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Classic TV: Minder – S04 E08 – “A Star is Gorn”


About this episode

Pop star Zac Zolar (aka Albert Trout) disappears at the height of his fame. A dead body turns up, but the police are unable to find anyone who can identify it as that of Zolar. Arthur inadvertently buys a discarded master tape of Zolar’s unreleased early recordings, and tries to sell it at a high price to the record company. But Zolar’s ruthless manager, Cyril Ash, also wants them. Ash’s minder tracks down Zolar at his girlfriend’s place in the country, where he wants to get away from the business, under the new name of Alan Trent. He is kidnapped by Ash, but Terry is able to find and rescue him. They all meet at the recording studio, but to their chagrin, the tape has been stored next to a box of magnetic toys in Arthur’s lockup and is unusable. (Episode title spoofs the 1954 film A Star is Born)

Guest stars:Mel Smith as Cyril Ash, Mike Holoway as Zac Zolar, Primi Townsend as Sharon, Charles Kay as John Sutton, Tim Healy as George


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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