First appearing on our screens in late 1979, Minder was a vehicle for ex-Sweeney sidekick Denis Waterman, but its lasting contribution to TV culture was rehabilitating George Cole, whose lovable but unscrupulous "entrepreneur" (an older version of the spiv he portrayed in the St Trinians films) mockingly reflected the values of 1980s Thatcherite Britain. The series is fondly set in a rough demimonde of small-time gangsters and ageing dolly birds, and against a backdrop of seedy London pubs and dubious business dealings. Waterman plays Terry McCann, ex-boxer and ex-con... trying to stick to the straight and narrow, but persuaded against his better judgement to become involved in murky capers set up by his employer, "Arfur", who regularly sublets him to dodgy associates of his. In this, the first series, Arthur Daley is more in control, not quite the figure of fun he would later become. In the opening episode, for instance, as Terry is held hostage by wannabe black militants in a launderette, Arthur is negotiating his "exclusive" story to a tabloid. Though aspects of these episodes are a little creaky and dated--Terrys flares especially--the interplay between the too softhearted hard man Terry and his dapper but slippery boss is both priceless and timeless. This DVD has a scene selection feature and individual episode guides. --David Stubbs [show more]
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