A warm welcome back to Cold Feet, while the Beeb finds the mother of sitcom hits

The turn of the millennium was a mere 16 years ago, yet it already feels like ancient history.

Friday, 9th September 2016, 3:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 4:32 pm
The cast of the returning ITV hit Cold Feet. From left, Robert Bathurst, James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Fay Ripley and John Thomson

At the turn of the last century, we were consumed by thoughts our computers would suddenly blow up, thanks to the millennium bug; Labour was a fully-functioning political party actually in power; smartphones didn’t exist and Instagram wasn’t a ‘thing’.

On television, multi-channel was still a minority pursuit, ‘binge’ came before drinking, not watching, and the nation was glued to Cold Feet, the tale of a group of 30-somethings in Manchester and their hopes and fears.

As it turns out, things may not have changed after all, as Cold Feet (ITV, Mondays, 9pm) has returned – as you may have noticed from all the advance publicity.

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TV reunions can be difficult things. Devotees have their own ideas of how the characters’ lives turned out, the actors may have aged badly, the script may just be rubbish.

Thankfully, Cold Feet neatly side-stepped many of these issues. As in the original series, there were little flashbacks and fantasy sequences muddling the timelines, the characters had moved on, but not so far removed from their old selves and the cast were clearly having a wonderful old time.

Yes, Adam (James Nesbitt) can still be insufferably smug, but a neat gag about his amazing expanding hairline helped puncture that.

The story saw Adam flying back from a high-powered job in Singapore to persuade teenage son Matthew (played by the clearly well over 20 Cel Spellman) to attend his wedding to 30-year-old fiancee Angela.

Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from friends David, Karen, Jenny and Pete and a neat plot trick to get everyone, seemingly permanently, back in Manchester.

It’s not demanding, it’s not breaking new ground, but it’s wittily written, well acted and quality seeps from every pore. I was expecting disaster, but found a hit.

I would have enjoyed it even more, had I not been gagging at every ad break thanks to sponsor Sainsbury’s ‘little twists’. I mean, what poor deluded individual thinks halloumi belongs in a fry-up, or peaches perfectly partner a pizza?

While ITV has exhumed and old favourite, the BBC has actually found a new classic. Motherland (BBC2, Tuesday, 10pm) was one their sitcom season pilots and was hilarious, filthy and painfully truthful. Catch it on iPlayer and bombard the BBC with requests to turn it into a series.