Bloods, episode 1 review: Samson Kayo outshines Jane Horrocks in this odd-couple comedy
Bloods (Sky One) is an enjoyably silly odd-couple comedy about paramedics, with a star turn from Samson Kayo (from BBC Three’s Famalam). He plays Maleek, whom we first saw accidentally electrocuting his partner with a defibrillator. Maleek is rubbish at his job, a fact he refuses to acknowledge.
With one partner down, Maleek needed another one, and she arrived in the form of Wendy. If I tell you that Wendy is played by Jane Horrocks, you’ll know what to expect. She’s northern and quirky and an eternal optimist, and having her character arrive “from out of the area” means she can just do her own accent.
The series is set in London and has an urban feel (“Now I’ll show you what the battlefield looks like,” Maleek says, taking Wendy to a dodgy estate), and fun is had with the culture clash between the two leads. “Where you from anyway? Emmerdale?” he asked. “You are a long way from Brookside now, you know.” I realise this doesn’t sound very funny written down, but it’s funny when Kayo delivers it. He has great comic timing and the character has a freshness.
But 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. She tells a crackhead: “What did you take all that crack for, you silly billy?” and describes two scrotes who she spies making a hoax phone call to the ambulance service as “naughty nuggets”. I’m not sure if your sympathies are supposed to be with Maleek in this pairing, but mine were.
The rest of the cast are a mixed bag. Sam Campbell and Kevin Garry are entertainingly off-the-wall as a pair of paramedics with an oddly intense bond. Julian Barratt is nicely Eeyore-ish as a tragic colleague. But Lucy Punch – so good as the uber-mum in Motherland – fails to land any gags as their awkward boss.
In general, though, the tone works – the paramedics attend drugs overdoses and grisly road traffic accidents and the humour is just dark enough.