'Minder - Season One'
(George Cole, Dennis Waterman, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / (1979) 2010 / BFS Entertainment)
Overview: One of the best-ever British TV series, Minder stars the legendary George Cole (A Christmas Carol) as smooth-talking used car salesman Arthur Daley, a man synonymous with dodgy goods and shady deals, who knows a "nice little earner" when he sees one. He hires former boxer Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman - The Sweeney) to be his 'minder' (bodyguard) to protect him from other small-time crooks. Consistently entertaining, the two make a living - one more than the other - on the grimy streets of London.
DVD Verdict: 'Minder' ran for ten series (yes, I know, I'm British and I was blown away by that fact too!) from 29 October 1979 to 10 March 1994, and starred Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann, an honest and likable bodyguard (minder in London slang), and George Cole as Arthur Daley, a well-dressed but unscrupulous importer-exporter, wholesaler, used-car salesman, and anything else from which there was money to be made whether inside the law or not!
In the series opener, 'Gunfight at the O.K. Laundrette,' and just after the history between Authur and Terry is cleverly revealed in the black and white segments of the opening credits, Terry is quickly embroiled in a hold-up at a local launderette. This episode is a very solid one to open with, but features some racial slurs: Authur to Terry over the phone, "You let three dopey spades turn you over?"
In 'Bury my Half at Waltham Green,' a nice story build up sees Terry stretch his drama chops here ... and it comes complete with a nice twist ending. This episode is all about some buried bank heist money that seemingly more than just the guy who buried it are after!
In 'The Smaller They Are,' we get the first appearance of The Winchester Club (and its original setting/location), and Dave the aimable, if not dopey bar man. This episode is all about a briefcase chock full of half a million dollars, and also gives us our first run in with Detective Constable Rycott ... not to mention, Scotch Harry!
In 'A Tethered Goat,' Terry guards a visiting Lebanese businessman/politician at a West Kensington flat. Initially told it’s a simple job, he finds that the visitor has been set up for a politically-motivated assassination! This episode features the GREAT acting talents of Kenneth Griffith as man servant, Dai Llewellyn.
In 'The Bounty Hunter,' Terry and Arthur help a young widow who’s been swindled out of her life savings in a Majorcan property scheme run by Freddie Fenton, a crooked businessman. She gets her money back, but only after Des and Terry hijack Fenton’s Rolls-Royce and blackmail him! Great scene here features an Off Licence called Mr. Booze ... and Terry seems to have a different flat!
In 'Aces High – and Sometimes Very Low,' after being banned by several casinos for being too successful, Maurice Michaelson (the always-brilliant Anthony Valentine), a professional gambler, participates in a illegal high-stakes card game, with Terry minding him. The game is rigged but Maurice manages to win anyway – with a spot of cheating, of course! Way too many minutes upon minutes of card playing scenes bog this one down though.
In 'The Bengal Tiger,' Terry and Arthur are drawn into the problems of newspaper shop owner Mr. Mukerjee, whose daughter Indira has been promised in arranged marriages to several older wealthy Indian businessmen in returns for dowery payments! Nothing much plays out here, save for the fact that Terry seems to now be back in his old/original flat!
In 'Come in T64, Your Time is Ticking Away,' Terry goes undercover as a driver to find out who’s sabotaging the minicab firm Arthur co-owns. He eventually discovers that Arthur’s minority partner wants out, but there is more to the whole thing than meets the eye. Watch out for the kids in the room for this one, as it features some fully-nude women!
In 'Monday Night Fever,' Arthur falls heavily for Sharon, a glamorous would-be nightclub singer and offers to manage her career, despite her terrible voice! He is ripped off by the club owner and as he has fallen out with Terry, engages some thug to deliver retribution ... but not all goes according to plan! Mr. Chisholm appears again in this one, if only briefly, but enough to get us salivating at knowing what a major character he was to this series as it progressed. Mind you, Arthur having a fling was quite unexpected to watch!
In 'The Dessert Song,' Terry and Arthur assist Charlie, a Greek Cypriot newly arrived in London, but learn that he’s come with a shot gun in order to kill the Turkish Cypriot man he believes killed his brother in Cyprus. This tale features some HORRIBLE fake Greek accents, but some great guest stars: Peter Bland as Charlie; Dianne Keen as Christina; and the annoying owner guy of the retirement home in 'Waiting For God'!
Finally, in 'You Gotta Have Friends,' Billy Gilpin turns up at Arthur’s home, badly injured, and begging for assistance. Terry drives him to where he want to go, but Billy is later found dead. It emerges that he was involved in a lucrative racket selling fake bearer bonds. A heavy episode for a season ender, for sure, but this one shows the true bond, no pun intended, between Arthur and Terry. George Baker (Inspector Wexford) stars here as the thug trying to get his money back. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.