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Classic TV: Minder – S08 E07 – “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in Shepherd’s Bush”


About this episode

Bookmaker Stan Sorrell and Billy from Bradford have a £10,000 bet on a pigeon race from London to Bradford. Billy asks Arthur to lend him Ray for this job, so Ray goes to Bradford with Billy. Whilst there, he falls heavily for Sorrell’s daughter Donna. Back in London, Ray starts thinking about moving to Bradford to be with Donna. Arthur sets up Donna in a nightclub with ‘Nostalgic’ to break up the budding romance. The race is nearly cancelled when Arthur accidentally releases Billy’s pigeon. But all goes well (just) and Billy’s pigeon wins the race. Ray returns to Arthur’s employ sadder and wiser. (The title spoofs the proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.)

Guest stars: : George Costigan as Billy from Bradford, Willie Ross as Stan Sorrell, Gabrielle Cowburn as Donna Sorrell, Nick Reding as ‘Nostalgic’, Stephen Churchett as Head Waiter, Joe Belcher as Operator



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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