Review: Bloods, paramedics you wont be clapping on your doorstep
As with, Nick Mohammed’s, Intelligence there is a fundamental flaw with Bloods, namely the incompetence of the main characters. Just as the group at GCHQ would not have held down their jobs, neither would Maleek and Wendy have stayed in post as ambulance paramedics. In fact how did Wendy (Jane Horrocks) get the job in the first place. Her back story is:
“Newly separated from her husband, Wendy has moved from Nottingham to London to make a fresh start. Freed from a dull domestic life, she’s determined to meet new and interesting people and will talk to anyone.”
Not to be too much of a buzz kill but it takes three to four years full time study to be a paramedic: so how does that work for her then?
In an interview for Sky One, Samson Kayo the show’s co-creator and excellent male lead, said:
“The main energy, and it was so key for me, was to make sure that we don’t make the NHS paramedics look as if they don’t know how to do their job. We really take that seriously, especially in these tough times. Maleek, he could have been a useless paramedic that’s always getting things wrong but he’s not. He’s actually really good at what he does.”
Good? Really! He’s so good at his job that he ‘electrocutes’ his partner with a defibrillator, glues a crack addict’s arm to his own, doesn’t spot a man on fire with the consequence that the man’s skin melts. Maleek is a kind of Frank Spencer meets Mr Bean lurching from one good intentioned disaster to another. Far from the character that Kayo says he set out to achieve.
Then we have the superb Lucy Punch (Motherland) doing a passable impression of David Brent sans the glances to camera whilst she insensitively chats up another colleague, Julian Barratt (Truth Seekers) who is grieving for his late wife (10 years late as it turns out). Adrian Scarborough plays Gary, a paramedic of 20 years standing, at that ambulance station, but whom, in a running gag, nobody recognises (among the best laughs in the show). He is tasked with on-the-job-training of an overly ambitious hospital patient bus driver, Kareshma (Aasiya Shah). Her patient care is a long way secondary to her sibling rivalry with her ‘twin’ sister and a ruthless desire for top management.
Okay so this is a comedy in which we are required to suspend reality in order to enjoy the jokes, of which, to be fair, there are quite a few. That’s a given. However you won’t need to call the paramedics to stitch your sides, they won’t be splitting, because the scripts, individually written by Nathan Bryron (also co-creator) and Paul Doolan ( Trollied), don’t quite hit the mark.
Sky would appear to have spared no expense on the production and William Sinclair’s extensive experience directing drama may well have saved this from becoming a farce in more frivolous hands.
All six episodes of the first series are in the can now, in fact all available for viewing, so it’s too late to administer palliative care but the demands for programme output volume is so great these days that this series is unlikely to get a DNR notice. So maybe, just maybe, with some expert surgery it can be brought back from the brink.