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Classic TV: Minder – S09 E05 – “Opportunity Knocks and Bruises”


About this episode

Arthur sells some surplus stock to Alexei Nolan, a fairground owner, in exchange for a slot machine, but takes the wrong machine. He discovers that it’s full of Irish money, and realises that Nolan is laundering part of the proceeds from a mint robbery some years previously. Arthur manages to persuade DS Morley of his innocence and an operation is set up to arrest Nolan and his cronies. (The title refers to the saying “Opportunity knocks but once” and spoofs the television series Opportunity Knocks.)Guest stars: Sean McGinley as Alexei Nolan, Natalie Roles as Amanda, Chris Matthews as Cecil

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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