“The world is your lobster my son”
Minder ran from October 1979 to March 1994 and was made by Euston Films, the same production company that were responsible for The Sweeney. The show featured George Cole, as the dodgy car dealer and loveable rogue Arthur Daley, Dennis Waterman as the minder McCann, Glynn Edwards as Dave the barman at the Winchester Club and from series 8-10, Gary Webster played Ray Daley, in place of Waterman.
When Minder first came to the screens, I must admit that I was initially a little disappointed as I was expecting it to be more of a Sweeney type show, but as the show progressed and the relationship between Arthur Daley and his much put upon Minder Terry McCann, developed, I came to love the show, as did millions of others. Minder became another British TV classic and one which I still watch the reruns of today. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the Winchester Club and Arthur Daley’s dodgy motors, with ten facts about the great 1980’s British TV series; Minder.
1. Dennis Waterman was intended to be the star of Minder
Minder was devised by Euston Films as a vehicle to capitalise on Dennis Waterman’s popularity in The Sweeney. Initially, the show was intended to be a much more gritty drama, focussing in the exploits of the minder, rather than Arthur Daley, who was only to play a small part in the show. However, as the show developed and the comic possibilities for Arthur were recognised, Arthur Daley became more of the central character in the show.
2. Minder got off to a slow start
Minder eventually became a phenomenal British TV success, but it got off to a very slow start, not helped by a technician’s strike that took it off the air just as it was launched. Initial viewing figures were so low that Thames Television Management wanted to scrap Minder, but the managing director of the television company, Bryan Cowgill, persuaded the team to commission a second series.
3. Minder was toned down over time
Minder evolved over time from a gritty drama, with a few comic sequences, to a full blown comedy. Early episodes featured violent fight scenes and some nudity, but all of this was gradually phased out as the comic potential of the relationship between Arthur and Terry was realised.
4. George Cole didn’t like his character
Minder star George Cole has said that he hated the character of Arthur Daly and could never understand why the public like him so much. He said in his autobiography, The World Was My Lobster, that Arthur Daley was a thoroughly unlikeable person who behaved terribly to anyone who got in the way of him making a few quid.
5. Dennis Waterman thought that George Cole would be too posh to play Arthur Daley
As soon as the Sweeney had finished, Euston Films had Dennis Waterman earmarked for the role of Terry McCann in Minder, so they started to look for their Arthur Daley. It was by no means certain that George Cole would get the part of Arthur and several other actors were considered, one of which was Denham Elliot. Waterman had deep reservations about Cole taking the part, because he felt that George Cole was too posh to play the part of Arthur Daley.
6. The Minder theme “I Could Be So Good for You” reached No4. In the UK Charts
The theme tune for Minder, which was sung by Dennis Waterman, reached No. 4 in the UK pop charts in 1980. The song was written by Patricia Waterman, Dennis’s wife at the time, and Gerard Kenny, who also wrote New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice).
7. Dennis Waterman felt the Minder had become the “Arthur Daley Comedy Hour”
Dennis Waterman quit his role as Terry McCann in 1989. It was reported that he was unsure about his decision to leave, but that he felt that the character of Terry McCann had run its course. In interviews he suggested that the show had become too heavily focused on Arthur Daley and it had become the “Arthur Daley Comedy Hour”.
8. There was an episode of Minder that was never shown on television
There was an episode of Minder called A Little Bit of Give and Take, which has never appeared on TV. It was a twenty eight minute special that was filmed as a public service film to warn children about the dangers of taking drugs.
9. The Ray Daley years
In 1991, following Dennis Waterman’s departure in 1989, Gary Webster made his first appearance playing Arthur's nephew Ray Daley, who took over the role of being Arthur’s Minder. Although the Ray Daley years which spanned series 8 to 10, are entertaining enough, there just wasn’t the same chemistry that existed between Cole and Waterman and the show was never quite as successful as the earlier series had been.
10. The Shane Richie year
In 2009, Channel 5 broadcast a new Minder series featuring Shane Richie, who played Arthur's nephew Archie, and a new minder, Jamie Cartwright, played by Lex Shrapnel. Only six episodes were filmed and the show was scrapped due to poor ratings. A minder without either George Cole, or Dennis Waterman, was never going to be a Minder, now was it?
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