‘I feel like an absentee in my own life!’ Cold Feet actress Hermione Norris on why she struggles working away from home

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  • We’re delighted to see Cold Feet is back again, along with one of our favourite actresses, Hermione Norris. She’s been a regular fixture on our TV screens in a wide variety of shows, from Spooks to Wire in the Blood and Luther.

    But it’s her role as Karen in the hit ITV show that has really found a place in our hearts. And it’s hard to believe it’s been 23 years since she first appeared in Cold Feet because Hermione, now 52, doesn’t seem to have aged a day!

    But she’s the first to admit she finds her busy career and home life a challenge to juggle. She’s just finished a lengthy period working away from her home in Dorset, where she lives with her husband, TV writer and producer Simon Wheeler, and their two children, Wilf, 15, and Hero, 12.

    ‘I’ve been away maybe nine or 10 months,’ she reveals to our sister publication Woman’s Weekly. ‘I was in Australia for almost five months filming a series called Between Two Worlds. Then I headed straight to Manchester to film Cold Feet for 12 weeks! The time just disappears – you’re like an absentee in your own life! When I was in Australia, the family came out to stay for a while. As a working mum, you’re just running everywhere. I’m sure it’s how every mum feels, like you’re everywhere and nowhere.’

    Cold Feet was away from our screens for 13 years, between 2003 and 2016, and you may think the cast, including Fay Ripley, John Thomson and Robert Bathurst, would find it challenging to reprise their roles having not seen each other for so long.

    READ MORE: Cold Feet star Fay Ripley reveals why her current storyline makes her cry

    Hermione Norris and Simon Wheeler

    Hermione Norris with her husband Simon Wheeler | Credit: Getty

    But Hermione reveals it wasn’t an issue. She says, ‘It’s a weird thing – time expands and contracts. You don’t notice it if you’re just going about your business but there’s something about regrouping. You get everyone together and you read a script, and it’s just all there. The history, you just get it.’

    Like Hermione and James Nesbitt, their characters Karen and Adam have always been ‘just friends’, and they were as shocked as the viewers when they discovered the writers were linking them romantically. And as her character Karen’s relationship deepened with James’ character, Adam, she reveals it has inevitably led to more on-screen kissing and intimacy.

    But Hermione takes it all in her stride, saying, ‘As an actor, that’s your job. I’ve had quite a lot of it over the years! But I’ve found that those scenes get harder as you get older. It makes you feel quite vulnerable.’

    And with two parents working in TV, Hermione’s children are also unfazed by the kissing scenes. ‘They’ve never known anything else,’ she explains. ‘I think they’ve watched bits and probably cringed, but it’s important for them to know it’s only a job.’

    Hermione thinks the fact they were friends first is the reason their on-screen relationship works so well – as shown in the current series, when Adam is accused of sexual misconduct and Karen leaps to his defence.

    ‘That’s a prime example of their relationship,’ Hermione says. ‘If you didn’t know him before, you’d think, “Oh, what am I getting into?” But it’s the fact she knows who Adam is, and is not intimidated or threatened by that at all. I think the audience is invested in Adam and Karen, and people want the best for them. Wouldn’t it be nice to see two people find joy?’

    Hermione credits the viewers for the success of Cold Feet, with many of us growing up alongside the cast over the past two decades. She says, ‘The audience are measuring where they’re at in their lives against where we are with ours. It’s as much about them sitting there thinking, “Oh, I remember that back in the day,” and who they were, and how they’ve changed. The characters are so relatable, they’re just flawed people trying to find love – and that’s all it is, really.’