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TV's coolest Brits warm their feet in Aussie sand

Date: 07/10/2001
Words: 504
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: News
Page: 45
IT'S tough to get cold feet on Sydney's favourite beaches, but Britain's biggest TV stars are giving it their best shot.

Cast members from the hit series Cold Feet began filming an episode in Sydney last week, in locations including the northern beaches and Sydney Harbour.

The comedy/drama about three middle-class couples in their 30s has been phenomenally successful in the UK, with average audiences of about 10million. The series began screening here on Channel 7 last year and has attracted a cult following in Australia.

Leading actors including James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst (who rank among the highest-paid television stars in the UK) will be in Sydney for the next fortnight filming an Australian episode for the fourth series of Cold Feet.

They have been joined on the set by Australian actors including Gary Sweet and Kimberley Joseph (who play father and daughter in the episode).

``The British and Australian cast members are already getting along famously," said Mike Bullen, the writer and creator of the show.

``As soon as I realised the quality of the actors here, I was determined to write a spin-off show for Gary Sweet, but we're keen to get this episode done first."

Joseph was chosen as a regular cast member of Cold Feet earlier this year and this is her first visit to Australia since working on episodes for the show in Manchester.

The Sydney-based episode of Cold Feet is a joint production between Granada Television and Channel 7, and will screen here early next year. The storyline of the episode remains a closely guarded secret, but it is expected to attract huge ratings in the UK when it screens later this year as a Christmas special.

Bullen was the main driver behind the decision to bring Cold Feet to Sydney, and he visited Australia in March to choose locations for the show.

``Basically, I wanted another holiday in Australia, so I brought the whole cast over here with me," he said, with a laugh.

``But we've been blown away by the reaction to the show from Australian fans, and Sydney is always very popular among viewers back home."

Episodes for other leading UK shows including The Bill have been filmed in Sydney, to capitalise on Australia's popularity among television fans.

But this is the first time Cold Feet has been filmed anywhere outside Britain, and Bullen said his greatest challenge was tackling Australian slang in the script.

``I really wanted to go beyond `no worries' and `she'll be right mate'," he said.

``We've asked most of the local actors to improvise with their own sayings, to make sure we get it right."

The show's leading woman, Helen Baxendale, was unable to fly to Australia because she is in the late stages of pregnancy.

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