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Ghost Canyon

''Minder - Season Two & Three'
(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' was a British comedy-drama about the London criminal underworld. Initially produced by Verity Lambert, it was made by Euston Films, a subsidiary of Thames Television and shown on ITV. The show ran for ten (10) series 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!

Legend has it that 'Minder' was actually devised for Dennis Waterman after his success in The Sweeney, though the emphasis focused more on George Cole as the wheeler-dealer, in all honesty. What I personally loved about this show was that at any given time that Arthur put Terry in trouble, there was still enough time for a comedic jab before, during and after the incident to hand!

Arthur himself is a mid-level professional criminal of mature years, a minor con man eternally in dodgy dealings, usually seen puffing inexpensive Castella Panatella cigars. He typically drives a Jaguar (first a silver Jaguar XJ6 Series 2, then a pale primrose Daimler Sovereign Series 3). Basically, he survives by his wiles and self-belief, and exploits everyone, especially Terry. He is always trying to make a quick quid and often bites off more than he can chew, leaving Terry to sort out the mess!

Terry is employed as Arthur's minder on vague and ungenerous terms! Terry enjoys a drink but usually responsibly, does not smoke and has an eye for the ladies. Despite his incarceration, he is honest, trustworthy and loyal, particularly to Arthur, although the scrapes that Arthur lands him in make him wonder why.

The tone of the programme in series one and two, and much of series three, mixed poignant drama and action sequences with offbeat comic moments. As the series progressed over 15 years, more emphasis was placed on the comedic aspects of the minder-principal relationship, and the show became more a comedy driven by a dramatic plot.

Indeed, in the earlier episodes from the series Terry would succeed in seducing a 'dolly bird', resulting in at least one scene of female semi-nudity per episode, though as the series became more popular these instances were reduced. And although always an element of the series, the fights common and brutal in early episodes were also toned down and became less frequent as we headed into series 3.

Series 2 contains the following episodes: National Pelmet, Whose Wife is it Anyway?, You Lose Some, You Win Some, Don't Tell Them Willie Boy Was Here, Not a Bad Lad, Dad, The Beer Hunter, A Nice Little Wine, All Mod Cons, Diamonds are a Girl's Worst Enemy, The Old School Tie, All About Scoring, Innit?, Caught in the Act, Fact, and A Lot of Bull and a Pat on the Back. Guest Stars include: Jackie Collins, Anthony Valentine, Brian Glover, Toyah Willcox, Karl Howman, etc.

Series 3 contained the episodes: Dead Men Do Tell Tales, You Need Hands, Rembrandt Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Looking for Micky, Dreamhouse, Another Bride, Another Groom, The Birdman of Wormwood Scrubs, The Son Also Rises, Why Pay Tax?, Broken Arrow, Poetic Justice, Innit?, Back in Good Old England and In. Guest stars include: Suzi Quatro, Bill Nighy, Richard Griffiths, Warren Clarke, Rula Lenska, Maggie Steed, etc.

Interestingly, the theme tune to 'Minder', "I Could Be So Good for You", was written in 1979 by Patricia Waterman and Gerard Kenny and sung by Dennis Waterman. The record reached No.3 in the UK charts in November 1980 and led Waterman to tour as a singer. Dennis Waterman also sang the closing theme to his sitcom 'On the Up' and these two things led to a parody in Little Britain - where Dennis Waterman is offered acting work; he always assumes he will also 'write the theme tune, sing the theme tune...,' but it never turns out that way!

These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but (unfortunately) neither come with Special Features!