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Classic TV: Minder – S08 E05 – “Guess Who’s Coming to Pinner?”


About this episode

Arthur is invited to the funeral of big-time gangster Charlie Johnson and the wake afterwards. The funeral is being carefully observed by police and the palatial Johnson home in Pinner is bugged. Police identify Tommy Hambury, a major crook returned after many years abroad and conclude that something major is being planned. Ray starts romancing Joanna, a friend of the family, who is later revealed to be an undercover police officer. Tommy tells Arthur that he has in mind a really major operation – even bigger than The Great Train Robbery – and wants Arthur in on it. But Arthur gets so drunk that next morning, he can’t remember what was said. As Arthur desperately tries to remember, even consulting a psychiatrist, consignments of goods start to appear at the lock-up, including armoured Land Rovers, scuba gear and welding equipment – all apparently paid for by Tommy. Finally, Tommy demands a meeting with Arthur at midnight at the end of Southend pier. Revealing that he hadn’t actually discussed any details with Arthur, he then falls off the end of the pier and is drowned. So the nature of the proposed operation remains unknown. The following day, Arthur attempts to sell an acquaintance the goods at Tommy’s funeral. (The title spoofs the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?)

Guest stars: Michael Gambon as Tommy Hambury, Susan Tracy as Mrs Johnson, Gina McKee as Joanna



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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