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Cold Feet returns to warm 10m viewers; TELEVISION: Cult drama reappears for fourth series.

Byline: KAREN PRICE

THE loves, lives and traumas of thirtysomething couples are by no means a new concept for TV.

While most programmes on the topic come and go without leaving much impression on us there is one TV show that seems to have made a huge impact on millions of viewers - Cold Feet .

Back for a fourth run, the last series of the hugely popular ITV show pulled in an average of 10 million viewers when it was screened on Sunday nights.

The comedy drama burst onto our screens in 1997 when the pilot episode was broadcast. The six main stars were not then household names, although Helen Baxendale, who has also appeared in the American sit-com Friends, was the most well-known.

Cold Feet focuses on the lives of three couples - Adam and Rachel, David and Karen and Pete and Jenny.

And for 60 minutes we are immersed in the comings and goings of their everyday lives.

Those who saw the pilot episode were left in little doubt that it would be a success and that Cold Feet would return for a full series.

But from the start there were the inevitable comparisons between Cold Feet and Friends - although if you avidly watch both you will realise there are very few similarities.

The main difference is that although Cold Feet provides plenty of laughs it is first and foremost a drama.

While the subjects tackled on Friends are usually no more serious than a bad hair day or a clothes crisis, Cold Feet has explored topics as taboo as infertility and testicular cancer.

The characters are also much more believable than the glossy people in Friends, who may be likeable but are difficult to relate to. After all, who spends all day gossiping in a coffee bar or shopping in Bloomingdales?

Filmed in Manchester and Australia, the new series of Cold Feet opens with newly-weds Adam (James Nesbitt) and Rachel (Helen Baxendale) coming to terms with married life and the sad realisation that they cannot have children.

Pete (John Thomson) and Jenny (Fay Ripley) are back together but David (Robert Bathurst) and Karen (Hermione Norris) are struggling to patch up their marriage following his affair.

With the promise of some more strong story lines and the introduction of some new characters, the fourth series of Cold Feet will no doubt be every bit as enjoyable as the previous three.

Cold Feet returns on ITV on Sunday at 9pm.

Who are the stars in Cold Feet

Adam (James Nesbitt) and Rachel (Helen Baxendale) - The relationship between the Irish charmer and his girl has been blighted from the start when a former boyfriend and an abortion threatened to come between them. But they were reunited after he had an operation for testicular cancer. Having now married they are coming to terms with the fact they are unable to have children.

David (Robert Bathurst) and Karen (Hermione Norris) - To the outside world they look like the perfect family.

But Karen's seeth against conformity is compounded with a husband who appears to pay very little attention to her needs. After David's affair the couple are struggling to patch up their marriage.

Pete (John Thomson) and Jenny (Fay Ripley) - When we first met them, Pete and Jenny were happily expecting their first baby. The down-to-earth northern couple did not have the financial trappings or ambitions of David and Karen but they seemed genuinely happy.

But following the birth of their son, Pete embarked on an office affair and their marriage crumbled. He is now still trying to win back the love of his life - Jenny.

CAPTION(S):

COUPLING: The cast of ITV's Cold Feet, ITV's hugely popular bitter-sweet drama back on Sunday Picture: GRANADA
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 14, 2001
Words:620
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