Patrick Malahide as DS Chisholm Minder Series 1 Plus Questions We’d Like to Ask Mr. Malahide Part II
So, we’re going to the early days of Chisholm now, Minder Series 1 Chisholm, to be specific. He appeared in two episodes: “Gunfight at the OK Laundrette” (S01E01) and “Monday Night Fever” (S01E09). The Chisholm on display in these two episodes, especially the first one, is quite a different copper indeed.
Chisholm doesn’t have an especially big part in these episodes. It seems his character wasn’t fully developed yet, though there were some clear Chisholm-esque signals on display in Monday Night Fever. So, I’ll combine the two episodes into one recap, and RFodchuk and I are also adding a some questions we’d love to ask Patrick Malahide regarding our favorite much put-upon copper. There are actually quite a lot of things we’d like to know about Chisholm.
Gunfight at the OK Laundrette
This was the first ever episode of Minder, and boy does it feel different in tone from what I’m used to. Arthur Daley is funny as ever, but he has an unfamiliar sleazy edge. OK, Daley is always dodgy, but he has a naivety to him. Not so much here.
The main premise is that Daley gets Terry to help Alfie (Dave King), a local automatic laundrette owner, to gather the days takings. Things quickly go pear shaped when armed robbers show up. Alfie is shot in the shoulder, and he and Terry, along with an older customer, a lady named Mrs. Mayhew (Hilary Mason) are taken hostage.
Daley tries to score some lucre by going to the press. Terry was going to have drinks with a young woman named Liz (Linda Regan) who strips at a club he minds, so Arthur presents her to the press as Terry’s fiancee. He even advises her to “stick your tits out” while having her photo taken. See what I mean about him being different?
The episode is also different from others with its racial element. The hostage takers are black and the leader, Stretch (Trevor Thomas), refers to them as the ‘Independent Rastafarian Army’ (IRA) in a bit of grim humor.
Anyway, skip to the end, Terry gets the gun from the main hostage taker (his young accomplices were terrified of him and were actually very sympathetic) and everyone manages to get out with their lives intact.
Finally, we get to see Mr. Chisholm at the station trying to get a statement from Terry. He looks very different. Part of this is because Patrick Malahide wore his own clothes for the scene, so he’s dressed more modern than usual. Plus his hair is a lot longer, but, his accent and sardonic humor are pure Chisholm.
RF: I found Chisholm’s haircut quite startling the first time I saw this episode, but that’s because I’d seen most of the later episodes first and completely wasn’t expecting it. And I thought it was very interesting that Mr. Malahide had to supply his own wardrobe. I guess the production company figured that if Chisholm wasn’t going to stick around, they weren’t going to pony up for clothes for him. I wonder if George Cole and Dennis Waterman had to do the same?
Admin: “Well, that’s a turn-up, innit?” Chisholm is amused that Terry is going to be a prosecution witness. “Mrs. Wassername” told him. That would be the hostage Mrs. Mayhew. So Chisholm is all geared up for a “nice, long statement, ” but an exhausted Terry just wants to go home. Chisholm tells him he might get a judge’s commendation, but Terry doesn’t care.
Chisholm: “Awww, look, Terry, do yourself a few favors, hey. I mean you could do with a bit of credit rating around here.” Terry just wants a wash, shave and breakfast, “and then I’m going to do what you do all day.” “And what’s that,” asks Chisholm with a sinister smile. “Sleep.” Oh, ha-ha.
Chisholm is rather easy going and humorous here. It makes me think of “Caught in the Act, Fact“, another episode where Chisholm shows a much more confident side to his personality.
RF: That’s right, Chisholm was actually being nice to Terry here. I can’t see the later Chisholm coaching Terry that his “credit rating” could use some help around the nick. But hey, if Arthur Daley can be uncharacteristically lecherous, I guess Chisholm can be uncharacteristically helpful. Confident Chisholm in “Caught in the Act, Fact” is wonderful. 😉
Admin: As for the Gunfight episode itself, I didn’t really like it much. It was depressing. Chisholm, sarcastic but well-intentioned, was very much a breath of fresh air.
RF: Agreed that it was very much darker in tone. And it was also very much structured around Terry solving other people’s problems (hence “minder”, I suppose), whereas later episodes became much more of an ensemble effort, with more emphasis on Arthur as the instigator of most of the problems.
Monday Night Fever
Arthur discovers Sharon Nightingale (Sheila White), a young and beautiful but not particularly talented nostalgia singer. He books her a gig to the tune of £600 at a club where he is promised to connect with record producers, but of course it is a total rip-off. He tells Terry to put the frighteners on the club owner, but Terry doesn’t want to go back to prison. Arthur then gets Vic Piner (Anthony Heaton), a thug and psycho, to do the job. Of course, that turns out to be a terrible idea and Terry has to save the day.
