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I TALK Cold Feet (Series 8)

When Cold Feet returned in 2016 no one could have been more excited for its return than me. Thankfully the series proved to be just as good as it ever was and on Monday night it returned for its eighth series.

After almost 22 years, watching Cold Feet in 2019 feels like a night in with your best friends.

Both series six and seven of Cold Feet launched in early September 2016 and 2017 so when September 2018 came around and there was no sign of series eight, I was a little bit worried especially as I knew the series had been filmed.

However it was later revealed that ITV simply wanted to wait and launch it in the new year, a notoriously busy time for television, so I was hoping that the series wouldn't return to the dreadful Friday night slot is was given in 2017. A slot which resulted in the ratings for the series drop by an average of 1.81m per episode.

Thankfully, ITV waited until Manhunt had finished and Cleaning Up had launched to air the new series of Cold Feet, and have seen sense by returning the series back to the Monday night slot it deserves.

Last series Adam and Tina split up, Nikki's ex-husband put added pressure onto her relationship with David and Karen's relationship with Gareth hit a rocky patch and Pete and Jenny renewed their wedding vows.

But as the new series begins, wedding bells are ringing once again, but we're not sure who for. We first see Adam looking into a mirror saying "I do", I do to who? Surely he couldn't have moved on from Tina that quickly? Hang on, why is Pete opening a ring box? And why is Jenny gazing into a mirror wearing a long white dress?

Oh, it's OK, Jenny doesn't want to upstage the bride, whoever she is. Could it be Karen? After all, when she comes out of the bathroom she too is wearing a long white dress and Jenny tells her that she "looks amazing". Our predictions are almost confirmed when we cut to David checking his cuffs in the mirror and telling his son that he's feeling nervous and doesn't want to "let her down".

Could David and Karen have done the unthinkable? Well, for a split second I thought that was possible. After all, when we see two cars pull up outside Karen and David are first to exit from separate cars looking the part and smiling at each other, but sadly it wasn't to be.

Instead it's Cold Feet favourite and their former nanny Ramona who's getting married, to a count no less! Dressed all in red, Ramona turns up looking just like the dancing lady emoji! However it's not long before she's knocking on Karen's door, with her bags packed, to say that Alejandro has cheated on her and that she's staying!

At the start of the episode we find out that Karen has broken up with Gareth and David is still with Nikki. But after her divorce settlement comes through, David feels the pressure to keep up with her lifestyle, working a job he hates making very little money. Of course he could just accept Nikki's offer of a loan, but his pride simply won't let him.

To make matters worse, Josh has decided to drop out of university. Although initially shocked, Karen comes to terms with it much quicker than David does. In fact, he's furious. With just a year to go until Josh is due to graduate, he reminds his son that "Marsden's don't quit", which goes about as well as you'd expect.

And when Josh tells David that he doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps, I can help but feel sorry for him. Yes he's a loser and a bit of a drip, but he's a loveable drip. And one we've grown to know and love for over twenty years.

But as the David we get at the end of the episode is almost unrecognisable. He stands up to his boss for the lack of bonuses given to staff before resigning. He then does away with his pride to accept money from Nikki and there's a beautiful moment between him and Josh when he reveals his alternative plans to university.

When Josh tells his dad that he's going back to Spain with Ramona, to teach English and one day open his own language school, David tells him "that sounds like a very good idea".

Adam is back on the market this series, dying his hair and swiping left and right on dating apps. Despite an initial attraction to Alejandro's niece Isabella it's a certain 27 year-old barista who catches his eye, played by Tala Gouveia, called Gemma, but there's a 16-and-a-half year age gap between them. Well, it's larger than that but when she guesses that he's 42, he wasn't going to correct her.

After plucking up the courage to invite her for dinner, it appears that he may have been reading the signals wrong as Gemma turns him down because she has has a boyfriend.

Making the dinner anyway after agreeing to cook for Matt and his new secret girlfriend, Adam is surprised to find Gemma at the door. Under the assumption that she's changed her mind and decided to take him up on his offer, Adam is taken aback when Matt reveals that Gemma is his new girlfriend! And it turns out he wasn't the only one lying about his age.

However when Matt's dumped as a result, he doesn't mince his words, telling him "You embarrass me dad. You're just sad and totally pathetic." This exchange suggests a turning point for their relationship. And whilst Adam might not be ready to grow old just yet, as Karen says to him, he hasn't got much choice. But will he accept her challenge of finding someone he can grow old with? And if so, who could that be?

Elsewhere, after a drink down the pub with Adam and David, Pete turns into an unlikely superhero, diving into a canal to save a young lad, Evan, from drowning. But the high he feels comes crashing down when he visits Evan in hospital who reveals that he intended to drown. Called a "twat" for deciding "to play the hero", Pete is told to "piss off" and quickly his mind turns to his depression.

As for Jenny, she’s been throwing herself into uni life and since renewing their wedding vows last series, her and Pete have grown closer than ever. So much so that following a bit of al fresco love-making at Ramona's wedding, Jenny misses her period leading Pete to think that she might be pregnant. However she dismisses him almost immediately, suggesting that she must have hit the menopause.

With a fiver on her being pregnant, Jenny visits the Health Clinic to settle a bet. The good news is, she isn't pregnant, the bad new is that the Doctor has found a lump in Jenny's breast. With the possibility of cancer hanging over her, Jenny decides to keep the news to herself, and only tells Pete that after doing a test she can confirm that she isn't pregnant.

I'm sure that Jenny's cancer storyline will play out across the six episodes and if Pete's depression proved anything it's that the nation are so invested in these characters that these harder-hitting storylines are ever more important and Mike Bullen is more than able to deliver them.

Bringing Cold Feet back in 2016 was a massive risk. It was so well-loved the first time around that a revival wasn't always guaranteed to work. Luckily it did and what Mike Bullen has been able to achieve along with the cast really is to be commended. How many series can you say have returned so successfully?

The series eight opener had everything I love about Cold Feet in it. It was funny, it was warm, there were highs and there were lows, something this series does exceptionally well. The episode dealt with the father and son relationship brilliantly; whether that was David's realisation that to be a good father he needed to let Josh be happy or Adam's realisation that his behaviour is embarrassing his son.

It's an example of how much Cold Feet has evolved over the years. Part of its success when it returned is that the characters had also moved on, the series didn't try to pick up from where it left off. As the viewer's lives changed, so did Adam, Pete, Jenny, Karen and David's. Some of the storylines featured in the series now would not have been possible during its initial run.

Television drama these days is so fixated on high stakes, brutal murders and crime that it's nice to have an hour of television to completely lose yourself in. The series looks at family, relationships and growing old better than most and represents each and every one of its viewers.

After almost 22 years, watching Cold Feet in 2019 feels like a night in with your best friends. Could it run and run? Well that's ultimately up to ITV to decide, but if the numbers live up to expectations and the episodes continue to be of the high standard of this series opener, then I can't see why not.

But if it doesn't, then it's been lovely to have them back for three years and I'll still look back as fondly on the series now as I did in 2003.

Cold Feet continues Mondays at 9pm on ITV


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