Sam Campbell

Sam Campbell

Absurdist Australian comedian who won the award for Most Outstanding Show at the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018, two years after winning the Director’s Choice award at the same event
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Bloods

TV review of Sky's new comedy with Samson Kayo and Jane Horrocks

For a show that features crack addicts, multi-vehicle pile-ups and a cardiac arrest, Bloods is surprisingly silly.

Sky’s new paramedic sitcom starts with that heart attack, and co-creator Samson Kayo’s character Maleek accidentally zapping colleague Kevin (Ghost’s Kiel Smith-Bynoe) with the defibrillator. That pretty much sets the the tone for this over-the-top comedy…

After Kevin understandably decides to move on, Maleek is teamed with Jane Horrocks’s Wendy, and so the requisite mismatched partnership is formed. The streetwise South London lone wolf (even if his self-image is largely a delusion built on insecurity) reluctantly sharing his ambulance a homely, naive, and overly-friendly middle-aged divorcee from Nottingham.

It’s a strong comic contrast, grounding the smart-talking Maleek with a more motherly presence. Though don’t go delving too deeply into the characterisation or plotting: their call-outs are essentially a series of sketches, starting with Wendy’s inappropriately cheery interactions with ‘Crackhead John’, as played by Dustin Demri-Burns in fine, swivel-eyed, spaced-out form. Gritty urban drama, this ain’t.

Instead, Bloods comes out with its comedy sirens blaring, an ensemble cast enthusiastically throwing various comic styles into the heady mix. As the adoring partners Darrel and Darryl, Sam Campbell and Kevin Garry (below) are real scene-stealers, the intensity of their affection adding offbeat surrealism to Maleek and Wendy’s broader quirkiness.

Bloods Darrel and Darryl

Meanwhile, there’s cringe from the clumsy flirtations of hub commander Jo (Lucy Punch), barely concealing her longing for Julian Barrett’s Laurence behind unconvincing faux-laddish banter. He, gloomily mourning his wife, picks up on none of it. However these pained interactions don’t fit so well with the breezy vim of the rest of the half-hour.

For overall there’s a vibrancy to the throwaway one-liners, zinging slang  and brisk pace that gives Bloods the energy of a British Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s not yet as tight as its American police-precinct cousin, but is certainly fresh enough and funny enough for those seeking broad, uncomplicated laughs.

• Bloods is on Sky One at 10pm tonight.

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Published: 5 May 2021

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Sam Campbell: The Last Dreamer


Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Sam Campbell: The Trough


Edinburgh Fringe 2021

Sam Campbell: Companion


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