Sirens - In The Press
Main News Stories About 'Sirens':
Sirens series one review: dial 999 for comedy
Fusing drama and comedy in the same way that the EMTs' experience combines the surreal with the devastating, Rhys Thomas reveals that the show will go on to push the boundaries more and more as it develops.
Written by Alasdair Morton. On the Box, 11th March 2012
Whether the series will be renewed remains to be seen, but Sirens has a lot to stand up to with its talented cast, headed by two rather influential comedians.
Written by Jay Freeman. Scene Mag, 8th August 2011
Channel 4's newest comedy-drama didn't get the neurons firing, but did put a few fractures in my funnybone.
The Custard TV, 6th August 2011
Sirens paramedic Brian Kellett reveals all
Brian - whose blog and subsequent book, Blood, Sweat and Tea, are the basis of Channel 4's new drama Sirens - says: "You might think the worst moments in my career have come from the terrible car pile-ups or from all the fighting and abusive language. Actually, no. The thing for me was nursing homes."
The Daily Mirror, 29th July 2011
Another classy episode of the drama - mainly because there's more space given to the lovely Maxine. She's told by a date that she should be more "yielding" and thus becomes Stepford. It's nicely done and leads to a brilliant scene with some roast beef.
tvBite, 18th July 2011
Another tale of courageous, essential frontline servicemen and women coping with their baser, animal selves. Tonight, when the anti-maternal boss Woodvine hints that she might break up the cosy paramedic trio, Stuart and Rachid lock horns to see which of them is the alpha male of the group - the cleverest or the biggest? Meanwhile, Ashley seeks out action whenever the opportunity arises, and Maxine, accused of being "unyielding" in the sack by her internet date, is determined to play the submissive female for their next encounter.
David Stubbs, The Guardian, 18th July 2011
The second episode of Brian Fillis's comedy-drama set among Leeds paramedics is really finding its rhythm. Stuart's thus-far platonic relationship with police sergeant Maxine is the most intriguing of the series but this week, he finds himself dating a student and facing stress-related underperformance problems under the duvet. With a studiously mixed cast of characters (gay, Muslim, female, bloke), all doing serious jobs, Sirens successfully gets away with a lot of boisterous laddishness.
David Stubbs, The Guardian, 4th July 2011
Another view on Sirens
Heart massage is probably not best applied via an open wound, as Sirens suggests.
Written by Laura Barnett. The Guardian, 3rd July 2011
Sirens, Channel 4, Monday
The gallows humour of ambulance drivers gets lost in a muddled attempt at a comedy drama.
Written by Robert Epstein. The Independent on Sunday, 3rd July 2011
Rewind TV: Sirens
Sirens' paramedics had this viewer gripped. Could they please now rescue the female roles?
Written by Euan Ferguson. The Observer, 3rd July 2011
Before we turn to the hellish mess that is Sirens, it's worth reminding ourselves what Channel 4 is meant to do. When the channel first went on air in 1982, its remit required it to provide a broad range of programmes which demonstrate innovation, experiment and creativity. A lot of ideals have disappeared down the plughole since then, and with them have gone most - perhaps all - of C4's reason to exist.
And so to Sirens, a new drama series about paramedics so devoid of innovation, experiment and creativity that my initial whimpers of disbelief had turned into a prolonged groan of despair by the first commercial break. Some flavour of its distinctive non-allure can be gained from the fact that the first words anyone spoke were, "Adrenalin, f---ing adrenalin."
In the speech that followed I counted six "f---s" - and it was a pretty short speech. Now, there's nothing new about having characters say "f---" every other sentence in a wearisome attempt to lend something a measure of street-cred, but I have never seen it done quite so lumpishly and self-consciously.
The main character, Stuart (Rhys Thomas), is a priapic moron with two mouthy sidekicks. Rather than characterise the sidekicks, writer Tony Basgallop had gone instead for a primitive sort of colour-coding - one is Asian while the other is gay. All three are so unpleasant that if they were the first people you saw after coming round from a heart attack, you might well summon up your last reserves of strength to try to knock yourself out again with the defibrillator paddle.
The first episode was called 'Up, Horny, Down'. This refers to the mood swings that apparently are a feature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - first you're exhilarated, then randy, then blue. Being possessed, I hope, of a reasonably compassionate nature - and also having no desire to recall any more of Sirens than necessary - I'll confine myself to noting that one scene involved Stuart trying to pee with an erection and splashing all the toiletries on his bathroom shelf. It went on in similar vein for 50 minutes and then, clearly aware that something climactic was required, loosed off a thrillingly bold "c---" just before the end credits.
John Preston, The Telegraph, 2nd July 2011
Comedy-drama Sirens hit the ground running, introducing its trio of protagonist paramedics at a particularly bloody and destructive road traffic accident. Wildly improvising, and in contravention of all medical protocols, the series' narrator Stuart performs open heart massage and saves the life of a passenger.
The hospital counsellor warns them to expect violent mood swings following such an intense adrenaline rush, a syndrome Stuart dismisses as "Up, Horny, Down", thoughtfully providing episode one with its title.
