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Classic TV: Minder – S09 E11 – “The Great Trilby”


About this episode

A private detective, Bill McCabe, arrives from Australia to investigate a claim that Arthur is heir to a fortune left by a distant relative, Joshua Daley, who’s died intestate. Ray and Arthur carry out some genealogical research at the Family Records Centre (then located at St. Catherine’s House and now merged with the National Archives), and also search parish records. They finally locate what appears to be clinching evidence of Arthur’s claim to be the last surviving descendant of the deceased’s family. But the executors require the inheritor to be ‘of good character’, and Arthur has just been charged with unauthorised use of parking infringement notices (which are also forged). With big money at stake, Ray prevails upon DC Field to persuade DS Morley to drop the charges. On Arthur’s promise to pay a sum equivalent to the probable fine into police benevolent funds, he does so. Arthur and Ray receive business-class tickets to Australia to claim the inheritance. (The title spoofs the 1925 novel -and subsequent film- The Great Gatsby.)

Guest stars: Simon Chilvers as Bill McCabe, Frank Baker as Spiky

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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