One of the major storylines in the last series of Cold Feet (ITV) was Jenny (Fay Ripley) being diagnosed with breast cancer. The show returned last week with the news that she was in remission. Hurrah! That’s done and dusted, let’s move on to the next plot, shall we?
But Mike Bullen’s writing is more honest than that. He knows we’ve spent 20-odd years with these characters, on and off, and we want them to behave like recognisable human beings. Jenny put on a brave face for family and friends, aware that everyone expects her to be moving on. “I’m Jenny 2.0 now, remember? I could drink champagne from a shoe if I wanted,” she told her mother, when asked how she was spending her day.
Privately, though, in scenes well-handled by Ripley, Jenny isn’t fine. In an imagined conversation with her late “cancer buddy” Charlie (Ivanno Jeremiah), she said: “Everyone thinks I’m ok, everyone thinks it’s over, that it ended with my final treatment and all I need do is grow back my flippin’ hair and celebrate being alive.” Her description of feeling lost and depressed – “the fear has come back but the anger hasn’t” – will doubtless resonate with many people.
Elsewhere, David (Robert Bathurst) has found a new lease of life running a cafe in a floral pinny. Karen and Adam (Hermione Norris and James Nesbitt) have an assortment of teenage children and Karen’s annoying mother crammed into the house. Well, I say crammed, but I spend most of Cold Feet marvelling at how spacious their homes are. Pete (John Thomson) is so proud to be doing jury service that he turned up carrying a briefcase; his fellow jurors were less than impressed.
And then, a shock. Adam popped in to court to watch proceedings and recognised Laura, the defendant. In 2001, Laura was a girl whom Adam and his then partner, Rachel (Helen Baxendale), were hoping to adopt. Then Rachel got pregnant, and the adoption service said a home with a new baby would not be the right environment for an adoptee. Now she’s about to come back into Adam’s life.