James Nesbitt is back with a new series of Cold Feet this month and the actor admits he can almost be as embarrassing as his character Adam.
In the opening episode of the ninth series, which begins on ITV on January 13, Adam makes a terrible joke at the expense of a female colleague – which puts his job at risk.
The 54-year-old actor’s behaviour isn’t as reckless but he does seemingly relish making his grown-up daughters Peggy and Mary cringe.
“If I phone up a restaurant, I now do this sort of for badness in front of them, because I’ll say, ‘Hi, it’s James Nesbitt here.’ And they’ll go, ‘Oh my God.’ But then their fears are assuaged immediately by the person on the line going, ‘I’m sorry, who?’”
While Adam’s career might be in jeopardy, it’s the opposite for James in real life.
The actor recognises he owes his success to Cold Feet, which began as a 1997 pilot and ran for five series from 1998 to 2003. A long break then followed before the 2016 reboot.
“It opened so many doors for me, for all of us,” he muses. “Certainly I wouldn’t be sat here today talking about anything with the same regularity as I do if it hadn’t been for Cold Feet.”
He says he is thrilled how fans have accepted the relationship between Adam and Karen, played by Hermione Norris.
“I’ve really loved this year with exploring more of that relationship with Karen, which I never, ever thought would happen.
“We were quite nervous of that storyline last year.
“You know, because there is Karen’s friendship with Rachel, there’s my marriage to Rachel, who was the love of my life. But I think that’s one of the strengths of Cold Feet, not shirking these things and the response was pretty favourable.”
Karen’s ex-husband David is finding it a little more difficult to come to terms with though.
In fact relations between Adam and David become so frosty that James and Robert Bathurst end up rolling around on the pavement. So how was the fight to film? “Cold!” James laughs. “We had to shorten it. I think they drive each other f***ing mad.
“It’s bound to be painful for David, you know. Much younger, better looking, funnier man…”
He admits that when the reboot was first mooted he wasn’t keen but now says he would like to do another series next year to equal the five in the original run.
“If there’s an appetite for it then there’s an appetite for us to do it,” he says. “I think this one’s good. I thought when we did the reboot it was really good, and then I thought particularly last year was really strong.
“I bloody love it, and I’m not saying it because there’s quite a lot of me
in the character of Adam! I think there’s still life in it.”
But there are also frustrations. “It feels like a lot of work, it’s hard,” he says. “Schedules are so tight now, I can’t tell you how punishing they are.”
We take a sneak look at what the other characters have in store…
*Cold Feet returns to ITV on January 13 at 9pm