1 9 9 0 (Australia)
13 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 9 2 – 1 9 9 3 (Australia)
13 x 30 minute episodes
Let The Blood Run Free began life as a live improvised soap opera spoof about a decaying hospital that packed houses at The Last Laugh Comedy Club in Melbourne in 1985 and 1986. The stage version involved the audience voting at crucial stages of the plot, with the cast following their bidding.
In 1989, Ian McFadyen, creator of The Comedy Company approached the cast about creating a television version and the show premiered in August 1990. Australian television audiences had never seen anything like it.
The series – set in the crumbling St Christopher’s Hospital – featured wall-to-wall bad taste jokes, gallons of blood, grotesquely artificial violence and explicit sexuality and each 30-minute episode ended with a cliff-hanger and a voice-over asking viewers to phone in and vote for one of two possible storyline developments. The following week’s episode was then written to accommodate the viewers’ response.
Lynda Gibson did a great job as the gleefully evil Matron Dorothy Conniving-Bitch, and Peter Rowsthorn hammed it up superbly as the bumbling, dribbling Warren Cronkshonk.
The hugely talented Jean Kittson (The Big Gig) was wasted in her role as Nurse Pam Sandwich, while Brian Nankervis, as the ultra-pure Dr Ray Good, did not distinguish himself clearly enough from his other well-known TV persona, the poet Raymond J Bartholomeusz.
David Swann played Dr Richard Lovechild, the Ferrari-driving medical entrepreneur with a string of lucrative private practices and an interest in football team ownership.
The series attracted a cult following when it first aired (on Channel Ten) on Australian television in 1990 but did not rate well. Incredibly, it was subsequently sold to various countries including England, Germany, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Holland and Swaziland.
A 13-episode second series was made in 1992/1993 specifically for the overseas market (particularly Germany) but showed no signs of advancement on the first, and – apart from some wonderful send-ups of classic scenes from Prisoner – offered little to sustain the viewer.
Channel Ten declined to air the second series, although the episodes were screened for a short run in select Australian cinemas.
Although Let The Blood Run Free was never meant to be taken seriously, it must rate very near the top of the list of ‘worst ever Australian television shows’.
Nurse Pam Sandwich
Dr Ray Good
Nurse Effie Shunt
Dr Richard Lovechild
Matron Dorothy Conniving-Bitch
Carla La Bum Diai