Minder-Series 4 (1984)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Bonus Episode-1983 Christmas Special - 'Christmas Bonus'
Trailer-Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, The Baron
Production Notes-(Cover Notes)
Audio Commentary-George Cole&WriterTonyHoare-If Money Be The Food Of Love..
DVD-ROM Extras-Original Thames Story Info
Trailer-Man In A Suitcase, Strange Report, Department S
Audio Commentary-Script Exec. Linda Agran&Writer Andrew Payne-Willesden Suite
Trailer-Minder Set 5, The Professionals, The Saint (In Colour)
|Year Of Production||1984|
|Running Time||611:59 (Case: 610)|
|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 (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|
In late 1982 an episode of Minder series three reached a high of number four in the ratings, with other episodes regularly making it into the top ten programmes. It had taken more than 30 episodes and three seasons, but the show had finally found its niche by the time series four started in February 1984. The only way was up and during series four the show hit the number two spot on the ratings, saw a novel based on the scripts released, and remarkably even saw a single by George Cole and Dennis Waterman called "What Are We Going To Get 'Er Indoors?" hit the airwaves. The show, which had finally found the right blend of comedy and drama, coupled with some classic phrases such as "A word in your shell-like" seemed to strike a chord with thousands of viewers around the world. With sales to more than 70 countries it was no wonder Thames Television instantly commissioned a fifth series.
Interestingly, despite the success of series three, there was an 18 month gap between the end of season three and the start of season four. This was apparently due to George Cole and Dennis Waterman both being committed to stage projects, which they had signed up for expecting Minder not to proceed past the third season.
Minder Season Four kicks off with a special Christmas bonus episode and follows this up with 11 regular episodes packaged across three discs in an attractive box set, joining the already released seasons one, two and three.
Arthur's packed off 'er indoors and the kids to Florida, leaving him and Terry to reminisce about their partnership while decorating the Christmas tree at the Winchester Club.
Seven years ago Terry lost his boxing licence during a rigged bout with Jackie Wilson, who is now a promoter and proposes a return match. Terry goes into training, but is soon approached by Wilson's wife to ask him to take it easy on her husband, since he is suffering from a medical condition.
Arthur and Terry protect a recently widowed car dealer whose greedy family is planning to have him committed to a mental hospital so they can gain control of his successful business.
Terry is driving for Micky Metcalfe when the villain's girlfriend's jewellery is stolen from her flat. Initially a suspect, Terry believes it was the work of an old cellmate who was in the area, while Arthur devises a scheme involving the insurance company.
Arthur sets up a scheme to provide punters with race tips involving Terry to mind the base of operations, which is nothing more than three public phone boxes at a railway station.
Arthur lends out Terry to mind a friend's car lot when vandals destroy his stock. Initially thought to be the work of nearby gypsies, Terry soon learns the real people behind the vandalism.
When an attractive young Australian girl turns up at the Winchester Club in search of her fiancé, Arthur and Terry are very keen to help, despite knowing that her intended is on the run from the police.
Arthur inadvertently gets hold of a pop star's final recordings before his reported death. His ex-manager is none too pleased to discover Arthur attempting to profit from the master tape, whilst Sgt Rycott tries to confirm the identity of the dead singer.
Terry is working as house detective at the hotel where Arthur is due to deliver a Rotary Speech. Not only does he have to deal with the crime of Arthur's speech being stolen, but two thieving priests and a would be teenaged photographic model.
Arthur's new venture, a health club called "The Daley Workout" is interrupted when his business partner's wife disappears with their daughter, leaving Terry to sort out the tug-of-love drama.
Arthur is witness to a gunman putting the frighteners on Joe Harrison, which results in Harrison dying of a heart attack when the gun accidentally goes off. One of Terry's mates is suspected of the crime, but Arthur is soon in the frame when an informer advises he was in the area.
When Terry accepts a job as a bouncer, Arthur is left to guard a collection of garments from being stolen. But a previous engagement at his lock-up necessitates him leaving the showroom, only to have the collection pilfered during his absence.
If you are familiar with any of the first three seasons you know pretty much what to expect from the video transfer here.
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 in 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 11 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 six and eight 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|
Outlined in the plot synopsis above, the opening episode on disc one is the Minder Christmas Bonus Special that went to air during the festive season of 1983.
Located across all of the discs are bios for some of the supporting cast that made an appearance in series four.
Opening up each of the three disc cases reveals a slick containing extensive and detailed information including complete episode details such as original transmission date and director, more series background information and a complete list of all the guest stars who had appeared in the first four seasons of the show.
Episode six, If Money Be The Food Of Love, Play On features a 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 fourth series of Minder in general.
Located on disc two are some amazing extras very similar to those found on series three. The first of three PDF files details the full cast and crew of each of the 11 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 43-page run sheet for each episode with complete and detailed synopsis and act-by-act description, while the third PDF file is an 11 page episode summary most likely used as a press release for each week's show and given to the publication TV Times.
Several photos spread across three of the discs featuring stills taken from the episodes. Quality ranges from the very poor blurred screen caps to some nice, sharp and detailed black and white shots.
Episode eight, Willesden Suite, features an excellent commentary by writer Andrew Payne and script executive Linda Agran which is also moderated by Jas Wiseman. This commentary was recorded recently and is packed with lots of stories and information about the writing and filming of Minder in general and this episode in particular.
Lots of bonus trailers for other Umbrella releases including Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, The Baron, Man In A Suitcase, Strange Report, Department S, Minder Series Five, The Professionals and The Saint (In Colour).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Minder - Series Four 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 Series Four continues the highly successful drama-comedy programme that ran for 16 years and realised more than 100 episodes. By 1984 the show had really found its niche and provided many fine laughs. The ongoing relationship between George Cole's Arthur Daley and Dennis Waterman's Terry McCann is still one of the best onscreen collaborations ever seen.
The video transfer for season four 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.
Like the previous DVD sets released for series one, two and three, the extras here are numerous, well conceived and executed and really do justice to the legacy of the series.
|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|