It was an incredibly exciting set up, but the writer got irretrievably stuck on the horny part of his theme, sending our priapic paramedics into a world of instantly accessible casual sex, cavorting like Robin Askwiths at a Confessions Of retrospective. That one of the trio is actively and enthusiastically gay provides the only concession to the passage of time.
The show's potential had evaporated by the second ad break, leaving behind a tiresome, immature and emotionally dishonest lads' mag, macho fantasy. Even the supposedly plain policewoman is played by a patently attractive actress.
The Stage, 28th June 2011
Sirens, Monday 10pm, Channel 4
After (relative) successes like Teachers and No Angels, Sirens is the latest Channel 4 comedy drama to point the spotlight on people with important jobs who may not always be as professional as we'd hope. However, this tale of cheeky paramedics was pretty much dead on arrival.
Written by Tom Murphy. The Orange TV Blog, 28th June 2011
I love black comedies. The bleaker and the more tasteless, the better. The Thick of It, Pulling, Getting On, Nurse Jackie. So Sirens, a "comedy drama" based on real-life paramedic Tom Reynolds's blog, looked alluring. Bring on the gallows humour!
It turns out to be a queasy mixture of sentimentality and sexism, spattered with the kind of knuckle-dragging gags last seen in Confessions of a Window Cleaner.
Example: a sexy gas-meter reader has to reach for her ID, which just happens to be tucked in her inside pocket, right near her ample, exposed cleavage. Come on, that kind of thing was dated in 1973.
I have no idea who Sirens, which follows three young male paramedics, is aimed at. Definitely not teens; they don't have the patience. Young men? Maybe; there are gags about erections and masturbation, and the weariest, most aged visual "joke" about a certain sex act that is so spent it's a museum piece.
But then maybe it's aimed at old men. Or tree frogs. Or Pekinese dogs. Who knows? But it should be better. It should be funnier. It should be sharper. It's unforgivable.
Alison Graham, Radio Times, 27th June 2011
Brrraapp. Can you hear the sirens coming? This is a clever Dizzee Rascal reference, that doesn't mean much but allows us to mention that Sirens can be added to the long list of TV shows that fail to use pop tunes that could have been created for their themes. Despite that Sirens is utterly brilliant. From the moment that Gary Bellamy begins his sweary narration (and turns off Angry Anderson to the final scene, it's terrific.
Billed comedy drama, which makes it sound like Cold Feet, it's about three people who work as paramedics and it's as dark as it gets, with humour that you imagine gets them through the awful mess that they work in the driving force. It's sweary, fun, sexy and bizarre. If we're splitting hairs, Gary Bellamy's performance is so understated it barely feels like he's there and Kayvan Novak still feels like he could be the best comic actor of his generation, if he just got on with it (stop dicking about with Facejacker Novak). But these are quibbles so minor, they're barely little quibblets. Just watch it.
tvBite, 27th June 2011
Sirens is a dire, dreary sitcom about three spectacularly charmless ambulance drivers.
Rhys Thomas of Bellamy's People and Fonejacker's Kayvan Novak are able comic performers, but they're all at sea in this virtually jokeless cauldron of mediocrity.
With its unedifying mix of crass sex jokes, gruesome imagery and ham-fisted "pathos", it's a tonal train-wreck. It's also stretched to breaking point at an hour, when its barren dialogue and slim plot (lazily derived from Seinfeld's infamous masturbation episode) couldn't sustain even half that time. If you're a young male who finds the very idea of turgidity amusing, knock yourself out. Otherwise, run for the hills.
Paul Whitelaw, The Scotsman, 27th June 2011
It started life in 2003 as a blog by London ambulance technician Brian Kellett.
Back then, his musings on the job were entitled Random Acts of Reality. It became a book, Blood, Sweat and Tea, a radio play and now it's been turned into a TV series.
Even before it's aired here in Britain, an American version is already in the pipeline.
Written by Tony Basgallop, (Teachers, Hotel Babylon) this comedy drama is a strangely schizophrenic production.
On the one hand it seems to be straining to be a rude Channel 4 sitcom, filled with the usual quota of very bad language and sex scenes both gay and straight.
The opening line, "One female, mid-20s, looks like a slightly older Miley Cyrus...", played out against the medical drama cliche of slo-mo heroes and a lush ballad on the soundtrack, certainly leads you to expect the rest of the episode to be just as funny.
But it's also got a psychology textbook in its back pocket plus a brain and a conscience - three things that get in the way of comedy.
Our trio of paramedics, Stuart, Ashley and Rachid, played by Rhys Thomas, Richard Madden and Kayvan Novak, have attended a bad road-traffic accident and have been sent for counselling.
Warned of the mood swings that adrenaline coursing through their bodies will cause, Stuart decides to fight it - just to prove that he's more than a bunch of chemical reactions.
How much of tonight's first episode is based on real life is debatable, but it you want to wade through eight years of blogs to find out, then by all means, be my guest.
Jane Simon, The Daily Mirror, 27th June 2011
Older Press Clippings