Green Wing meets Coupling in this solid new comedy drama offering from Channel 4 as trio Stuart, Ashley and Rachid struggle to keep their shit together in the face of the realities of life as paramedics.
Following their respective professional and personal rollercoasters we not only get a string of farcical scenarios and droll exchanges, but also an insight into what must be one of the most physically and mentally gruelling professions available.
Whilst realism is not the program’s principle objective, a great deal of the tension and intrigue stems from the various situations each character finds themselves in and how this throws light on their personal story. The shared experiences of their job means the three come to rely on one another more than they know and despite preconceptions they, like the rest of us, are just trying to make it to clock off time.
Central character, old timer Stuart (Rhys Thomas) is flanked by the reserved Ashley (the ever impressive Richard Madden of HBO Game of Thrones fame) and of course Kayvan Novak perfecting his popular dopey guise.
Never failing to completely absorb himself into his many personas, rarely do we get a chance to see one character developed beyond the brief – albeit fantastic – Facejacker sketches. That exploration provides real appeal in feature film Four Lions and now Sirens. Stuart and friend Maxine’s (Amy Beth Hayes) will they/wont they relationship provides some light relief as do Rachid bizarre sexual habits…
The humour is polished and balances well with the drama plot content. Particular highlights come in the form of exchanges with the competitive, thrill-seeking fire brigade. Engaging, believable characters and the impact of scenarios they find themselves in make this a slow burning but sophisticated concoction.
It does have to be said the series looks like it was a right laugh to film. Behind the scene videos confirm as much and this lively spirit and energy carries through to the drama itself. Whilst not ground-breaking, a strong cast and polished writing mean Sirens certainly provides merry viewing.
Released on DVD on Monday 12th March 2012 by Universal Pictures UK.
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