Hermione Norris Interview (Series 8)

This interview was conducted prior to series eight.

Is it always a leap of faith making another series of Cold Feet?

You are always concerned about a new series. Not wanting to harm something I care about very much. But I think this is one of the strongest series we’ve made to date.


Cold Feet isn’t about any individual character. It’s about the six of them as a whole. All of us have invested 20 years in these characters.


The onus is always on our writer Mike Bullen every time. He has the raw ingredients in the characters and it is all down to the writing and what happens within that dynamic. That’s what is going to make or break it. 


We haven’t changed as a cast. We just do what we do as actors. But Mike really does have the pressure of keeping things relevant, current and real.


Does the march of time in Cold Feet still surprise you?

Karen and David’s (Robert Bathurst) twins Olivia (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Ellie (Sylvie Briggs) celebrate their 18th birthday in this series having been born in the third series. So it does come as a surprise to me.


That’s the thing about Cold Feet. Revisiting Cold Feet more than any other experience in my life makes time expand and contract. I’m often caught up on set when I look at the others and think how long we have been doing this now.


Does Karen face more parenting challenges?

There are some parenting challenges for Karen in this series. It’s an education looking at some things teenagers can get involved with today. Teenagers are dealing with so many different things now. As parents we’re basically parenting in the dark because we didn’t have social media, mobile phones, computers and all of those things. 


You have a blueprint as a parent of what you experienced when you were young. But when you haven’t had to navigate your way through social media and all of the consequences - good and bad - of that it’s quite challenging as a parent.


Adam talks to Karen about his fears of growing old. Do you worry about that?

I don’t worry because it’s an inevitability. I can’t do anything about growing old. I am aware that I have a limited window of full capacity and I want to embrace that fully and live in the joy. I really am aware of that. I just want to find the joy. Not in anything grand. But just in everyday living. Really appreciate it.


Who knows how long you have left? 20 years? 20 Christmases? 20 Easters? That will just go. When you have children you know how fast that goes. The thing is, I don’t want to go on and on. I’m not interested in long life. I’m interested in really good life. Allow me to see my children up and running with their partners. I do think about all of those things.


We see some old footage of the characters on screen. How did that make you feel?

It made me cry watching that old footage of us all. All that youth and hope. All of that Naivete with all of that life in front of you.


Karen is compared to Lauren Bacall in one scene and described as ‘effortlessly elegant’. What was your reaction to that?

I felt a little embarrased. Really? I did think Mike Bullen was taking the mickey. I don’t think of myself as effortlessly elegant. You don’t think about yourself like that. But Mike was very complimentary about Karen through the words of another character.


What were some of the other highlights for you?

Paul Ritter returns as Karen’s business partner Benjamin Stevens. I love Paul Ritter and I love working with him. I think he’s a comedy genius. His physical comedy is just brilliant.


We also have Paul Kaye playing a vicar called Dan. I’ve worked with Paul before. Another lovely actor and lovely man. 


Karen gets involved with helping at the church charity mission. That’s a nod back to old Cold Feet. Karen had quite a social conscience and political passion. That’s obviously all gone by the wayside with raising a family, single parenting and all the rest of it.


But with what happens to David, who is really down on his luck in this series, it brings home the priorities in life. Doing a little to help. Doing what you can to help within your community. Not great grand things but just going to help.


David’s storyline is a very relevant story about how quickly someone can find themselves in trouble. It’s too quick, too easy for people to fall off the radar.


Does adversity bring the important things in life into focus?

Any kind of adversity that one experiences brings your priorities home to you. Illness, homelessness, losing a job, any kind of crisis, a death. It’s adversity that makes you appreciate what you have and what matters.


The cast filmed scenes set at a music festival. Was that fun to shoot?

The festival episode was my favourite episode. I loved everyone being out and about out of context but all together. I thought there were really strong storylines. Comedy and tragedy and all the rest of it. A really well-balanced episode. But off-screen music festivals are not my thing really.


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