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This was a superb show which ran for fifteen years from 1979-1994, perhaps
one of the best ITV shows ever.
George Cole played businessman Arthur Daley. Daley was an entrepreneur, of which Britain had many during the early 80's. Everything he got involved in was dodgy so he had to have a bodyguard with him-Terry McCann played by Dennis Waterman from The Sweeney. Each week, Daley would get involved in some dodgy scam and would usually require Terry to use his fists to get them out of a predicament. There was plenty of good old British humour throughout the series as McCann did whatever Arthur paid him to do. Arthur was a loveable old rogue who we all liked and we all loved seeing Terry knock out the bad guys.
In the early 90's Waterman left the show and was replaced by Gary Webster who played Ray Daley, nephew of Arthur Daley. Totally different to Terry McCann, Ray was less inclined to use his fists but one way in which he was similar was that he always ended up doing Arthur's dirty work. The show became more comedic as it neared it's end in 1994.
Minder provided 15 years of consistent entertainment, a spectacular feat when you consider the highs and lows some TV shows face throughout their runs. Minder is worth checking out and is available on video and DVD currently.
Minder is without doubt one of the greatest TV shows produced in Britian
with a topnotch double act providing its heartbeat. Cole and Waterman work
so well off each other that only repeated viewing can allow you to fully
appreciate their chemistry.
Cole's Arthur Daley is easily the best "Wheeler Dealer" ever created,
anywhere on television. Although Del Boy in "Only Fools..." is carved from
the same mould he shows signs of weakness through family commitments and
links to friendship, where as Daley is 100% in it for himself, drooling at
the mouth at the merest sight of money or personal profit.
Waterman as Terry is perfectly legit in the role as he sympathetic
and the fact that he doesn't get lost under the giant shadow of Cole's
de force is a testiment to Watermans skills as an actor.
I'd advise anyone who isn't familiar with the show to hunt for the early episodes and enjoy what was a very gritty and real drama, where Terry is clearly the main man whilst, at that point, Arthur is secondary in the writers minds (Not that it deminishes his screen presence, just leaves you wanting more). Another important component to its success was its grand array of support players, from Dave the barman at everyones favourite watering hole, the Winchester, to dodgy geezers like Des the mechanic and the hilarious, bumbling Police who could never catch Arthur in the act. The show did lose some of its hard edge as it veered off towards a comedic element but it always remained true to the characters, and as such the characters became the central theme. Instead of getting embroiled in incidents, they BECAME the incidents. I can't say enough good words about this programme. I have every episode on tape and watch them all the time. The only thing that you can say is that they DEFINITELY don't make 'em as good as this anymore.
Probably the best comedy/drama to ever come from ITV. Arthur Daley is an
entrepreneur. If he can make money, Arthur's interested. Except that he's
also the king of dodgy deals, which calls for him to have a bodyguard or a
minder. His minder is Terry McCann. He's just out of prison and needs the
work. The relationship between Terry and Arthur is sometimes strained to
limit, but they're loyal to eachother. They're forever trying to dodge the
law, and always succeed.
George Cole (Arthur) and Dennis Waterman (Terry) made the charcters and I can't imagine anyone else playing them so well. George Cole is an extremely experienced actor, as is Dennis Waterman and this shows throughout each episode. Just little things like raised eyebrows or a quick cheeky grin, give a whole new perspective to the programme. In all Arthur Daley is the man we love to distrust.
Brilliant British TV series starring George Cole as Arthur Daley, a shady businessman and used-car dealer on London's "alternate economy". Dennis Waterman is Terry McCann, Daley's business associate and bodyguard, or "minder", hence the title. The show ran for several years and usually centered on Arthur hatching some half-baked scheme, only to escape just a half-step ahead of the police or British mobsters. Patrick Malahide played Det. Sgt. Chisholm, a low-rent Javert who always seemed to let Arthur and Terry slip through his fingers.
