'Cold Feet' 2016: John Thomson Reveals How His Own Depression Battle Helped With Pete Gifford Plot

'Male depression hasn’t been portrayed accurately before, until this.'

10/10/2016 14:29

John Thomson has spoken of how his own mental health struggles have helped him to portray his ‘Cold Feet’ character Pete Gifford’s male depression storyline.

Pete is currently at the centre of an emotional plot, and appeared on ‘This Morning’ to discuss the revived ITV drama on Monday (10 October), which also marked World Mental Health Day. 

Speaking to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, he said: “This is what I’ve gleamed from social media - a lot of people say male depression hasn’t been portrayed accurately before, until this. 

John Thomson appeared on 'This Morning'

“I’ve been depressed. There’s two difference types of depression - there’s clinical depression, which is a chemical imbalance, and there’s circumstantial depression. I’ve suffered circumstantial depression, so I just drew on those personal experiences. But I felt I owed it to Mike [Bullen, the creator and writer] as the master behind that story, to do it as real as possible.”

John also said of playing the heavier moments in the show: “Pete’s always been the foil for the gags, and this time around I think they thought, let’s give John a bit of a challenge with the storyline. And it was a challenge.

“The comedy comes naturally, that’s my pedigree really. So to play this actually was more fun, for want of a better word.”

John's character Pete Gifford (far right) is at the centre of a male depression storyline

Mike Bullen previously revealed how he penned the storyline for Pete based on his own experiences of depression.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “I went through a depression. I couldn’t get off my couch. I want to talk about depression in men in the new series, as it is something that isn’t explored often in drama.”

Mike also admitted that working on ‘Cold Feet’ in the late 90s and early 00s actually caused some of his problems with mental health, when other shows he’d written wouldn’t live up to the show’s success.

“I’d be asked to write something. I’d deliver it and then I’d get these disappointed responses from TV companies saying, ‘But this isn’t a ‘Cold Feet’, is it?’” he explained. 

This Morning’ airs weekdays at 10.30am on ITV. ‘Cold Feet’ continues tonight at 9pm on ITV. 

Useful websites and helplines:
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk
'Cold Feet': Where Are They Now?
Suggest a correction