AND talking of Cold Feet…
Helen Baxendale is back next month in her first lead TV role since we said a tearful goodbye to Rachel in the final series of the Manchester comedy drama.
She plays single mum Annie (left) in a 90-minute ITV1 film called The Only Boy For Me, alongside The Office and Bodies actor Patrick Baladi.
Bramhall-born Cold Feet creator Mike Bullen shocked millions when he killed Rachel off in a 2003 car crash at the end of the fifth series.
But it was the right time to say farewell to Rachel, Adam (James Nesbitt), Pete (John Thomson), Jenny (Fay Ripley), David (Robert Bathurst) and Karen (Hermione Norris).
From the opening scenes at the very first preview screening in 1998, it was clear that a new series called Cold Feet was going to be a huge hit.
I can still recall the buzz in the room as the closing credits rolled across the screen. And this for a show that had almost vanished without trace some nine months earlier.
The schedules were running late on the night the original pilot episode was eventually broadcast. Most viewers – and critics – missed it.
Robert Bathurst told me later: “I remember sitting there after the original pilot episode of Cold Feet was broadcast late – anyone taping it only got half the show – and the following day hardly anybody had written about it. And then it won the Golden Rose of Montreux.”
Granada comedy boss Andy Harries had already flown home from the Swiss TV festival, thinking Cold Feet had no hope of winning a prize. But he had to jet back when it landed the coveted Golden Rose for Best Comedy.
Fresh, funny and not made in London, the series showcased Manchester as a modern, vibrant city – and displayed the talent of the ensemble cast, crew and Bramhall-born writer Mike Bullen.
Every year Helen, John, Robert, Fay, Jimmy and Hermione would present themselves to be interviewed at the launch of each new series. And every year they came up with a must watch show.
Mike emigrated to Australia three years ago and, along with the award-winning cast, has moved on to other things. But although it appears unlikely, he still doesn’t rule out a return one day for Cold Feet.
“I loved doing Cold Feet but I was very happy to bid it farewell. It felt like it had finished,” he says. “Maybe in another few years it might be interesting to catch up with them all – and I do have an idea of how we could bring Rachel back from the dead. But some things are best left alone. Still, the mortgage always needs paying…”
Helen has taken time out to be a mum since leaving Rachel behind, although she has kept working, including a guest role in BBC1’s Murder In Mind. She was furious with one report which misquoted her as saying she was quitting acting to devote more time to her family.
Earlier this year she returned to Manchester to film ITV1 drama Dead Clever, co-starring with Vincent and former Corrie actress Suranne Jones.
Helen has made no secret of the fact that she disliked the high profile Cold Feet gave her, not to mention that guest stint as Emily in Friends. The latter role never quite worked, thanks to American producers yet again failing to understand how to handle incoming English characters.
US network NBC, the company that made Friends, also tried to produce its own version of Cold Feet. All too predictably, it was cancelled after just a few episodes had been screened.