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Classic TV: Minder – S05 E06 – “The Long Ride Back to Scratchwood”


About this episode

Justin James concocts a scheme with a former footballer to obtain tickets for an England v Scotland football match. He plans to on-sell them at a major mark-up to Scottish fans. With Arthur’s financial backing, he hopes to cut out Phil the ‘Ticket King’ (There’s Keith Prowse, and there’s me!). Arthur puts up the money and they set off for Scotland with the tickets. Phil and his minder follow behind and a confrontation ensues at a motorway service area. Arthur is forced to sell the tickets to Phil, but before the deal goes down, it emerges that the tickets are actually forged. So there’s no deal and no return for anyone.

Guest stars: Mark Farmer as Justin James, Alan Hunter as Steve Benson, Jon Croft as Alisdair Fraser, James Marcus as Phil, Derek Martin as Cedric, Nicolas Chagrin as Mario, David Beckett as Mechanic


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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