Minder was one of the most popular dramas of the 1980’s, and indeed Arthur Daley (played by George Cole) was voted second most popular UK TV character as recently as 2005 – he was beaten to the top spot by Coronation Street’s Stan and Hilda Ogden, which I suppose is fair enough since they were well known even if you never watched Corrie at the time.
Anyway, Minder was about the aforementioned Arthur Daley and his minder Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman).Â Arthur was a bit of a wheeler dealer who frequently got himself into trouble by trying to take advantage of various gangster types, and it was up to Terry to make sure Arthur came to no harm.
Terry was a former professional boxer who ended up in prison for commiting GBH and attempted armed robbery.Â When he gets out of prison he buys a car from Arthur, and soon finds himself with little option but to work for Daley as he finds getting a job elsewhere difficult.Â Despite being in prison Terry is a loyal and honest person who always looks out for Arthur, even when most of the trouble Arthur brings is of his own making.
The first couple of series of Minder revolved mainly around Terry McCann, and indeed the show was initially created as a vehicle for Dennis Waterman who was incredibly popular from his stint on seventies cop show The Sweeney with the late John Thaw.Â The show started to flounder though, so the makers decided to give Arthur Daley’s character more exposure and this worked a treat, boosting ratings and keeping the show alive with the duo of Arthur and Terry for seven series running until 1989.
At this point Waterman decided to leave the show, but after a two year break it returned for a further three series with Arthur’s new minder, Ray Daley (Gary Webster) who was Arthur’s nephew.Â The show was still popular, although ratings began to decline and the final episode saw Arthur and RayÂ arrested by the police.
One of the things that made Arthur such a lovable character (despite being as crooked as they come) were his catchphrases.Â He always referred to his wife as “‘er indoors” and indeed this was such a popular phrase it even became immortalised inÂ the song “What Are We Gonna Get ‘er Indoors” sung by Dennis and George for Christmas in 1983!Â Arthur’s scams and get rich quick schemes were referred to (by himself of course) as “nice little earners” and there was the bizarreÂ “the world is your lobster“, since lobster must certainly be better than oysters!
Another thing which many will remember will be the theme tune “I Could Be So Good For You” which was sung by Waterman, and yielded him a number 3 hit in the UK charts and allowed him to tour as a singer.Â From then on Waterman has sung (and even written) many of the theme songs to the shows he’s starred in, a point which was picked up to huge comedy effect in the Little Britain sketches, although quite why they made Matt Lucas and David Walliams chose to make DennisÂ Waterman so minuscule I do not know – I’m sure he isn’t that short.
I also can’t finish this post without at least mentioning Dave the barman of the Winchester Club, the rather torrid little private club that Arthur frequented, and Arthur’s police nemesis Detective Chisolm who was constantly frustrated as Arthur always managed to stay one step ahead of him.
It also appears that there is set to be a new series of Minder airing on five very soon, although I wouldn’t hold your breath.Â Neither Arthur, Terry or even Ray are set to return to our screens.Â Instead the new series revolves around Archie Daley, another of Arthur’s nephews who fancies himself as a modern version of his uncle.Â What sounds bad about this is that Archie is to be played by EastEnder’s Shane Ritchie (oh dear) and his new minder character is played by some guy called Lex Shrapnel!Â Personally I don’t think this bodes well but then IÂ felt the same about both Billie Piper and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who and I was pleasantly surprised in both cases.Â Once the show airs I’ll let you know what I think!