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Minder: Classic British television at its best
Minder: The complete collection of one of the top UK TV shows
When I say 'one of' I'm pretty sure that in its day (mostly in the 1980s) Minder was the top show in British television. And reruns are still popular today.
I, and just about everyone I knew, wouldn't miss a single episode and now the entire series is available in this fantastic collection of DVDs. What an absolute treat.
Action in London
These episodes feature a character that became a byword in England which means a lovable rogue who is not strictly on the side of the law, not exactly a criminal but bends the rules and creates some pretty dodgy money-making schemes.
Even today, people like that are known as an 'Arthur Daley'.
Used car dealer
As an ex-used car dealer myself, I find it funny that this was Arthur Daley's 'respectable' profession. He worked from a typical 1980s London car lot which formed the cover for his more dodgy dealings. The title of the show comes from the fact that he had a 'minder' (bodyguard) who was an ex-boxer and ex-con.
A perfect pairing
Terry, the minder, is (albeit an ex-con) an honest bloke who really wants to go straight. He disapproves of Arthur Daley's shady deals but gets roped into them nevertheless. He is the perfect foil to Daley's escapades.
Drama and comedy
This show is remarkably funny, greatly helped along by George Cole (Daley) but it's not a comedy show - there is none of that dreadful canned laughter. But there are lots of puns, comedic situations and unusual entanglements.The day is usually saved by good old Terry.
Although the word 'minder' was London slang at the time, the show made sure that the term was made nationwide along with another famous 'daleyism'. Arthur Daley always referred to his wife as 'er indoors - a term that passed into the British language is is still widely used today.
In addition, Arthur (usually pronounced in the cockney way 'Arfur') was also prone to malapropisms which are still used all these years later, such as the time he told Terry 'the world is your lobster.'
See a sample on video
The video below gives you some idea what to expect.
Terry and Arthur are at the car lot. Arthur has just read about a fellow-car dealer who has been fined for clocking cars. (This means winding back the odometers, for the sake of foreigners).
As they discuss this, a man who purchased a car from Arthur acouple of months ago drives into the yard. (And when Arthur says 'Oh gawd, what does he want?' I know the feeling.)
However, this customer has a complaint that I never came across in five years at the car lot - there is grass growing out of his car.
Arthur begins to tell him that the engine and transmission are covered by the warranty but not 'horticultural phenomena'.
Having a butcher's because you need something for your old pot and pan, your skin and blister or just an old china? Then you might need this captain cook. It available on the sportsman's and won't make you brassic.
Although I consider myself well-versed in English slang, if you're buying these wonderful DVDs as a gift, this is the perfect companion piece. Rhyming slang is an incredibly complex part of the English language which evolves all the time. My dad brought us up on it 'come on teapots' up the apples' he'd say' but he would understand some of the more modern usages.
Needless to say, this television series was such a success that documentaries were made about it. You can see an example here along with some wonderful examples from scenes.
Interestingly, the show wasn't an immediate hit. This is because the original storylines revolved around Terry, the minder.
Arthur Daley was really quite a bit part and nor prominent at all in the beginning.
But the writers and producers soon realised that with the combination of Terry and Arthur, they had a fantastic comedy opportunity ans rewrote and adjusted the scripts accordingly.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson