Would you Adam and Eve it? Because I certainly can’t. But there it is in black and white: after a break of 14 years, iconic 1980s TV series Minder is returning to our screens in a remake by Five starring ex EastEnder Shane Richie. Did I fall asleep and miss April Fool’s Day?
The long-running comedy drama about a dodgy-dealing small time businessman named Arthur Daley (magnificently played by George Cole) and his long-suffering ‘minder’ Terry McCann (The Sweeney’s Dennis Waterman: equally fab) was a massive ITV hit. It aired from 1979 until 1994, enjoyed spectacular ratings and made huge stars out of its two leads. It was also responsible for Dennis Waterman getting to No 3 in the charts with I Could Be So Good For You, the theme tune.
Minder’s success came from both the tangible (peerless writing, strong direction, sharp scripts, fab casting) and the intangible (the incredible on-screen chemistry between George Cole and Dennis Waterman). Sorry, but that isn’t easy to replicate and reinvent. In fact, it’s virtually impossible.
So who exactly are Five regurgitating Minder for? Are they hoping to build on a ready-made audience in the die-hard fans who watched way back when?
They can’t be that naive, can they? Internet forums are already buzzing with indignation and fury about the butchering of a classic and the new Terry McCann hasn’t even been cast yet. Perhaps the plan is to woo a new generation of viewers? Here’s a thought: why not – shock! – commission an entirely different programme? Oh, and, give it another title even if it does owe more than a nod or two to Minder. Too radical? Oh well. It was worth a try.
The legendary George Cole has said that the show was of its time and shouldn’t be revived. There’s no arguing with that assessment however Five has ignored him: "Scripts are in development with a view to a series being commissioned later in the year," a spokesman said. Has Five lost the plot? Are they totally unconcerned that this move smacks of desperation? That it reeks of unoriginality? That it will be interpreted as: ‘we have no new ideas left’? I expect a plundering of the archives for costume dramas. Heck, they’re two-a-penny. Multiple versions of the likes of Pride And Prejudice, Sense And Sensibility even Robin Hood (I’ll always love Michael Praed in ITV’s 1980s incarnation) are not uncommon. I can tolerate a remake if there’s a solid argument for revisiting it – the new version of The Bionic Woman, starring ex EastEnder Michelle Ryan, for example, is bound to include the kind of CGI and special effects Lindsay Wagner’s lot could only dream of in the 1970s. But even that wasn’t enough to save it from cancellation. And she couldn’t escape comparisons to Lindsay Wagner so gawd knows how Shane Richie, who remains cheeky chappie Alfie Moon from ‘Enders to some, will step into George Cole’s shoes.
My advice to Five is to get on the blower to Sky One and ask them about CI5: The New Professionals. A laughable attempt to drag 1970s mega-hit The Professionals into the 1990s. Needless to say it was a massive flop, lasting only one series. If that’s anything to go by, I seriously doubt if a noughties revival of Ar’fer and crew will be a nice little earner.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – Still proud to say that name (Gooners will understand)
Today I am mostly hatin’ – Lads, go down by all means. But at least go down fighting!
MSN Editor Coops
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