Minder-Series 6 (1985)

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Released 10-Jul-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Ernie Premium Bonds Commercial-NUMBER
DVD-ROM Extras-Thames Story & Cast And Credits Information (PDF Files)
Trailer-The Prisoner, Danger Man, Benny Hill, Best Of British
Trailer-Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, The Saint
Gallery-Photo-Guvnor's Gallery
Short Film-Minder Anti Drug "A Little Bit Of Give And Take"
Outtakes
Notes-Production and Guest cast Biographies
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 362:22 (Case: 450)
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

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring George Cole
Dennis Waterman
Case Slip Case
RPI $69.95 Music Gerard Kenny
Mike Moran
Alan Parker


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame 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

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Plot Synopsis

    By 1985 Minder was riding high on a wave of huge popularity with an episode from the fifth series rated as Thames Television's most watched programme in more than 10 years. The sixth series saw that popularity never wane in the slightest, even though the rumour had started that this series was going to be the last. It wasn't thankfully and the antics of Arthur and Terry continued on for a few more years.

    Earning a BAFTA award in 1985 for creator Leon Griffiths and with stars George Cole and Dennis Waterman sharing the Variety Club ITV Personalities of the Year award in the same year, it seemed there wasn't far you could go without hearing about the success of Minder. There was even a Minder computer game released (I seem to remember playing this a couple of times on a mate's Sinclair Spectrum). Minder really was one of the most popular television phenomenon of the 1980s and showed little sign of slowing down.

  
Season Six features just six regular season episodes but also includes the welcome addition of the famous Minder On The Orient Express feature-length telemovie on disc three. These episodes are packaged across three discs in an attractive box set, joining the already released seasons one to five.

Episode 1 - Give Us This Day Arthur Daley Bread (51:26)

    Arthur's latest earner involves hiring a group of former prisoners to work as landscape gardeners. But after a spate of break-ins in the area, the finger is pointed when Sergeant Chisholm thinks he might have found the perfect suspects.

Episode 2 - Life In The Fast Food Lane (51:32)

    Love is on the air as Terry begins seeing the daughter of Sir Ronald Bates - a self-made fast food tycoon. Not happy with his daughter's choice of suitor, Bates sends some thugs to warn Terry off. But when Arthur gets wind of the threats he sees the opportunity to make a fast buck by doing a deal with Bates himself.

Episode 3 - Return Of The Invincible Man (50:14)

    Arthur accepts the job of helping Solly Salmon by agreeing to have his safe blown up so it appears the redundancy money he doesn't have has been stolen. Enlisting help from Scotch Harry, the explosion ends in injury with an urgent trip to the hospital.

Episode 4 -Arthur Is Dead - Long Live Arthur (50:09)

    Arthur is in trouble when, unable to pay an outstanding 20,000 pounds, he fakes suicide, and then while trying to do business through Terry finds out "her indoors" has put the house up for sale and the rest of his assets have been frozen.

Episode 5 - From Fulham With Love  (50:05)

    A visiting Russian ship provides Arthur with the chance to off-load a consignment of tracksuits and Walkmans, but he is soon caught up in trouble when one of the Russian crew tries to defect.

Episode 6 - Waiting For Goddard (51:30)

    An elderly recluse, Albert Goddard, may have inherited a large fortune. A private investigator has asked Arthur to help track him down in exchange for a finder's fee, but Arthur decides to use Terry to find Goddard with the idea of claiming a larger part of the inheritance.

Bonus Episode  - Minder On The Orient Express (107:10)

    After he saves a dead gangster's daughter from a bunch of hired thugs, Terry is rewarded with a trip across Europe on the famous Orient Express train. Terry plans on taking his girlfriend Annie along for a romantic getaway, but all is ruined when Arthur manages to con his way on board in place of Annie in an effort to avoid a looming court appearance. With the journey underway Terry and Arthur find themselves battling a host of shady characters intent on claiming the gangster's missing fortune.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    If you are familiar with any of the first five seasons you know pretty much what to expect from the video transfer here, though the clarity does seem to be improving a little as the series approaches the mid to late 1980s.

    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 most 1980s 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

Featurette - Ernie Premium Bonds Commercial - NUMBER

    Dave asks Terry to investigate a 'bloke' named ERNIE from Blackpool who has apparently taken up with Dave's missus. This is not actually an episode of Minder, but rather a television commercial made to explain to the public how Premium Bonds prize winners were selected. It runs for 15:25.

DVD-ROM Extras

    Located on disc three are some more of those amazing extras very similar to those found on series three, four and five. The first of two PDF files details the full cast and crew of each of the six 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 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 Prisoner, Danger Man, Benny Hill, Best Of British, Randall & Hopkirk Deceased and The Saint.

Gallery-Photo

    Again labelled as the Guv'nors Gallery, this contains about 15 photos of pretty good quality taken across various episodes.

Short Film - Minder Anti Drug "A Little Bit Of Give And Take"

    With the popularity of Minder riding high, this is a short film used in British schools to promote an anti-drug message. Terry has to look after the son of a friend after his father ends up in jail. The youngster named Shaun is faced with the prospect of taking drugs and with Terry's advice will hopefully learn to avoid them.

Outtakes

    Running for 8:33 this is a series of rare outtakes and bloopers that it is claimed have never been seen until now. Quite amusing, though the quality of the video seems to get worse with every release, while the audio is shockingly bad and muffled almost to the point of being inaudible.

Production Notes

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

R4 vs R1

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

        Minder - Series Six is unavailable in Region 1, but has been available in UK Region 2 as a two disc set for a couple of years. It does not contain any of the extras included in the Region 4 box set, and with extras limited to a lone interview featurette with Minder creator Leon Griffiths, it is difficult to recommend it over this excellently packaged local version.

Summary

    Minder - Series Six sees the highly successful television programme motoring along as one of the most popular shows in Britain and around the world. With the sixth series limited to just six episodes, the inclusion of the popular Minder On The Orient Express feature-length film made in 1985 is a huge bonus. 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 boxsets released for the first five series, the extras here are numerous, well executed and really do justice to the legacy of the series. The inclusion of some of the rarely seen material is a huge win for fans.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, September 26, 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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