Like “Gunfight”, “Monday Night Fever” is bleaker and seedier than later episodes. Arthur wants a sexual relationship with Sharon which seems out-of-character. Anyway, luckily (I suppose) for ‘Er Indoors, it doesn’t pan out as Sharon clearly prefers a much younger and nicer shaggy haired pianist.
RF: It also seems very out-of-character for Arthur to want to manage a singer in the first place. He seems much more at home trying to shift vaguely dodgy goods, which requires a lot more fast-talking and wheeler-dealing, and was a better fit for George Cole’s personality.
Admin: Chisholm has two scenes, and they are really good. He proves a bright spark in an otherwise grimy episode. He first appears waiting outside Arthur’s lock-up holding a busted padlock. Seems someone had tried to break in. And the magic words are uttered for the first time: “Hello, Mr. Chisholm.” 🙂
RF: He was also dressed really well, which makes me suspect that it must have been more of Mr. Malahide’s own wardrobe. The infamous Brown Suit has not yet made its appearance.
Admin: Chisholm is very bubbly and amused to find out this is Arthur’s gaff. “I mean we’ve got no record of you as landlord, tenant, or registered keyholder.” Awww, he’s so chipper. Arthur asks what’s the problem. “You’ve had the buglers around,” chuckles Chisholm. “Patrol car spotted them, but we’re not sure were they comin’ out or still trying to get in.” He’s so amused.
They confirm that it is Arthur’s place, but Arthur doesn’t want to go inside with Chisholm to see if anything has been stolen. Chisholm gets a lot more serious and suspicious, “what have you got in there?” Daley says just odds and ends and offers Chisholm a cigar, but Chisholm doesn’t even acknowledge that. It was probably a bribe. 🙂
RF: And we know how Chisholm feels about bribes! 😀 But we never, ever see him smoking.
Admin: Chisholm leaves commenting that Daley probably is well insured. Arthur agrees. “National Fidelity,”jokes Chisholm. Nope, it’s Terry. Chisholm sneers. “Well, just remember Arthur, if you go away for the weekend, don’t forget to inform your local police station.” And with that he leaves.
There is another little Chisholm scene towards the end. The burglars have been back, but this time they got inside and cleaned Arthur out. Arthur reckons there was nothing in there anyway. Chisholm says they just found a few records, “musical, that is, not criminal.” Ha-ha! Daley, being fond of music, tells Chisholm he used to manage a girl singer. “Oh, yeah, what happened to her, then?” “Well, you know how the kids are these days, ran off with a tone-deaf piano player.” And Chisholm, rightfully so, has had enough of their silliness and strides off back to the squad car.
RF: One of the few times we see Chisholm using a marked police car. The rest of the time he and Jones are in unmarked beaters, which were probably less expensive for Euston’s budget.
Admin: I thought this episode was better than the very first one, but it still isn’t among the very best for Minder. Obviously, as with most shows, it took a little while for all the characters to really hit their stride. By the time they got to episodes like “What Makes Shamy Run“, and “Looking for Micky“, Minder had really taken off and was making some high-quality episodes with a more harmless Arthur Daley, and a more intense and purposeful Mr. Chisholm.
The Chisholm Questions
DS Chisholm is an intriguing character who steals every scene he is in. He’s someone you would like to know more about. If we could ask Mr. Malahide some questions about DS Chisholm, this is what we’d ask
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.
Jerkass woobie. 🙂 Personally, I think Chisholm is more laudable as a human being than what he is usually given credit for. My opinion of Chisholm is that he is a good person, but I’d love to know what Mr. Malahide thinks.
What do you think Chisholm would be getting up to today? I haven’t reviewed it on the blog yet, but (spoiler alert) Mr. Chisholm has left the force in his final Minder outing “An Officer and a Car Salesman” and things go horribly for him. I like to think that he eventually left London and re-entered the police force somewhere where he would never run into Arthur Daley again. Perhaps Wales would be a suitable location, where he could reunite with Jones for a spin-off series. 😉
RF: And my questions…
We get various hints (Latin quotations, literary allusions, etc.) throughout the series that Chisholm has actually had a somewhat erudite education, more so than one might expect of your average copper. Does he, in fact, have a secret Bachelor of Arts in his past? Could it be that our Detective Sergeant had other plans in mind for his life before joining the force? Does he sometimes haunt libraries in his time off? And how desperate would he be to keep this information from the rest of his colleagues? 😉
What does Chisholm do with his time off? We know he considers himself a “twenty-four hour copper”, but he must take a break sometimes. What does he do to relax? Or does he ever relax? (Okay, in “Return of the Invincible Man” we saw some evidence of what a relaxed Chisholm is like.) Does he have any friends who aren’t coppers, or just friends, period? Or does he mostly go over to his nan’s and spend time holding her yarn while she winds it? It would be interesting to know what kind of life Chisholm has outside the police force, especially since so much of his identity seems to be bound up in his job.