was a British television comedy-drama (1979-1994) starring George Cole as Arthur Daley, a shady London businessman and conman
, and Dennis Waterman as his "minder" (bodyguard/strong-arm man) Terry.
As the title suggests, the series was conceived as a star vehicle for Waterman, then recently of The Sweeney
fame, with Arthur as only a supporting character. Cole's portrayal and his rapport with Waterman led to him getting a more even share of the limelight, and when Waterman decided to leave the series in 1989, the series continued without him, with Cole as the star and Arthur's nephew Ray (Gary Webster) becoming his new minder.
There was a short-lived revival in 2009, starring Shane Richie (as another of Arthur's nephews) with Lex Shrapnel as his minder.
Minder provides examples of:
- Bad-Guy Bar: The Winchester Club, albeit of a small-time variety.
- Bar Brawl: Usually at least once an episode.
- Con Men Hate Guns: Arthur is thrown into a panic by 'shooters' and Terry although not a con is rightfully wary of them. And of course, there's also the consideration of just how difficult and expensive it is to get hold of a firearm in London compared to somewhere like New York or Chicago; if a D-List fixer like Arthur's looking down the barrel of one, the shit has really hit the fan.
- Convenient Replacement Character: Arthur discovers he's lost Terry and in the same episode, coincidentally, nephew Ray comes to visit.
- Dirty Cop: Rycott is a classic bent copper, 'moonlighting' when not on duty.
- Dirty Coward: Arthur will do everything he can to avoid getting hurt or caught by the police, up to and including leaving Terry in the lurch.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: 'I could be so good for you' as sung by Dennis Waterman reaching No. 3 in the UK charts and later used in an episode of Phoenix Nights and in an episode of Roger Roger.
- Dumb Muscle: What Terry is frequently mistaken for, and more often than not the kind of people he ends up having to deal with.
- Evil Debt Collector: In Arthur's mind any of them - bankers, bailiffs, old friends, even his employee Terry.
- Fanservice: In earlier series' Terry often worked as a doorman to Soho strip clubs, on top of being something of a hit with the ladies. As a result there were frequently scenes of at least partial nudity from various women he became entangled with.
- The Ghost: Arthur's wife, "'Er Indoors".
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Terry, an ex-boxer, is particularly proficient at beating the snot out of people with his bare hands.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Many Episodes had names that parodied famous films or sayings, often with a 'London' twist: "Gunfight at the OK Laundrette", "Senior Citizen Caine", "Rocky Eight and a Half".
- London Gangster: Many, usually serving as the antagonist in episodes. Notables include Mickey 'The Fish' Metcalfe (David Calder) and Jack Last (Ian Mc Shane).
- Malaproper: Arthur 'The world is your lobster' Daley.
- My Local: The Winchester most prominantly but several other pubs feature.
- One-Shot Character: Countless numbers of them, often played by considerably famous actors including: Bill Nighy, Ian Mc Shane, BRIAN BLESSED, Brian Cox, Honor Blackman, George Baker, Christopher Biggins, Robbie Coltrane, Paul Eddington, Michael Gambon, Phillip Glenister, Richard Griffiths, Pete Postlethwaite and Billy Connolly.
- Orient Express: "Minder on the Orient Express".
- Pet Rat: Many varieties, from the common garden 'grass' right up to crooked civil servants.
- Put on a Bus: When Waterman left the series, the on-screen explanation was that Terry had had enough of Arthur and moved to Australia.
- Rabid Cop: 'Cheerful Charlie' Chisholm is brought to the point of a nervous breakdown by Arthur and Terry's antics.
- The Rat: There's a good few scattered around the series, such as 'The Ferret'.
- Rogue Juror: Played for laughs in an episode where Arthur finds himself serving on a jury, on a fairly minor criminal matter. He is initially the sole holdout for not guilty, but eventually turns the rest of the jury to his point of view. Eventually, the only holdout for guilty is a little old lady. However, she then drops a single piece of information that swings everyone back to guilty and Arthur has no choice but to follow.
- Smith of the Yard: A couple of characters who disturb Chisholm and Rycott's peaceful existence of low level corruption. Micheal Culver's Dectective Soames is a good example. Lampshaded with 'Sprott of the Yard'- a copper who went too far in trying to catch one particular conman and was kicked off the force.
- Smug Snake: Freddie Fenton, officially 'bankrupt' property conman who manages to live in a mansion with swimming pool, Rolls Royce (with personalised number plate) with money to gamble at a high end gentleman's club despite not formally 'owning' any of it. As he says to Terry 'In this life there are winners, and there are losers.'
- Street Smarts: Most characters to some degree, especially the main pair with Terry being the more honourable in his use of it.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Chisholm again, he's not particularly laudable as a human being but the amount of trouble caused by the protagonists and the lack of recognition he believes himself to have suffered does make him something of if not this trope then at least a Jerkass Woobie.
- Those Two Guys: Terry and Arthur but also their police rivals - Rycot and Melish and Albert 'Cheerful Charlie' Chisholm and Jones.
- The Yardies: Feature prominently in the very first episode 'Gunfight at the OK Laundrette'.