Minder-Series 3 (1981)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-George Cole & Writer Tony Hoare- 'Dead Men Do Tell Tales'
Trailer-Man In A Suitcase, Strange Report, Danger Man, The Prisoner
Trailer-Best Of British, Rising Damp, Benny Hill
DVD-ROM Extras-Original Thames Story Info
Trailer-Department S, Jason King, The Saint, Return Of The Saint
Audio Commentary-Writer Andrew Payne & Linda Agran-'Back In Good Old England'
Trailer-Thriller, The Professionals,
Filmographies-Cast-George Cole (Cover Notes)
Filmographies-Cast-Dennis Waterman (Cover Notes)
Production Notes-(Cover Notes)
|Year Of Production||1981|
|Running Time||675:02 (Case: 660)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|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 (192Kb/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|
While Minder debuted in 1979 and eventually made household names of lead actors Denis Waterman and George Cole, the series actually took a good couple of seasons to really find its feet and its target audience. Many viewers were apparently a little unsure about season one and could not be certain whether it was a drama with elements of comedy or a comedy with several dramatic moments. 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, a dramatic series. This recognition of Waterman meant many viewers thought the series was outright drama and the odd relationship Waterman's Terry McCann enjoyed with Cole's Arthur Daly coupled with many comedic moments meant the audience were often wrong-footed in the early seasons. It is mentioned by George Cole in the commentary for episode one of series three that many people, he included, were actually taken by surprise when Thames commissioned a second and then third series.
Despite the shaky start, by season three Minder had hit its straps and was well on its way to becoming one of the most-loved British television shows of the 1980s. Arthur Daley is still on the lookout for a way to make an easy quid, and with some his deals always likely to upset somebody he still has the need for some muscle to help him out of the odd tricky situation. The reluctant Terry McCann is still Daley's minder and provides the beef whenever Arthur is in trouble. McCann is a one-time boxer and former prison inmate who has done some time but is now going straight. As always Terry is the reluctant participant in many of Arthur's dealings, but tags along because he pays a regular income and is a ready partner down at the local pub, the ubiquitous Winchester Club. 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.
Season Three contains 13 episodes of this successful series in an attractive box set, joining the already released seasons one and two.
Arthur is asked to store a coffin in his lock-up containing the body of a man who has died overseas, but when the authorities order an autopsy, Arthur must find somewhere else to stash it and poor old Terry's flat seems the perfect location.
When a diamond dealer needs a bodyguard to accompany him during the delivery of some goods, Arthur must find a replacement for Terry, who has broken his arm. Meanwhile Terry helps Des collect money he is owed, only to be led into a network of illicit drug dealers.
Arthur enters the world of fine art when he sees an opportunity to offload fake copies of old paintings, but meets his match when one punter notices his purchase isn't the full quid.
When "Mad" Micky escapes from prison, he asks Terry to help him expose his unfair sentence and gain a release date. But Arthur, never one to miss an opportunity, intends to get the exclusive story for a Fleet Street journalist.
Arthur and Terry are to mind singer Frankie Farrow's mansion while he is away overseas, but the cushy surroundings are anything but relaxing when Frankie's alcoholic brother causes havoc and two heavies appear looking for Frankie.
While organising his niece's wedding day, Arthur is sidetracked when taking delivery of a consignment of pornographic magazines, unaware that he is being tailed by their rightful owner, who wants to make an example of him.
Arthur and Terry greet Ernie Dodds upon his release from a 14 year prison sentence for robbery. Arthur helps Ernie with some cash until he can access his bank account which holds the proceeds of the robbery. Unluckily for Arthur it appears the bank has closed Dodds' account.
Arthur nominates Terry as the minder of the son of a property developer who is being roughed up by an ex-employee who went to prison on the agreement that if he kept quiet about his boss' involvement in a shady deal that he would be handsomely rewarded upon release.
Barry the bookie asks Terry to accompany him when making a large payout to a punter, only to give the cash to the wrong man. But Terry soon learns perhaps it wasn't an innocent mistake after all.
Arthur sponsors a tournament when he sees a chance to make some cash with the aid of a young Welshman, who is an expert darts player. However, after winning, the organisers get suspicious and injure the star player's hand, leaving Arthur to cough up the entire prize money.
Terry comes to the aid of former stripper Debbie when she is suspected of working with a gang of crooks who have broken into the house where she was working as a hairdresser. Meanwhile Arthur is in court, not on trial, but as the foreman of a jury.
Terry's former cellmate Jack "Oily" Wragg returns having won the Spanish lottery. But his former gang members still have a score to settle, which may lead to another robbery caper for Jack.
Arthur is landed right in it when the BMW he has just purchased is suspected by the police of containing illegal drugs. With Arthur in for questioning, it's up to Terry to find the man who sold the car to Arthur to prove his innocence.
If you have seen either series one or series two you know pretty much what to expect from the video transfer of the early seasons of Minder.
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 late 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 intrusive. 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 changes.
Episodes one to 13 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 12 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|
Episode one, Dead Men Do Tell Tales, features a brand spanking new commentary by actor George Cole and writer Tony Hoare. It was recorded on 11 April 2005 and is moderated by Jas Wiseman. The idea of having a moderator is always excellent, since they often ask questions of the other speakers that you would probably ask yourself. This commentary is great from a nostalgia viewpoint as the two remember plenty of details about the filming process for this episode and the third series of Minder in general.
Located across all of the discs are bios for some of the supporting cast that made an appearance in series three.
Located on disc three are an amazing couple of extras. The first of two PDF files details the full cast and crew of each of the 13 episodes in a format that is a direct copy of the original Thames Television memo used during production. The second PDF contains a copy of the full 48-page run sheet for each episode with complete and detailed synopsis and scene-by-scene description.
Several photos spread across all four discs featuring stills taken from the episodes.
Lots of bonus trailers for other Umbrella releases including Man In A Suitcase, Strange Report, Danger Man, The Prisoner, Best Of British, Rising Damp, Benny Hill, Department S, Jason King, The Saint, Return Of The Saint, Thriller and The Professionals.
Opening up each of the four discs reveals a slick which contains extensive and detailed information including complete filmographies for George Cole and Dennis Waterman, complete episode details such as original transmission date and director and more series background information.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Minder - Series Three is unavailable in Region 1, but has been available in UK Region 2 as a box set for a couple of years. It does not contain many of the Region 4 extras including the new commentaries. A clear win to Region 4 here.
Minder was a highly successful drama series that ran for more than 100 episodes over 16 years or so, and while it did take a little while to get going, by season three it had hit its straps and provided many fine laughs mixed with some fine drama as well. The relationship between George Cole's Arthur Daley and Dennis Waterman's Terry McCann is one of the best onscreen collaborations ever seen.
The video transfer for season three 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 numerous, well conceived and executed and really do justice to the legacy of the series. Well done Umbrella - a great job all round.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, 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|