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Cold Feet: Series 9 - Finale and series overview

Cold Feet, Series 9

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

GIVEN the hit-and-miss nature of the ninth season of Cold Feet it is perhaps little surprise that the show will now go on its second hiatus.

Speaking after the sixth and final episode of the season aired on Monday night, series creator Mike Bullen announced: ‘We feel we’ve explored to our satisfaction the issues confronting the characters at this stage of their lives and we want to give them all a little time to move on, to put clear water between the stories we’ve told thus far and the issues they’ll be exploring when they are empty-nesters staring down the barrel of grandparenthood. We’re looking forward to returning at a later date to document the agony and the ecstasy of the third age…”

In truth, the ninth season of Cold Feet had been showing signs of wear and tear. That’s not to say it was a complete misfire, but where season eight featured some of the best writing in the show’s history, season nine often felt lightweight by comparison – even with some weighty issues to deal with.

On the plus side, the ongoing storyline involving Jenny (Fay Ripley) and her breast cancer was treated sensitively throughout and even featured one outstanding moment, in the ninth season opener, in which she broke down and showed the true extent of the effects of her chemotherapy (removing her wig to reveal grey, short hair).

But another Jenny story, involving the surprise death of her mother, felt poorly handled by comparison as it never seemed to rock the character as you felt it should, especially in light of all that Jenny has been going through. Instead, the writers used it as an excuse to unearth some sibling rivalry with her visiting sister, while almost forgetting to allow either sister the time to properly grieve.

If anything, season nine was marked by its failure to really capitalise on the big moments it frequently set up.

Adam (James Nesbitt), for instance, had to contend with accusations of chauvinism and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace early on (in a clear nod to the #MeToo era). Yet, again, the show defused the situation too easily and failed to ask either Adam or its audience any really probing questions on the issue. Rather, it seemed content to merely piggy back on a hot button issue without really having anything to say.

Similarly, both David (Robert Bathurst) and Pete (John Thomson) also succumbed to lightweight writing despite having potentially character demanding storylines put before them.

David’s arc seemed to rely heavily on contrivance as, first, he found new employment in a café, only to be plucked from his quiet life back into the higher echelons of the financial sector. This, in turn, enabled him to rekindle his relationship with second ex-wife Robyn (Lucy Robinson). But where previous seasons had really put David through the mire, this one seemed content merely to bestow good fortune upon good fortune upon him.

Pete, meanwhile, was presented with the possibility of finding sexual gratification in the arms of a woman he met on jury service, only to be tempted for one episode and then seemingly forgotten. The writers seemed to ignore that the same woman had loaned him money. But the character was discarded too quickly, as was another female newcomer: Adam’s prospective adopted daughter.

Fortunately, the principal cast remained skilled enough to steady the ship and make up for the lapses in writing, keeping the characters engaging in a disposable kind of way.

And in the final episode, there was a closure of sorts, as Adam and Karen (Hermione Norris) overcame their difficulties to pledge their future to each other, albeit in long distance fashion given that Adam is now touring Europe with his son and Karen has accepted a job of a lifetime offer in London – another of those easily earned opportunities that this series kept on delivering.

Indeed, the final episode – delivered the weekend after Valentine’s Day – felt like its own love letter to the core element that has maintained Cold Feet through all of its seasons thus far: relationships. Aside from Adam and Karen, the future looked bright for just about everyone.

Pete declared Jenny to be his ‘bucket list’, before being offered the opportunity of a father’s lifetime by being tour bus driver for his son’s band as they embarked on a tour around Europe; and David and Robyn confirmed that they would make a second go of their own rekindled romance.

It was the sort of finale designed to bring a smile to the faces of long-term Cold Feet fans: a fond farewell that offered an optimistic future for all five main characters given the torments and difficulties they have encountered during this second, mid-life run of the series.

But where season eight delivered some really weighty emotional blows (and, as a result, some really terrific performances), season nine felt more like it was treading water and a lot more lightweight by comparison. It meant that news of a second hiatus felt almost inevitable and just in the nick of time before the revival outstayed its welcome.