In terms of debunking vital public services, the recent series Wellington Paranormal has it comparatively easy. Kiwi police officers Minogue and O’Leary keep it strictly professional while dealing with such incidents as a domestic dispute between werewolves. The zany paramedics in Bloods, by contrast, are quipping their way through drug overdoses, traffic accidents, severe burns and lonely suicides. I’m not saying this scenario has zero comic potential; just that the laughs come trickier.
Despite his supreme confidence in his own ability, Maleek (Samson Kayo) poses as much of a risk to his colleagues as he does patients. Although he claims Kevin had “bare other reasons” for transferring, Maleek did almost kill his last partner with a poorly deployed defibrillator. Maleek is not best pleased to be paired with perky Wendy, recently transferred from Emmerdale, or is it Byker Grove? (I’ll leave it to wiser heads than mine to assess Jane Horrocks’ Nottingham accent.)
Wendy rises to the challenge of the “next level war zone” she’ll be working in, and hardly notices the chaos at the dysfunctional unit led by “hub commander” Jo (Lucy Punch). The boss is poorly concealing her intense attraction to paramedic Laurence with a fusillade of insults of which “knob’ead” is the mildest. Since Laurence is played by Julian Barrett, who is to lugubriousness what Mary Berry is to the Victoria sponge, Jo’s flirtatious barbs tend to sink unnoticed in a quagmire of gloom.
Also on the team are instantly forgettable biscuit-eater Gary (Adrian Scarborough), eerily intense life and work partners Darrel and Darryl (Sam Campbell and Kevin Garry), who time heart compressions to George Ezra songs, and Machiavellian Kareshma (Aasiya Shah). She’s been fretting on the “bunion bus” — transport for pensioners — but has her sights firmly on Jo’s lofty position. Working with Maleek means Wendy must quickly assimilate a dictionary’s worth of street slang. Summoned to a dodgy estate, he instructs her to “stay in the whip”. A particularly fine semantic exchange occurs when she reveals she’s been having some success on Tinder. “Allow it!” Maleek groans, appalled. “But I did allow it,” she avers.
Better even than finding a “purple plus” (don’t ask) or getting to perform your “lickle Heimlich ting” would be working for the air ambulance (“Let’s eat sky!”), for whom Maleek and Wendy are merely “groundhogs”. (The fire brigade, meanwhile, are the “hose muppets”.) Horrocks and Kayo make a delightful pairing, while Punch and Barrett excel at the comedy of cringe with their endlessly awkward exchanges. However, you’re hardly likely to burst your stitches laughing in the back of this ambulance.
On Sky One from May 5 at 10pm
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