George Cole and Dennis Waterman team up in an ITV classic. The show combines subtle humour with genuinely entertaining scripts and a whole host of brilliant supporting characters. The show lets stories develop over an hour rather than rushing through them and puts today's so-called comedy dramas in the shade. The early episodes were more serious and hard-edged, but the comedy was apparent even then. As the show progressed Cole took over as the centre of attention, playing cockney geezer Arthur Daley, a TV masterpiece. Waterman's easy going style made for a great double act. Barman Dave is another great character, his members only Winchester pub being the local haunt of all the low level crooks on the manor! The language used in Minder is very funny at times, I love the Cockney slang they use, like 'er indoors' for wife, and 'sobs' for pounds! Of course Cole is the star of Minder, his trademark brown overcoat and trilby hat always raising a smile even before he's made one of his dodgy promises! The show coped very well with Waterman's departure at the end of the 80s, the new chap brought in to replace him fitting in well. ITV nowadays consists mainly of cheap and tacky gameshows and reality programmes, all of them terrible. Minder was an original and in many ways unique show. It should appeal to fans of the Sweeney and those who enjoyed Only Fools and Horses. Minder is actually better than Only Fools, not getting mired down in sentimentality. It's a shame no terrestrial station will repeat it, it'd thrash most of today's programmes.
I recently watched an episode on one of the cable "repeats" channels,
and there's no doubt that it's dated a bit in the 20-odd years since it
came out; but there are still some priceless lines.
For those of us who saw him in 'The Sweeney', there was little doubt that affable Cockney schmuck Waterman would find another vehicle for his talents; but very few predicted that it would be paired with old George. However, the duo of Arfur and Terry became one of the enduring symbols of the hard days of the early 80's, and the unseen "'er indoors" a byword for the reason most blokes spend their time "down the pub".
Arguably, it was Cole who stole the thunder with his brilliant portrayal of overgrown wide-boy Daley, but it definitely wasn't the same after Waterman left. Truth be told, it was beginning to lose steam even before that, but for the first 6 years or so it was one of the best shows on TV. All the satellite characters, especially Dave and Chisolm, are well-drawn, and Euston Films provided the suitably gritty backdrops they'd already become known for with 'The Sweeney' and 'Special Branch'.
All in all, an 80's delight.
Minder was quality, without doubt. The quality dipped towards the end of the Dennis Waterman era but even those episodes when you watch them again now compared to a lot of current shows stand up really well. As mentioned in the trivia section this show started out as a post Sweeney vehicle for Dennis Waterman but soon the character of Arthur took over (maybe a little bit too much in the end). The series really hit its peak in the third and fourth series where it got slightly less violent and more inventive in its story lines. Episodes like 'What makes Shammy run' and 'You need hands' are fantastic. Like Fools and Horses it started to go grow as more characters where introduced. You could argue that with the exception of Chisolm, Rycott and Dave one of the reasons it started to dip was because the strenght of the supporting cast was not very good but its pointless to compare the two shows really. It must have been difficult for the script writers to find things for Waterman to do as he aged and he came more of an odd job man come friend to Arthur. The series finished in 1988 but returned in 1991 with a new minder (Arthurs cousin Ray). A lot of criticism came in for this new Minder format but the majority of it was good, especially the first series. Towards the end of the second series it got a bit too much and the plots ranged from good to boring to the daft. One of my favourite scenes is the first episode of the new format where Arthur is at a family wedding and holding court in the bathroom in a scene that is borrowed from the first Godfather film. I would really love them to do one last episode while its possible with an older Terry again saving Arthur, maybe with a little help from Ray. But alas it probably wont happen.
I was 8 years old when this started, and when I left home aged 18 it
was still on. The theme tune followed me through the 80s - Bagpuss came
and went, Dangermouse arrived, a raft of American programmes designed
to sell toys (which was a brand new idea then) crashed onto UK shores,
the Commodore 64 bleeped and caroused in the corner, acid house music
chipped and blooped onto the radio..... and Arthur & Terry were still
there. I saw a handful of episodes as child & teenager, and always
found the on- screen chemistry pulled me in...... but I did feel that
it had become a bit of a dinosaur by 1990. I left home and virtually
forgot about it, until ITV4 started re-running it again.
