Minder-Series 1 (1979)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Ep. 1 - George Cole And Johnny Goodman
Biographies-Cast & Crew-Geezers, Guvnors And Gaffers
Notes-Guide To Minder Slang
Audio Commentary-Ep.9 - George Cole And Johnny Goodman
Trailer-Umbrella Propaganda (10)
|Year Of Production||1979|
|Running Time||553:26 (Case: 550)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Roy Ward Baker
Lawrence Gordon Clark
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Minder debuted in 1979 and made household names of lead actors Denis Waterman and George Cole, produced several well-known phrases that have entered everyday English, and went on to record an amazing 108 episodes over 16 years. Season One, containing some eleven episodes of this successful series has been released on DVD in an attractive box set.
Minder was originally intended as a vehicle for Waterman, who had become a well known and highly respected actor in Britain after starring in The Sweeney. But it became one of the most successful double acts of the 1980s with Cole's Arthur Daley taking the shonky used car salesman and the art of making a quick buck to new heights. Daley is always on the lookout for ways to make an easy quid (or readies as he usually refers to them). Of course some of the deals he gets involved in aren't always on the right side of good ethics (or for that matter, the law) and as such he decides he needs some muscle to help him out of the odd tricky situation - a minder or bodyguard to provide the beef when needed. Enter Terry McCann, a one-time boxer and former prison inmate who has done some time but is now on the straight and narrow. Terry is often the reluctant participant in many of Arthur's dealings, but tags along because he pays a regular income and is a ready partner down the local pub (even if Arthur never buys the first round). Arthur is full of bright ideas to make a handy profit but seldom sees the consequences of his many shady dealings. Terry on the other hand sees the outcome all too quickly, and ever wary about doing anything illegal and ending up back inside prison, is always pushing Arthur to give it a rest or keep his head down. As a result, the unlikely relationship contains plenty of barbs, confrontation, and gentle ribbing as the two unlikely friends get themselves into and out of hot water on regular occasions.
There are 11 episodes contained in this three disc box set. Episodes one to three are on disc one, episodes four to seven on disc two, and disc three contains episodes eight to eleven. Bonus material is spread across all three discs.
The first episode introduces Arthur Daley and his new minder Terry McCann. It's fairly obvious from the outset that Denis Waterman's character is the main focus here, with George Cole's Arthur Daley playing almost a supporting role in the background. Terry is helping out a mate of Arthur's as he goes around to his various laundrettes to collect the cash from all the machines. Unfortunately for Terry, today just happens to be the day that a gang of armed thugs decide to rob one of the laundrettes, but in their bungled attempt are forced to take several hostages, Terry included. As the negotiations break down with the police, Terry is forced to take matters into his own hands in order to expedite their release. Meanwhile Arthur is negotiating his own deal - with the newspapers for an exclusive with his boy Terrence when he is released. This episode is a real lame duck, with a corny story, silly acting, and a real cheap feel to the whole thing. Thankfully, the only way was up for the series from here.
Arthur asks Terry to help mind another old mate in Albert Stubbs, who has just been released from prison after doing a stretch for armed robbery. Stubbs buried the loot before he was caught and now that he is free plans to dig it up. But his former partners in crime have also learned of his release and set about claiming their share with one of their wives hot on the trail of the loot. This episode shows more of the promising future that Minder will enjoy.
Arthur is starting to be more of a main character now, and in this episode he does a mate a favour by exchanging a brand new US$100 bill. When he learns there are plenty more where this one came from his nose for a quick profit starts to twitch. But it seems the cash came from an illegal source - another mate pinched a briefcase full from a gang of international criminals at the airport. The emergence of Arthur Daley as a shared main character with Terry McCann is probably the main reason the series really started to kick off the way it did.
A visiting Lebanese businessman needs a bit of protection while staying in London and Arthur arranges for Terry to help out for a few days. Terry is not convinced that this businessman is all that he seems, and when a group of heavily armed thugs break into the safe-house in an attempt to kill the businessman, Terry's fears are realised. Arthur is meanwhile trying desperately to talk his way out of this deal...and make a little cash on the side of course.
Terry becomes a bounty hunter in pursuit of a conman when a friend of Arthur's discovers she has been cheated out of her late husband's insurance money. Terry catches up with the conman but is basically unable to help when he admits he has also been swindled out of all of the cash.
Another friend of Arthur's, Maurice is a professional gambler who has been banned from betting at the casino and then mugged of all his recent winnings. He decides to take part in an illegal card game only to lose again but this time suspecting the game has been rigged. He is forced to hock his prized Lotus sports car to Arthur in order to find the capital to have one last ditch effort to get his lost winnings back, only this time he takes Terry along for a bit of support.
