Warm hearts, cold feet: What critics made of ITV’s big family reunion

David Marsden [Robert Bathurst], Adam Williams [James Nesbitt], Karen Marsden [Hermione Norris], Jenny Gifford [Fay Ripley] and Pete Gifford [John Thomson].
David Marsden [Robert Bathurst], Adam Williams [James Nesbitt], Karen Marsden [Hermione Norris], Jenny Gifford [Fay Ripley] and Pete Gifford [John Thomson].
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Cold Feet received a warm reception from critics as it returned to television screens after more than a decade.

The cast, who last appeared together in the drama in 2003, were back in Manchester where it all began - bringing what was hailed as a comforting familiarity to fans.

Critics were in apparent agreement that the latest episode was the right balance between nods to the past and a plot to move the series forward.

It was a “triumphant return”, according to The Sun’s Andy Halls, who said the show succeeds because it is based on “normal people - that the audience can relate to - being honest, touching and very funny”.

There was a feeling of relief among many, who said the episode lived up to the high standards set for its return.

Michael Hogan for the Daily Telegraph asked and answered: “Could the old magic be recaptured with this heavily hyped comeback? Largely, yes.”

Fans who thought the show should have been left in the past will delight in being proved wrong, said The Times’s James Jackson.

“We didn’t think we wanted Cold Feet back, but perhaps we needed it,” wrote Jackson. “It’s a comfort blanket for the middle-aged.”

Writer Mike Bullen was lauded for declining to put out a simple reboot, instead addressing the characters with care and attention in their older years, according to The Guardian.

Sam Wollaston said: “Bullen - and the cast - tackle the challenge with the same wit and warmth and humanness that they did last time out.

“It is a relief, then, that something that could have been a really bad idea isn’t.”

Watching the latest episode was like becoming reacquainted with old friends, the Daily Mail said, forgiving the plot for sometimes straying “into sheer fantasy”.

Christopher Stevens wrote: “Cold Feet is a show to be enjoyed for the emotions it evokes: the overriding one was a wave of warmth at meeting old friends, people we thought we’d never see again.”

Compared with other programmes resurrected from yesteryear, Cold Feet has the advantage of timelessness to see it through, said Matt Baylis in the Daily Express.

He said: “It was about friends and couples, something universal, with no sell-by date.”

Cold Feet was an immediate hit with viewers, with an average audience of 6.1 million and a peak of 6.6 million.

It had an audience share of 29% in the competitive 9pm slot.

The figures include those catching up on ITV+1, but it still smashed the competition as the second-best programme at the same time was BBC One’s Crimewatch, with over three million fewer viewers.

Crimewatch was seen by 2.7 million and scored an audience share of 13%, but these numbers do not account for catch-up viewers.

An episode from series four of drama series Ripper Street on BBC Two managed 1.8 million viewers and an 8.6% share of the audience.