Back in 2001 Fay Ripley (aged 50) wanted her Cold Feet character to be killed off. “I left in series four when Jenny moved to New York and returned in the final episode of series five, the last one we filmed,” she recalls.
“Leaving Cold Feet was an ‘interesting’ decision. Looking back I wonder what I was thinking. I was advised not to leave, but I’d met my husband and was excited about the life I was going to lead. I’d asked Cold Feet creator and writer Mike Bullen to kill me off because I wanted a big, dramatic dying scene, but he refused. I came back at the end because they asked me to. I was nostalgic for the show and delighted to do so.
“What I hadn’t thought about was that 13 years later it was going to be really handy that I did come back – and now I’m very grateful for not having been killed off!”
What was it like coming together with fellow ‘Cold Feeters’ James Nesbitt, John Thomson, Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris after 13 years?
“I was very nervous. I thought it might be hard but within a minute it was the same – like stepping back in time. It’s that familiarity of bumping into someone you used to know really well years ago. It literally felt like it was five minutes’ since the last time. Nothing had changed – although of course Helen Baxendale isn’t there because her character, Rachel, died at the end of the fifth series in 2003.
"Being together again was like going to a friends’ barbecue where you turn up and you’re slightly dreading it, but it’s lovely and you don’t remember being away, only the jokes they laugh at and why you find them funny. It all happened shockingly quickly when we got back together.”
Fay says this easy, familiar relationship is invaluable when it comes to working with her co-stars again.
“We do have a kind of shorthand and that’s very handy. When you start a new job, you’re generally on your best behavior and very polite but we didn’t do any of that. It’s a family – you can just come out and say if you’ve a headache or the menopause is giving you gyp!”
Thirteen years is a long time so how does Fay think she’s changed in that time?
“My priorities have changed – it’s inevitable as you get older,” she replies. “You care less about certain things and more about others. Having kids forces you into the modern world. I also feel 50 is a very interesting age – although it may be particularly confusing for men as we women take over the universe! When it comes to work, we’re more relaxed; we get on with it, have a bit of a laugh and then a nice cup of Earl Grey tea!”
Fay is delighted that this series of Cold Feet has been so well received.
“Everyone’s being so lovely about it. I think people recognise parts of themselves in it. It charms and makes you chuckle in the way real life does. When you fall over you want to cry, but you also want to laugh because you look so ridiculous. It looks at life, acknowledges it, then cuts through it and sees the funny side.”
Will she do another series if the opportunity arises? “In this day and age you don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, but it would be nice to do it again because we had a great time making it.” And we’re having a great time watching it.
Did you know...?
- After Cold Feet, Fay became known for her tempting recipes and released three cookery books: Fay's Family Food, What's for Dinner and Fay Makes it Easy
- Cold Feet is on ITV, Mondays 9pm
- Words and interview by Alison James
- For more star chat, grab the latest issue of Yours.