Cold Feet (ITV, Mondays, 9pm) is back, and as reassuringly warm and golden as ever. It’s an incredible series really, in that it makes Manchester look as green and bucolic as a forest glade, and the interiors could have come from a John Lewis catalogue.
At first glance, you could say the same of the plotlines, about friendship and love – as blandly reassuring as one of those painted wooden signs reading ‘live, laugh, love’ you might see in your neighbour’s kitchen.
But the thing with Cold Feet is that the warm fuzzies are used to sweeten a bitter pill – grief, depression, alcoholism or redundancy.
Now Pete’s wife Jenny (Fay Ripley) has just finished treatment for breast cancer.
A cause for celebration, as the opening scenes of this ninth series make clear.
“You’re done with cancer now love,” says Pete’s mum, but as anyone who has been through it, or knows someone who has been through it, you’re never totally done with cancer.
And that’s what Cold Feet understands so well. Cancer has far-reaching ramifications which continue long after treatment has stopped. Jenny’s hair has thinned or fallen out due to chemo, so she wears a wig. She’s always tired, her libido’s gone and her tastebuds are shot.
Her family, meanwhile, are battling to stay positive, as the spectre of cancer’s return hangs over their heads. And Pete (John Thomson) has no one to turn to when he wants to vent.
These are all aspects of cancer you don’t often see in TV drama, but it’s not grim, it’s just what Cold Feet does – it has a calm acceptance that life is a bit rubbish sometimes, no matter how good it may seem from the outside.
And in that realisation, it’s more heart-warming and life-affirming than any ‘seize the day’ meme.
New drama Deadwater Fell (Channel 4, Fridays, 9pm) kicked off last week with a terrific scene-setting first episode, full of secrets and lies. It has a lot of promise, and should keep you gripped.
Exposed: The Church’s Darkest Secret (BBC2, Tues/Weds, 9pm) was a forensic examination of a cover-up of sexual abuse in the Church of England. Shocking, and an absorbing watch.