Minder-Series 5 (1984)

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Released 6-Jun-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Bonus Episode-Complete Episode The Sweeney
Production Notes
Outtakes-Never -Before-Seen Out_Takes
Gallery-Photo
DVD-ROM Extras-PDF DVD-ROM File
Trailer
Filmographies-Cast-Guest Cast
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 457:24 (Case: 500)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dennis Abey
Roy Ward Baker
Martin Campbell
Lawrence Gordon Clark
Studio
Distributor
Fremantle Media
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring George Cole
Dennis Waterman
Case Slip Case
RPI ? Music Gerard Kenny
Mike Moran
Alan Parker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    With series four cementing Minder as one of Britain's most popular television programmes and sales to more than 70 countries, it was no wonder Thames Television instantly commissioned a fifth series. This decision was instantly justified when the production company won a prestigious Queen's Award for Export Achievement for the massive overseas success it enjoyed. Among those 70 countries was of course Australia, which lapped up the story of dodgy used car salesman Arthur Daley (George Cole) and his long-suffering minder Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman), sending the series on to become among the most popular programmes ever to screen on the ABC.

    While there was a massive 18 month gap between the end of season three and the start of season four (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), season five began just six months after the last episode of season four.

    Minder Season Five features eight regular season episodes before wrapping things up with the special 1984 Christmas episode. These episodes are packaged across three discs in an attractive box set, joining the already released seasons one to four.

Episode 1 - Goodbye Sailor (50:19)

    Arthur gets landed with some football boots, but does a deal to buy some smuggled tobacco, convincing Terry and Arnie to pick up the ill-gotten gain. When a delay in the handover of the goods leaves them stranded on a yacht, Customs and Excise begin to take an interest.

Episode 2 - What Makes Shamy Run (50:42)

    Arthur comes into possession of some dodgy 20 pound notes courtesy of Shamy, who is paying off a debt. Things go pear shaped when Arthur accidentally passes off the notes at the Winchester Club and attracts the attention of Detective Chisolm.

Episode 3 - A Number Of Old Wives Tales (50:25)

    Arthur has promised to give away the bride at a wedding and also provide the transportation, while Terry has been roped in to be the best man for a groom he barely knows. All is looking ok until each of the groom's four other wives turn up in quick succession.

Episode 4 -The Second Time Around (51:36)

    Arthur is in trouble again when he sells a Georgian dining suite, unaware the piece is owned by famous novelist Ruby Hubbard and that her stepson had no right to sell it to him in the first place. Arthur sets Terry the job of minding the romance novelist but they soon realise her husband has sold the house without telling her.

Episode 5 - Second Hand Pose (51:27)

    Terry has had enough of Arthur after he is left locked in a freezer, so he begins working for Charlie Pope, a local second-hand furniture dealer. His first job involves removing furniture from a deceased estate, but the police step in when it is discovered the owner is very much alive.

Episode 6 - The Long Ride Back To Scratchwood (50:06)

    Terry is approached by Justin James, who has a scheme to obtain 2000 tickets for an England versus Scotland match with the idea to scalp them at an exorbitant price. Ever one to be on the lookout for a fast buck, Arthur jumps at the idea, but things go awry when he has to personally deliver the tickets to Glasgow with Phil "The Ticket King" in pursuit.

Episode 7 -  Hypnotising Rita (50:13)

    A young lady named Rita turns to Arthur and Terry for protection from her brothers, who are convinced she is being defrauded by her hypnotist boyfriend.

Episode 8 - The Balance Of Power (51:12)

    Arthur enters politics after he discovers a local councillor has died and his seat is up for re-election. Arthur seems to think this newly acquired power could be used to further his own business dealings, but it seems it may all come unstuck before it starts when his past comes back to haunt him.

1984 Christmas Special - Around The Corner (51:14)

    Greyhound racing and bent videos cause problems for Arthur and Terry when they become victims of a con-trick over a good deal on VCRs and a greyhound who won't run.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    If you are familiar with any of the first four seasons you know pretty much what to expect from the video transfer here.

    While this is hardly 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.

    Compression artefacts are absent, while aliasing is mostly not a problem and is certainly not intrusive. Film artefacts are quite numerous throughout with some being rather large, but overall they are not that bothersome.

    There are no subtitles available which is a major negative and something that should be addressed in future releases.

    All discs are dual layered with episodes spread evenly over the layers resulting in no layer changes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    All the episodes contain a fairly stock standard Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack which for a show of this vintage is all I expected.

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Bonus Episode - The Sweeney  - "Tomorrow Man"

     Stars George Cole and Dennis Waterman had performed together a couple of times before they teamed up for Minder. The first time, albeit briefly, was in a thriller called Fright in 1971. A more involved collaboration was to occur five years later in the gritty police drama series The Sweeney which saw Waterman star with John Thaw. George Cole made a guest appearance in that series and included here is the complete episode from the third season called Tomorrow Man, starring Thaw, Waterman and Cole. This full episode runs for 50:44 and is a great extra for the collector who wants it all.

Production Notes

    The inside of all three cover slicks contains a fair amount of background information on the fifth series of Minder and its stars. Worth a read.

Outtakes

    Running for 8:35 this is a series of rare outtakes and bloopers that it is claimed have never been seen until now. Quite amusing, though of very average quality it must be said.

Gallery-Photo

    Several photos spread across three of the discs featuring stills taken from the episodes. Quality ranges from very poor blurred screen caps to some nice, sharp and detailed black and white shots.

DVD-ROM Extras

    Located on disc two are some more of those amazing extras very similar to those found on series three and four. The first of two PDF files details the full cast and crew of each of the eight 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. These are real collector's style extras that add much value to the overall package.

Trailers

    Located across all three discs in the box-set are trailers for other Umbrella titles including The Professionals, Danger Man, The Saint and The Baron.

Filmographies-Cast

    Located across all of the discs are biographies for some of the supporting cast that made an appearance in series five.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Minder - Series Five is unavailable in Region 1, but has been available in UK Region 2 as a box set for a couple of years. This set does not contain any of the Region 4 extras, being limited to a few trailers and something called Arthur's Guide to Cockney Rhyming Slang . A clear win to Region 4 here, especially if you already have the first four series in your collection and you want to keep the set looking the same.

Summary

    Minder - Series Five sees the highly successful British drama-comedy programme at the peak of its popularity and success, despite the fact it was limited to just eight episodes and one Christmas special. There have been few on-screen pairings as good as George Cole's Arthur Daley and Dennis Waterman's Terry McCann and once again the two are in fine form, supported by a myriad of quality British acting talent.

    The video transfer is more than acceptable given the age and nature of the source material.

    The audio is fairly bland and flat, but again given the nature of the source this is not surprising.

    Like the previous DVD sets released for the first four series, the extras here are numerous, well executed and really do justice to the legacy of the series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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