Last week there were reports that both the “historical” comedy Blackadder and the relationship dramedy Cold Feet might be returning to our TV screens. If you’re like me, your original reaction is “Yes, please!” But after thinking about it for a few seconds, I’ve come to believe one must tread carefully when it comes to bringing back a beloved and popular series. Let’s think this through.
First off, before we get all excited, are these entertainment news blurbs mere speculation or is there some concrete support behind bringing these shows back? Just because Sir Tony Robinson (Baldrick) told The Sun tabloid, “I do think a new series of Blackadder is on the cards. I have spoken to virtually all the cast about this now.” What’s that mean anyway? I’ve run into my co-stars and we’ve all agreed it would be fun to get the gang back together?
Tony Robinson as Baldrick
image credit BBC
Besides which since this original statement Robinson has back pedaled when he spoke to the Radio Times. “Journalists often ask if there’s going to be another series of Blackadder, and how does anyone know that? That’s up to the people who run channels, and not performers. But when they say that, I guess I have a renewed affection for how we all were in those days. But it was in those days, rather than these days.”
In addition, there’s not been a peep from the BBC or any other network about plans to revive Blackadder, nor any corroborating responses from the other cast members. If Blackadder himself, Rowan Atkinson, or the show’s writers Richard Curtis and Ben Elton had been the ones announcing a probable return, I would give it more credence.
As for the return of Cold Feet an “insider” told the Daily Mail “Cold Feet is coming back, the deal is very nearly done. Filming will begin early next year and the new series will be ready to go by next spring.” Every article I’ve read from the Telegraph, Daily Express and Independent suggest ITV has plans to slide the rebooted show into the coveted Downton Abbey time slot. The only official word I can find from the network, however, is an unnamed spokesperson who says in every article, “This is speculation as there’s always so much interest in a Cold Feet reunion.”
Cold Feet cast
image credit Granada Television
And as far as the cast are concerned, back in January of 2014 Fay Ripley who played Jenny told the Radio Times. “All the actors have always said we would do it again, but I think that might have changed now. We have all taken a long, cold look in the mirror and we have said it’s just going to be awful. There was a point when we would all do it but now I think we just have to put it to bed.” Done deal? I’m not so sure.
The other question is, of course, should these programs be resurrected? There’s always the worry that a new run of a much admired series will not only be rubbish, but could ruin our opinion of the original. Sort of like when I watched the the simulcast of Monty Python’s final performance of their farewell tour. I felt a strange mixture of joy (in seeing my comedy heroes perform some of their most famous sketches) and loss (in knowing my that the last time they did those skits they were septuagenarians who weren’t at their witty, edgy best).
That could be the case with Blackadder since it has gained a cult status of sorts, drawing fans who weren’t even born when the comedy first aired in the 1980’s. If they don’t do this right, it could blemish the fond memories of all of us who quote Blackadder to this day. Only if they can assemble all the major players, choose the right time period for the series and come up with script with classic gags like this one from Blackadder Goes Forth should this cunning plan go forward.
I fear Cold Feet would not fare as well. There are some series that are a perfect fit for their time, but don’t work in a different decade. A dozen years have passed since Cold Feet went off the air. Dream sequences, the issues of thirty somethings and the honest comedy/tragedy of relationships may well have been the magical formula for a millennial era series.
The question is how will today’s TV viewer accustomed to gritty cop shows, satirical mockumentaries complete with talking heads, brilliant yet aloof private detectives and, yes, the sweeping grandeur of landed families and their servants receive a Cold Feet reboot?
I’m not even sure where this dramedy would pick up. In a show about three relationships, one of the main characters died in the final series. The other two couples’ marriages ended in divorce. Under what circumstances would these people come back together? I’m not one to turn down the chance to see James Nesbitt in anything; however, in the end I believe Cold Feet would have to transform into a whole new show to be interesting and relevant. And if that’s the case, why revive it at all?
How do you feel about the possible resuscitation of Blackadder and Cold Feet? Would you like to see the casts reunited or do you believe we should let good shows remain in the past where they can increase in our esteem?