James Nesbitt: Rachel’s presence is “felt throughout” Cold Feet reboot

Helen Baxendale had the option to return to the ITV series but turned it down reveals writer Mark Bullen

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James Nesbitt has said it was right not to bring Helen Baxendale back as Rachel in the Cold Feet reboot, but that her character’s presence is still “felt throughout” the new series.

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The remake, starring the rest of the original cast, will be broadcast on ITV from 5 September.

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Adam
James Nesbitt

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Karen
Hermione Norris

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David
Robert Bathurst

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Jenny
Fay Ripley

Meet the cast of
Cold Feet

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Pete
John Thompson

The show’s writer, Mark Bullen, had written in a way for Rachel to feature, but Baxendale turned it down: “I’m quite sentimental. I wanted to find a way of doing Cold Feet with the original six,” he said.

He had written a version of the script where Rachel, who died in series five in 2003, appears in Adam’s mind.

“I sent that script to Helen to say, ‘Do you want to do it?’ She was very sweet about the script but she said, no, it wasn’t for her. And I’m pleased she did because it was the right decision both for her and the show. I was clinging to something that we needed to let go of.”

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Former Cold Feet star Helen Baxendale

On Baxendale’s decision, Nesbitt said: “I think that was the right decision for Helen to make. I’ve missed her terribly. She was such an important part of Cold Feet and my professional life. I loved my time working with her. But it would have been stretching it a bit too far to bring her back. Adam talks about Rachel a lot in this series and there’s a little tribute to her as well. So her presence is felt throughout.”

Speaking about his own character, he said: “Adam has travelled the world, trying to move on after the death of his wife Rachel while at the same time keeping her memory alive. His work has clearly been successful and he has lived all around the globe, taking his son Matthew with him. But when Adam moved to Singapore, Matthew was 12 and wanted to go to boarding school back in England. So Adam is at a point where he has to re-establish that relationship with his son.” 

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First look: James Nesbitt as Adam

First look: the new series begins with Adam returning from working abroad to make an announcement 

First look: Pete gives Adam a welcome hug at the airport

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Catch Cold Feet on ITV at 9pm on 5 September