Interview: Leanne Best Talks About Her Exciting New Role In Cold Feet As The Much-Loved Comedy-Drama Returns
Cold Feet is back! Actress Leanne Best, who some will have seen most recently in The Woman In Black 2, joins the ensemble cast as new character Tina Reynolds. Unsurprisingly, she can’t wait for audiences to see the new series.
“The actors who brought these characters to life have become part of the fabric of great British telly,” says an unashamedly excited Leanne Best. The Liverpool actress, who played the villainous ghost in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death with insidious relish, will appear as new character Tina Reynolds in Cold Feet as the iconic comedy-drama returns to our screens 13 years after its last series.
The influential show, which focused on the lives of three thirtysomething couples who were experiencing ruptures in their serene domesticity just as parenthood was upon them, returns to pick up their stories more than a decade since we last saw them.
Best says the new series will offer fans a familiarity with the characters they’ve missed during its hiatus but feel fresh at the same time. Romance, careers, family and friendships, all those things we could relate to in Cold Feet, the things that made it work so well, will again form the cornerstone of the new episodes.
But 13 years have passed, the world is a different place, people have moved on, they’re in different places professionally and personally. The last series ended with some significant life changes for all the characters so now we get a chance to find out what happened in the aftermath.
Audiences, old and new, are in for a treat. It was a pleasure reading the new material, she tells me. “Sometimes you read a script and you think – this is the character and this is the work I’m doing – but I read Cold Feet and thought this is brilliant: it’s funny, irreverent, moving, I really wanted to be a part of it. It’s a beautifully fleshed out journey that these characters have gone on and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to pick up their stories.”
Best plays Tina, manager of an Airbnb, who enters the life of returning character Adam Williams (James Nesbitt) after he arrives back in England having been overseas. The actress describes her as “warm and lovely but a tad out there” whose own personal ups and downs become a fixture in Adam’s as the series goes on. “Cold Feet being Cold Feet, things don’t go quite to plan,” she adds cunningly.
Perhaps best known for roles in TV’s Home Fires and as Jane Cobden in Ripper Street II and III, Best was recently in the BBC’s fast-paced crime-drama Line of Duty. Some audiences will recognise her from acclaimed Nordic mystery Fortitude too, while theatregoers had the chance to enjoy her talents on stage in Educating Rita in her hometown of Liverpool. But Cold Feet might just be the highlight of her career so far.
“At the risk of sounding too much like a Pollyanna, it really is iconic British telly. I went back and watched them all. You forget just how good they were. In fact, it had such an impact, it changed the way we make and watch telly,” she says.
But that added a bit of pressure, not just to ensure her performance was up to scratch but working with a group of actors who already knew each other so well. “I was absolutely petrified. I had a really surreal moment at the read-through; I thought I’d be alright, I’m one of those people who takes it as it comes and I’m always very enthusiastic and excited to get going on a project, and meet new people.
“I got the address, turned up for the read-through and had a moment of sitting at the table with the rest of the cast and thinking ‘oh s*** I’m in Cold Feet’. Okay, don’t be terrible. But nobody could have been any nicer. Everyone was so welcoming and warm.” The excitement of the returning cast was infectious, she adds.
She wasn’t the only one who had nerves. “Everyone was a bit anxious. I felt like I may keel over at one point. But I was fine after ten minutes and a cup of coffee. It was great.”
She thinks this is the right time for this group of actors to return to the roles that they became so well known for. And she’s eager to find out how all the hard work comes together on screen.
“It’s a little bit like looking through your photos from your holidays and thinking – ‘oh, I don’t like that one’,” she admits when I ask about watching herself on screen. However, what makes Cold Feet so fascinating is the ensemble of characters. “I’m really excited to see what everyone else is doing. They’re all just so good. Jimmy [James Nesbitt] is amazing, as are the entire cast as they know their characters so well and they all bring something special and real to the show.”
When the first episode screens she expects the usual suspects will turn up at her Nan’s to watch. “I’m from Liverpool and have a big, close-knit family. I’m sure everyone will be sat on the sofa round my Nan’s watching it. They’re really excited to see the first episode.”
Cold Feet is back on ITV from Monday Sep 5 at 9pm.