Hattie is in HR… stands for ‘hand relief’”) has prompted a complaint from a younger employee who thought it offensive and belittling to women. Adam reacted as you would expect and scoffed at the charges. Cue a schooling from his son (Cel Spellman), Karen (Hermione Norris) and her daughters on how times have changed. By the end of the episode, a contrite Adam realised the error of his ways and meekly accepted a written warning. It isn’t the Nineties any more, lads.
Everyone else was much the same, though, as they returned for this ninth series. I ignored the show’s revival in 2016, having not missed it in the intervening years. But with last year’s series I fell for its charms. It may be a soap opera, but it’s a superior one: the writing is funny and emotionally truthful, the characters going through events most in midlife can relate to – cancer, career disasters, terrible teenagers. Jenny (Fay Ripley) has finished her cancer treatment but is still dealing with the emotional fallout. David (Robert Bathurst) is facing the fact that Karen, his ex-wife, is now in a relationship with Adam. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the group didn’t spend every waking minute together.
The breezy style means that when the tough moments come they pack a real punch, as when Jenny put on a brave face for her house guests then retreated to the bedroom to remove her wig and wipe off her make-up. Still, decent as her acting is, nothing can make up for Ripley’s strangled attempt at a Mancunian accent, still as bad as it ever was.