Arthur's local newsagent needs a little protection after receiving several threats and bricks thrown through his window, so Arthur sends Terry to help out for a while. Terry learns that the Indian born owner of the newsagency has been receiving these threats because he has promised his daughter's hand in marriage to several different husbands in return for money. So just who is the crook here?
Arthur has an interest in a small mini-cab firm, but when his drivers are threatened and the cars vandalised his stake is looking shaky. Arthur's partner does not want to call in the police since not everything about the firm is above board, so Arthur decides to make Terry an undercover driver for a few days in an effort to work out who is causing the trouble.
Terry has a part time job as a bouncer in a local disco and it's here that Arthur meets Sharon, an attractive singer whom he becomes instantly smitten with. Sharon is not all that talented, but Arthur is convinced she has the makings of a star and invests heavily in her ability.
Terry rescues Charlie, a Greek Cypriot who has been attacked by thugs. He is then assigned to mind a restaurant after the owner, Charlie's cousin Christina, is threatened by her brother in law, who wants to take over the business.
Arthur gets Terry in hot water in this season ending episode. When the shonky car salesman arrives home late feeling just a little intoxicated, he is in no mood to argue with a mate named Billy Gilpin who needs a lift home. Arthur volunteers Terry to give Billy a lift, but poor Terry ends up in the nick after it is discovered that Billy is a wanted man on an attempted murder charge.
While this is not the greatest of video presentations it does scrub up far better than I had expected considering the age of the source material.
The video is full screen 1.33:1 with no 16x9 enhancement.
While only a moderate level of sharpness is maintained throughout, the image is at least consistently clear and visible with no problems with shadow detail. Grain is present though fairly well controlled and there is no obvious low level noise.
Colours found in 70s and early 80s television weren't exactly known for their vibrant and rich character and this is no different. There are plenty of tans, browns, creams and beiges evident. There are no problems with colour bleeding or oversaturation.
I noticed no MPEG artefacts. Aliasing is mostly absent and not at all obtrusive. Film artefacts are quite numerous throughout with some being rather large, but overall they are not that bothersome.
There are no subtitles available.
All discs are dual layered with episodes spread evenly over the layers resulting in no layer change.
Episodes one to eleven contain a fairly stock standard Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack which for a show of this vintage is all I expected. This track is joined on episodes one and nine by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary soundtrack.
The main soundtrack is certainly a fairly typical effort for the era with little overall fidelity and reasonably harsh delivery. Dialogue is clear enough and there are no audio sync problems.
Not too much music is present. The well known opening theme is also played again over the ad caps and over the closing credits (in its entirety).
There is no surround or subwoofer activity.
|Surround Channel Use|
Recorded just last year, actor George Cole (Arthur Daley) and former executive in charge of production Johnny Goodman are joined by Jack Wiseman with the latter acting as a sort of moderator asking several questions and steering the commentary in various directions. These are both really good commentaries from a nostalgia point of view as they contain many stories about the series overall rather than individual shots and the like. Certainly worth a listen and fans of Minder will lap it up.
Labelled as Geezers, Guv'nors And Gaffers, each disc contains detailed biography details of the principal cast and also many of the guest stars that appeared on single episodes in series one.
Several photos spread across all three discs featuring stills taken from the episodes. There are no behind-the-scenes shots here.
Opening up each of the three discs reveals a slick which contains extensive and detailed information about the whole series from its initial development, early years and highlights, to its many and varied characters. Worth a read.
Disc two contains a dozen pages dedicated to the interpretation of Minder slang (otherwise known as Cockney rhyming slang).
A series of 10 promotional trailers for other Umbrella titles, including a 2:27 excerpt from one Minder episode.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Minder - Series One is unavailable in Region 1, but has been available in Region 2 for several years. Considering you need to purchase the first season as four separate titles it is certainly easy to recommend this Region 4 release as the preferred option.
Minder was a highly successful drama series that ran for many years and more than 100 episodes. It took a while to really get going and based on some of the corny storylines, cheap stunts and questionable support cast acting in series one it is a little surprising it actually made it to series two. I have fond memories of this series, though, and eagerly await the release of more of good old Arthur and Terry's antics.
The video transfer is more than acceptable given the age and nature of the source material.
The audio is fairly bland, but again given the nature of the source this is not surprising.
The extras are actually quite decent with the two commentaries quite enlightening.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|