Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice little box set to earn!, 29 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Minder: The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
When the television world said goodbye to the Sweeney in 1978, ITV pushed Euston Films to produce a TV series that would succeed the tales of the flying squad and become another hit in it's own right. It was already decided that Sweeney star Dennis Waterman would be the star attraction and after a bit of talent spotting, Euston cast experienced actor George Cole (of the St Trinian's fame) as Waterman's co-star. Ultimately in 1979 Minder was born and another television revolution began.

After four years playing tough DS George Carter in the Sweeney, Dennis moved over to the opposite side of the fence to play a ex-con Terry McCann. Fresh out of the nick and trying deperately to earn an honest crust, Terry's criminal record means reliable employment is had to come by. The only source of income Terry can muster is using his former boxing skills as muscle for eastend 'ducker & diver' Arthur Daley (Cole) - a man with about as much spine as a jellyfish but with a solid heart of eastend values. The basis of the show is McCann finding himself 'loaned' out for muscle by the sly Arthur and finding himself in all manner of situations.

A very slow burner for ITV, it wasn't until the third series in 1982 that this excellent series really took off and became one of televisions greatest hits of the 1980s.

The show would go on to last almost fifteen years, with over 100 episodes filmed and aired over 10 series including a feature length film and various Christmas specials. This complete collection of every Minder installment is an absolute gem to own and provides enough enjoyable viewing time to last several months.

In my opinion, the show was at it's best during the first three series. The stories were fresh and raw and Dennis's character as the tough, womanising, likeable ex-con took centre stage. By the mid 1980s however, the character of Arthur Daley had taken over as the show attraction and McCann had become his stooge for his endless shady scams and latest run-ins with the old bill. The best episodes involved Arthur worming his way out of a charge sheet being pinned on him by Dectective Sergeant Chisholm (played by an excellent Patrick Malahide) and when Chisholm was nabbing villains elsewhere, his place was taken by the equally cunning Detective Sergeant Rycott (played by the late Peter Childs). The only other long running character in Minder was reliable publican Dave Harris (played by Glynn Edwards) who ran the Arthur's drinking den The Winchester and provided Arthur with help on the odd situation.

After Dennis Waterman made the decision to throw the towel in as Terry McCann in 1989, Euston Films took the bold decision of bringing in Gary Webster as Arthur's nephew Ray Daley. Like Terry, Ray was just as tough and ready for action when the need arose, but unlike Terry he was more likely to be found on a fashion photograph shoot in his spare time rather than sparing down the local boxing club. A further three series followed with Ray, before Arthur finally hung up his camel coat and trilby hat for good in 1994.

Very much a show that reflected a Britain under the tory government throughout the 1980s and early 90s, Minder was British melodrama at it's very best. George Cole (now in his late 80s) is probably one of Englands finest actors with over 70s years in the acting industry. Without a doubt, this excellent series is Mr Cole's finest achievement and probably what finally earned him a much respected OBE.

Excellent show and well worth £50.
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