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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 23:03 GMT
Cold Feet ends on plaintive note

by Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Cold Feet cast
The series began in 1997
Popular comedy drama Cold Feet bowed out with its final ever episode on Sunday evening.

Good drama needs good characters.

Luckily, Cold Feet has been blessed with great characters and over the course of six series has been great drama.

Great, because the six main characters have been taken sympathetically and skilfully by the actors through the whole gamut of situation and feeling.

The final episode of the ITV series, however, did not match the highest standards it had set, despite writer Mike Bullen's assertion that it was the best script he had written.

But writing a final, final episode is always quite tricky because the temptation is to neatly tie up all the loose ends, and give the series a warm and cuddly conclusion.

Rachel died in a car crash
Adam's grief is the focus of final episode
And killing off Rachel in the penultimate episode forced much of Bullen's hand.

Clearly, the last ever episode was never going to be a happy ever after scenario and nor should it have been.

Adam, Karen, David, Pete, Jo and the returning Jenny had to cope with Rachel's death and the first half of the last episode gave no hint that the whole series was about to end.

But that is because Cold Feet has never been a deliberately self-conscious programme like Friends.

The episode was like all of those that went before it - shifting between light and shade, humour and tragedy.

Bullen's skill has always been to make us laugh one moment and then shift the tone down to tragedy and make us feel guilty we had ever found something funny in the first place.

Rachel's death is no different. At one moment we are grieving over the loss of a friend, the next laughing at Pete's church eulogy: "She owes me a tenner."

Much of the storyline about grief has been seen in other dramas before.

Rachel appears as a ghost-like memory, ashes get knocked over, old phone messages get played again and again, old clothes become hard to throw out and Adam goes into denial.

Jenny (Fay Ripley)
Jenny's pregnancy leaves a question mark
There is more than just a touch of Truly Madly Deeply to proceedings.

The plot devices may not be that original but they work because we trust and know the characters. Cold Feet has always been eminently watchable.

But there is a distinct feeling of being rushed through the final 90 minutes and one could almost sense Bullen and the actors racing to the end, embracing the final moments.

Everyone involved in Cold Feet knows that the time is up and there is a thankful lack of sentimentality to proceedings.

The final 30 minutes of the programme feels like an unnecessary coda, though.

The friends all troop off to Portmeirion to scatter Rachel's ashes and the drama gives a big nod to films The Big Chill and Peter's Friends.

Loose ends are left trailing nicely at the conclusion, although some viewers may yearn for more resolution.

Jenny's pregnancy, David and Karen's ongoing divorce and Adam's grieving are left in abeyance, teasingly so.

"I don't want to say goodbye to her," says Adam, and we know what he means.

We don't want to say goodbye to Cold Feet but nothing lasts forever, and nothing really should.

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