Minder S05E01 “Goodbye Sailor” aired 5 Sept. 1984. It is infamous for the raft gag which actually could have injured Patrick Malahide. The stunt is discussed in some detail in the Minder episode of “Drama Connections” recapped here.
The basic plot has Arthur Daley (George Cole) investing in tobacco smuggled from France. Daley has a posh retired Naval officer chum, Commander Hawksly (Moray Watson), who has been illegally importing the tobacco. Daley, eager to get in the action, convinces a newsagent, Larry Patel (Rashid Karapiet), to place a sizable order. All seems to be going fine, except Daley can’t make the drop-off, so he sends Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman) and Arnie (Ray Winstone) in his stead. Of course things go quickly pear shaped.
The Peculiar Puzzle of the Purloined Plimsolls
Chisholm is mostly involved with the episode’s subplot about stolen “athletic footwear.” He and his partner DC Jones (Meic Povey) are patiently waiting, as they often are, at Arthur’s lock-up. Chisholm is casually yet menacingly lounging on the hood of their cop car. He elegantly swans over the second Daley and Terry pull up.
“Daley, time for a word,” he begins politely. Daley stutteringly attempts to fob him off, but Chisholm decisively grabs Daley’s elbow, “Inside,” single-handedly frog-marching Daley into the lock-up. I really like confident assertive Chisholm.
For some reason Terry is very rude to Jones, making fun of his Welsh ethnicity. “I tell you what, Taff, give us a song, hey?” Honestly, I wouldn’t have blamed Jones in the least if he’d given Terry a little slap across his gormless jowls. Police brutality be damned, there is no reason for that kind of bigotry, Terry! RFodchuk wickedly pointed out that the only person likely to bust out a jolly old (feem) “toon” would be Terry himself. Ha-ha! 😀
Jones for his part doesn’t seem too fussed and shoots Terry a less than impressed look. Chisholm steps in, “Less lip, McCann, you’re in the frame too.” You tell him! Chisholm isn’t always the best boss to have, in fact he very seldom is, but he won’t let Terry cheek his DC like that. He then immediately chivvies a dithering Daley to hurry up and let them in.
They enter the lock-up with Chisholm smoothly gliding about asserting his authority. Daley makes a last ditch attempt at getting rid of them, “According to my rights as a normal citizen a search warrant is…..” Chisholm cuts him off. “Don’t be silly, Daley, you’re not a normal citizen.” Ha-ha!
They run through the usual gags inspired by the oddball products found in Daley’s lock-up. A fridge contains videos such as “The Ronald Reagan Keep Fit Video.” It was a best seller I’m sure. Chisholm also finds a batch of (now vintage) rotary telephones. I kind of miss those things. They were so satisfying to use and were visually attractive. The phones remind me of one of my favorite Minder episodes “Life in the Fast Food Lane” which has a fun telephone subplot featuring a young Peter Capaldi.
After a bit more mucking about, Chisholm finally glides over (honestly, he does glide, he’s worse than Jeeves, king of the shimmer) to Daley. He explains that the other night 1500 pairs of highly expensive sporting footwear had been stolen. The footwear owner is a close friend of the Chief Superintendent, so this case has top priority. Neither Chisholm nor Jones are too thrilled about this, but they have to investigate. The silver lining for Chisholm is that in the course of their investigation, Daley’s name somehow came up. Of course it would. “So as of this moment, I am on your back, and if I turn up so much as a bootlace I’m not only going to pull you for receiving, I’m going to stick you up for conspiracy to commit a robbery.” Uh-oh! Chisholm even states that he is making a solid threat.
Just at that moment a very dodgy looking guy pulls up outside and knocks at the door. Daley goes to answer, and of course it is a bloke with a ton of athletic footwear. Daley quickly sends the bloke off right before Chisholm steps outside. Noooooo! So close!
Robert Louis Stevenson It Ain’t
Despite temporarily escaping Chisholm’s wrath nothing else goes smoothly for Daley. Terry and Arnie meet Commander Hawksly, only to find a lengthy delay in acquiring the tobacco. Meanwhile, Daley discovers that his high-end trainers are actually football boots complete with great big cleats rendering them essentially unsellable.
Terry and Hawksly talk to Daley (who is at the Winchester) on the phone about the delay, and Daley decides he’ll join them. As he talks, Chisholm and Jones idle up to him. Daley pretends he is talking to his wife promising to get home soon. But, then he decides to have another drink. “I thought you had to rush home, Arthur.” “Oh, that is what is known as a delayed response, Mr. Chisholm.”