The writing was, and is, simply superb. Secondary characters are strongly developed and given good lines, something non-existent nowadays (see Taggart, Waterloo Road, Monarch Of The Glen) and almost every episode hangs together as a complete thing, ends tied up, viewer satisfaction assured. That takes good writing and good acting. Another, unintentional but wonderful, boon for the programme was that due to 75% of each episode being filmed on location outdoors over 15 years, it captured London in a constant state of flux that is clear and visible, something no other show has. It's fascinating to see London in that era, changing from series to series. And there's that chemistry between Cole and Waterman, which really shines through. That was fairly rare in a TV series back then, but is now like hen's teeth.
Its success with 15-24 year olds today is surprising, yet gratifying. It says, perhaps, that things like story, good acting and love of craft do not age, or lose their brightness.
Minder is about Arthur Daley(George Cole)who is a second hand car salesman,but he also sells dodgy gear that falls off the back of lorries or things that are stolen.As you would think in a business like this he would need some protection from small time crooks or the owners of the merchandise,so he hires Terry Mccann(Dennis Waterman)as his Minder.Terry more often looks after Arthurs friends,which always results in something bad happening to someone. Minder is an excellent show.It has everything,its a good comedy and drama and there's the occasional car chase and there's a lot of good fight scenes from Dennis Waterman.Cole and Waterman are a brilliant duo,I would recommend this fantastic programme to everyone that enjoys good action and comedy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Anyone who had a TV set in England in the 1980s will know Minder. A
beloved series to many, a guilty pleasure to many more and a load of
old codswallop to a few others. But hey, that's just horses for
courses. The show ran like a backbone through British TV in the 80's.
To watch it now is nostalgic and in some ways quite cosy viewing, but
there is so much more to it than that.
First and foremost it is gloriously entertaining. Especially the first few series - hardly a duff episode, if any. The humour and delivery are consistent throughout, always with a variety of interesting characters who are all a bit like someone you know or knew.
The plots in general are reliably similar - i.e. Arthur (the wheeler/dealer businessman) ropes in Terry (the good hearted, odd job man/minder) to help out in his latest scheme, masquerading the job to Terry as something far less dodgy than it actually is. Thus, Terry lands unknowingly in hot water, fisticuffs ensue (as does the occasional bunk up with some dolly bird) but Terry usually comes up trumps and ends up saving both the day and Arthur - who more often than not ends up with egg on his face. A classic sit-com set up - but always so very enjoyable.
George Cole is a comic master. He cut his teeth in Ealing Comedy films, appearing in them since he was a youngster with the legendary Alistair Sim as his mentor of sorts. He even played the young Ebenezer in the classic 1951 'Scrooge'. In Minder, his Arthur Daley is one of the most memorable UK TV characters of all time.
Dennis Waterman is more the straight man if you like and brings with him all the rough diamond charm established in previous programs such as the brilliant 'The Sweeney'. Minder allows him far more room and air time to show warmth and stretch his comedy legs while losing none of the 'ard man who can be a bit tasty with his fists as and when required.
The show also features a whole host of UK classic and character actors, too numerous to mention. It's a real treat watching Minder, not knowing who will turn up, how or when. In fact that is one of the great things about Minder, it feels like a huge family of UK TV greats portraying with solidity, quality and often a tongue in cheek, a whole world of London that is sadly pretty much now gone.
Decades since it first aired, it is amazing already as a time capsule. For eg - in one episode i saw recently, Arthur drove his mustard XJ6 jaguar into a posh, residential square in Chelsea and swept straight into a parking space! There were no other cars parked, no yellow lines, no parking restriction signs, no speed bumps, no cctv etc. Oh how things have changed!
Not only that but he then offered to buy a bloke's Chelsea flat for £10,000! You couldn't buy a garage for that now, i kid you not.
So it serves now as a caper through a very real London of the time. Warm and light of heart, tough, gritty and almost bleak in places but always funny.
To anyone who wants to know what it was like in London in the 1980s, this would be an essential piece of your TV jigsaw. A comfortable addition to 'Only Fools and Horses'. In fact, put 'The Sweeney' and films such as 'The Long, Good Friday' and 'Babylon' into the pot and you are getting there nicely, my son.
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