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Classic TV: Minder – S08 E12 – “The Cruel Canal”


About this episode

When his van breaks down, Arthur resorts to canals to transport a cargo of stolen video players to fence ‘Two-Tone’. He rents a narrowboat and he and Ray proceed to take the goods from Greenford to Limehouse via the Grand Union Canal and Regent’s Canal. As they near their destination, the boat gets stuck under a low bridge. Then they ram at full speed into the jetty and the goods are lost in the river. In the meantime, Arthur is being dogged by Big Dai who thinks that Arthur has nicked his precious collection of boxing videos. (The title spoofs the 1953 film The Cruel Sea.)

Guest stars: Neil Phillips as Two-Tone, Anthony O’Donnell as Big Dai, Cathy Murphy as Vicky, Trevor Cooper as Derek, Michael Goldie as Freddie



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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