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Classic TV: Minder – S02 E02 – “Whose Wife is it Anyway?”

25/12/2018

About this episode

Terry guards an antique shop owned by Alex, a friend of Arthur, after two men demand protection money. He isn’t keen on the job as he has to share a flat with Jim, a gay man, Alex’s partner. He soon discovers that the story of the protection racket is a fabrication, that Alex is also gay and that his ex-wife Gloria set up the ‘accident’ that has put Alex in hospital. (Episode title spoofs the 1972 television play Whose Life is it Anyway?)

About the series

Minder is a British comedy-drama about the London criminal underworld. Initially produced by Verity Lambert, it was made by Euston Films, a subsidiary of Thames Television and shown on ITV (originally by Thames, then Central Independent Television in 1993 and 1994 after Thames lost its franchise). The original show ran for ten series between 29 October 1979 and 10 March 1994. The series was notable for using a range of leading British actors, as well as many up-and-coming performers before they hit the big time; at its peak it was one of ITV’s biggest ratings winners

The show starred Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann, an honest and likeable bodyguard (minder in London slang) and George Cole as Arthur Daley, a socially ambitious, but highly unscrupulous importer-exporter, wholesaler, used-car salesman and purveyor of anything else from which there was money to be made, whether within the law or not.

The series is principally set in inner West London (Shepherd’s Bush/Ladbroke Grove/Fulham/Acton), and was largely responsible for putting the word minder, meaning personal bodyguard, into the UK popular lexicon. The characters often drank at the local members-only Winchester Club, where owner and barman Dave (Glynn Edwards) acted, often unwillingly, as a message service for Arthur, and turned a blind eye to his shady deals.

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