Was last year’s successful Cold Feet reboot all a dream? Did the triumphant return of the old Manchester gang with all their heartache, laughs and dilemmas really happen?
The first episode of series seven started with Adam’s new girlfriend Tina (Leanne Best) giving birth, not before a typical Cold Feet scene of high, (and, yes, slightly corny) drama with a hospital dash and a dramatic delivery.
But writer Mike Bullen, who has always been very adept at setting up expectations and then pulling the rug from under viewers’ feet, had a surprise in store: Tina gave birth to a King Charles Spaniel. This we learned during Adam’s song and dance routine (which actor James Nesbitt must have clearly loved) and which allowed the briefest reminder of who the gang were.
“I am blessed with friends, Jenny, Karen, Pete… even David,” he crooned. Poor David.
And then he woke with a start. Yes, that bit was a dream. But Cold Feet always has a knack of returning to reality, and we found Adam in bed with Tina. Having got together at the end of the last series they have been going steady for ten months, not sure where to take things.
Clearly Adam has the nesting instinct, and by the end she had moved in with him and son Matt in their new family home in Didsbury.
No doubt there will be bumps in the road – he’s got a new job with a bunch of hipsters who have meetings in a tree house and she has her issues. Cold Feet never shirks the real world, while still leaving with you with a warm fuzzy glow that things will always be OK in the end. As the nights draw in, it’s perfect autumn viewing.
As for the other Feeters, Karen (Hermione Norris) has started her new publishing venture and seems to have struck upon a hit with a book called The Deep End penned by a young new writer.
Again, expectations were rather subverted with this one. The writer may be clever and promising in the mould of early Zadie Smith, but she turns out to be something of a madam as well, barking orders to Karen at the book launch to get her some water. This should be interesting.
David still looks puppy-eyed at his former wife – and no wonder. She’s on her uppers, and as for him? Having narrowly escaped prison for financial fraud at the end of the last series, no “respectable firm will touch” him (his words) and he is reduced to “going door-to-door selling dodgy loans” (the words of a potential client, a lonely old lady).
“I thought she was the sad one, but she pitied me,” he moaned to his friends.
However, a disaster can become an opportunity, and thanks to the good graces of Pete there is hope. Pete is now working as a chauffeur (a step up from the mini cabbing of last year) and he persuaded a rich woman client from the “Cheshire set” to invite David to meet her friends to discuss giving personal financial advice.
Being Cold Feet, this business meeting turns into something different. The lady client clearly has designs on the poor man, who was forced to hotfoot it out of the house through the back door when her husband came back. After two incident-packed marriages, could he be ready for more hijinks? Knowing David, probably yes…
Pete’s life is looking up after the depression of last series, so fabulously and movingly brought to screen by Bullen’s writing and the work of actor John Thomson.
Tina has become firm friends with Karen, and Jenny feels left out. They used to be a double act – “Pinky and Perky…Cagney and Lacey”, Fay Ripley’s character moaned. And while she managed to sort things out with her old mucker, I see trouble brewing with Pete and Jenny’s teenage daughter Chloe, who discovered in the last series that Pete wasn’t her biological Dad.
She skived off school in tonight’s episode, a fairly incidental scene. But it felt oddly significant, a bit like spotting a gun above the mantelpiece in act one of a Chekhov play.
Just as you know that gun is going to be used in Act 4, it looks like Chloe has only got started when it comes to giving her Mum and Dad headaches. And I for one will be staying tuned to find out just what that is going to be…
Cold Feet continues on Friday nights on ITV