With that title you may well be preparing yourself for a new high-octane medical drama with disaster round every corner. Well, you’d be right about that last part, but the drama is being left behind in this wonderfully silly show about NHS paramedics. After all those Thursdays clapping for them, surely we deserve a little laugh…
Bloods follows the fictionalised paramedic crews of the ‘South London Ambulance Service’, who are impressively bad at their jobs. We begin with cocky lad about town Mareek (Samson Kayo) accidentally defibrillator-ing his colleague Kevin, who has now, quite understandably, buggered off to Thailand to escape him. In need of a new partner, they send in Wendy, played by Jane Horrocks. Now, this being Horrocks, you know what you’re in for – she’s an endlessly cheerful, northern lass who is after a new start in London after divorcing her husband. Naturally, the first thing she did is download Tinder. Go get ‘em, girl.
This is the ideal set up for dirty, stupid humour, and whilst they’re not very good at saving lives, these two are delivering on the jokes. The cultural differences between the pair is fertile ground for gags, too, with Mareek asking if Wendy’s from Emmerdale. And it’s not just these two delivering the laughs laughs – Lucy Punch stars as the flirtatious and outrageous hub commander, and Adrian Scarborough – who played Pete Sutcliffe in Gavin and Stacey – is there to poke fun at too, with the unit taking the mickey out of him being completely forgettable.
Whilst Bloods never quite reaches a knee-slapping, crying level of laughter, we think it’s still worth a watch. Critics are quite quick to dismiss comedy shows that aren’t making some big statement, or using razor sharp humour, but sometimes you just want something easy to pop on and have a giggle at. And this show is just that – with a stellar cast of British comedy brilliance, and Samson Kayo in particular showing he’s got funny in his bones, this is a great watch, and super digestible at only twenty minutes an episode.
The Independent’s Sean O’Grady is with us. He gives Bloods a full five stars and says, “As well as the fine ensemble performances, writers Nathan Bryon and Paul Dolan deserve special recognition for making Bloods even greater than the sum of its parts. It’d be nice if, in due course, Bafta gave Bloods a bit of a clap.” However The Telegraph’s Anita Singh isn’t so sure, whilst she praises Kayo who she says “has great comic timing,” she thinks “the show also feels as if it’s slightly hedging its bets to reach a wider audience, and that Horrocks should be in another show entirely. Lord, her character is grating.” It seems that Lucy Mangan of The Guardian is in agreement, saying “I find Horrocks’s perky, quirky shtick quite effortful and exhausting, but I am aware that I am in the minority.”
So, it seems the conclusion we can draw is, as long as you’re down for a dose of cheerful comedy, then this show is well worth a go.
First shown May 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.