This month sees the release of the second season of Bloods, a comedy centring around paramedics navigating their way around London.
With its returning, star-studded cast, featuring Jane Horrocks, Lucy Punch and Julian Barret, NationalWorld interviewed actress Jane and writer Nathan Bryon on the filming of the new season.
So what will season two entail?
An exploration of the characters’ backstories
After establishing and grounding the dynamic duos in season one, we asked if season two will reveal more about the personal lives of the characters.
Nathan: “We have Wendy’s son, where we left the first series, with Spencer, and that’s where we pick up series two. We do learn some more bits and we do dip into a bit of the Daryl and Darrell backstory.
“We see Jo’s (played by Lucy Punch) house actually. The only piece of direction I gave to the art team (for Jo’s place) is that she needs loads of samurais.”
Jane: “With Wendy, you get to know much more about her through her son. You don’t really get to know much about her ex-husband, but you do get what their life has been like, through Spencer and you absolutely understand the reason why she’s scarpered and ran away to London.
“You never see Wendy’s home. There’s talk about a glitterball that she picked up from a skip in the second series!”
The characters begin establishing deep relationships with each other and we start seeing that through a further exploration of the characters.
Nathan: “One of my favourite things to write is putting real London slang in Wendy’s mouth anytime I can.
“In the opening of episode one, Jane is talking about bundas (big bums) but I like seeing that scene, and seeing the incredible Jane Horrocks do that makes me laugh harder than anything. I’m always very grateful that Jane will do that.
“That’s always a joy to see and to share worlds and bring stuff together. Series two is really getting to know Daryl and Darrell more and playing with their silliness and their bromance. The exciting thing was to really dig deeper into our characters and play on those relationships more.”
On sentimental connections
After researching and playing Wendy, NationalWorld asked if Jane gained a sentimental attachment to her character Wendy.
Jane: “I based Wendy on a really good friend of mine who’s from Nottingham, and she’s very funny as a person herself. She’s also incredibly kind and sees the best in people… I love Wendy. She’s so great.
“And I’m so pleased that there may be talk of more, hopefully. I think as I said earlier, because she’s such a positive human being, she makes me feel good about myself.
“I think it’s made me really shy away from miserable characters even more, because it definitely reflects on my own life.
“I come home without any issues playing Wendy. I can keep her with me, but in a healthy way, whereas previous characters that I played, sometimes when they stay with you, it’s not that healthy, and it’s not not that great for you.
“I really do have a sentimental attachment to her - I think she’s lovely.”
On a deepening friendship between Maleek and Wendy
Throughout the interview, Jane reinforces how characters Wendy and Maleek complement each other.
Jane: “They are very much bedded in by the second series and they’re just the other half of each other really - they’re a complete partnership, even though they drive each other mad.
“I know that Maleek is still very irritated by Wendy and her old lady ways, but in the end, he feels very comfortable with her.
“That was quite interesting, actually, because when we were acting with other people, it’s like we pined for each other and we couldn’t wait to get back to do scenes together. So it really works as a relationship on and off screen and it’s developed in a really beautiful way. I love working with Samson.
“He’s just so easy and fun and very different from other actors that I’ve worked with, he’s just not precious about anything and just allows it to happen. The way Samson got into acting, by joining a casting queue and trying his luck and actually got the part, that’s the way Samson operates and it’s just really Zen and laid back to work with - it’s brilliant.”
An arc on mental health
Season two begins to address a new side to the characters - their mental health and how their work affects them.
Nathan (on the research): “The company brings in lots of paramedics who really generously give us their time when they have it spare, and we talk to them about that and that is their job.”
Walking that fine line between comedy and serious matters comes “through a lot of research, and trying to make sure that even if we’re trying to find a joke, it’s in a truthful and fun way.”
A new character is introduced at the start of the new series to talk to the characters about their mental health, played by Katherine Kelly, but did it change the dynamic of the show?
Jane: “I didn’t have a great deal to do with Katherine (who plays George - the counsellor) actually as most of her scenes were with Jo. I had a few little group moments with her - I don’t think there were any scenes on our own - we’re just with the group. Katherine brought a great dynamic to it and she’s fantastic in the role as well.
“Katherine’s character has completely opposite views about mental health to Jo. So it’s an interesting dynamic, because Jo’s running a tight ship and it’s whether quite a deal of time should be spent on counselling and talking about people’s issues, or being out there saving lives. So it’s an interesting dilemma really, it’s a dichotomy.”
Fun, corpsing and ad-libbing on set
The opening of the first episode of season two sees Wendy and Maleek belting out The Killers song ‘Mr Brightside’ in the ambulance.
Jane: “I knew the song but I didn’t know the lyrics (to Mr Brightside). We were given that song the night before and it’s not not really Samson’s type of music. We were struggling our way through it trying to remember the lyrics and the tune.
“I do have such a laugh with Samson and we have great difficulty not laughing together - there are scenes where I think, oh, gosh, that’s a danger zone when I look at a scene and I think, oh, it’s gonna be really hard for me to get through that one.
“I think I’m not going to discuss that (scene) with Samson and I’m not going to say ‘this is going to be hard’ because it’d be even harder than in the first series. We were appalling at corpsing and wasted a lot of filming time.”
But what about ad-libbing?
Nathan: “From us, the writers, absolutely. You’ve got one of the funniest casts ever. They often make things 100 times better so we always encourage that from our end”.
Jane: “The lines are very good. They’re fantastic. Because there’s lots of rewrites, sometimes the things that I find really good are sometimes got rid of and I want them reinstated.
“But when we’re in the ambulance, me and Samson, we improvise quite a lot because they do random shots of us driving around so we can improvise during those bits.
“I mean, Samson sometimes rewrites his stuff because some of his street talk is maybe different to what’s been written… but as Samson’s a co-creator, I suppose he has the right to do that. I’m sure Nathan, you’re absolutely on top of the street stuff.
“There’s always a fine line with improvising because you never get an actual button to the scene - you don’t get a full stop to it, whereas the writers have written a full stop to a scene.
“So sometimes it’s not very helpful, the improvising, sometimes it is better to stay with the script because there’s a structure to a scene and I suppose I’m old fashioned and quite like adhering to that.”
Nathan: “Samson says ‘what is this slang?’ and I’m like oh my god change it Samson, do what you want!”
Bloods 2 starts streaming on Sky Comedy with a NOW TV Entertainment Membership from Wednesday 16 March 2022
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