Chisholm seems in no hurry to leave Daley, but presumably they do part ways because Daley eventually gets down to Hawksly’s boat, bringing a load of football boots with him. The idea is for Terry and Arnie to unscrew the cleats. Yeah, that’s going to increase their value alright.
Eventually, they do make the drop-off, but the authorities (or the “river filth” as Arnie refers to them, ha-ha) ruin the whole caper and our would-be smugglers are forced to toss the tobacco overboard. Fortunately, Hawskly is an officer and a gentleman and gives Daley his money back. Also, Hawksly has a beautiful young assistant, Penny (Sarah Berger), who cleverly determines where the goods may wash up at, so Daley and the boys can retrieve it. Much hilarity ensues as they slip and slide in the mud. Actually, it is pretty funny because I think Ray Winstone really was laughing his head off at the absurdity of it all. 🙂 At least Chisholm wasn’t the only one to physically suffer in this episode. Good!
Give That Man a Drink
So, they get back home. Poor Mr. Patel buys the tobacco before realizing it has been befouled by the sea. I feel sorry for him, but that is the price of illegal, untaxed tobacco. Next time Daley offers a deal, I hope Mr. Patel rats him out to Chisholm.
And now it is time for the raft scene. For reasons unknown, Arnie procured himself an inflatable raft. Yep, it’s all Arnie’s fault. Chisholm, in full stoat mode, slinks down the Winchester stairs and quickly spies the suspicious looking bundle. “Well, well, well….the Wild Bunch is back in town.” He checks out the bundle expecting it to be full of footwear, straddles it and…..BOOM….it explodes into a full size raft, lifting Chisholm (and therefore, Mr. Malahide!!) off the ground. He manages to maintain his balance but is clearly shaken-up and steadies himself at the bar. Arnie wisely has run away 😀
As always, the Chisholm scenes are the best, even if he is being man-handled by a boat. As for the rest of the episode, it isn’t bad. I think Arnie adds a lot to it. If it had just been Terry and Penny aboard the boat, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good. Arnie is funny and innocent and almost 100% unrecognizable as Ray Winstone 🙂 I also rather liked Commander Hawksly. Penny was alright, but I have to question her taste because at one point she nipped off to the pub with Terry, leaving poor Arnie unscrewing cleats all on his lonesome. Arnie might be a twit, but he’s a lot funnier and more likable than Terry.
But, that ending with Chisholm, right? That is no way to end an episode. Poor Mr. Chisholm deserves better than that. So, RFodchuk and I have decided to share some of our favorite “Mr. Chisholm Moments of Win”. They might be brief, but they are lovely, plus we get to end things on a much more positive note 🙂
OK, this scene from “Car Lot Baggers” (recap here) is perhaps a wee bit nasty, but Chisholm is somewhat justified, and he shows he is committed to serious policing. Terry McCann has been minding the car lot of Daley’s dodgy chum Wally West who is being harassed by someone wanting his property. Things get serious and arsonists pay a visit, slightly injuring Terry in the process. The damage isn’t bad, but the results obviously could have been much worse.
Chisholm shows up and is unsurprised and very annoyed to see Terry there. As the worn-out Terry leans against an open car door enjoying a cuppa, Chisholm casually, and deliberately, kicks the door shut causing the drink to slosh. Oh, Chisholm! That isn’t very nice….but it is funny. I love Chisholm’s slightly triumphant smirk.
But don’t worry, Chisholm hasn’t gone Officer Nasty on us. He takes the arson attack very seriously and wants to put a stop to the harassment. He knows a “minder” on the lot proves something unpleasant is going on and even uses a bit of Latin to stress the point: “Quod erat demonstrandum.” Nice! He gets deadly serious, “Who is putting the frighteners on Wally West?” I love that line. It is brilliant and of course Mr. Malahide says it perfectly. “Who ever did this is a very wicked person.” Mr. Chisholm recognizes real villains from amusing rogues like Wally West. It is a great scene, but the kick-slosh bit is my favorite. 😉
RF: Yeah, it’s pretty rare to see Chisholm indulging in a bit of petty bullying like that – but on the other hand, considering all the aggravation he gets from Terry and Arthur combined, I think it’s completely understandable. And that is an adorably evil smirk he has on his face when he does it. 😀 Plus as you say, his real priority is the other villains. He knows Terry and Arthur will still be around when he’s done.
Every Dogtooth Has His Day
In Looking for Micky (recap here), Chisholm certainly has his ups and downs. But the episode ends on an up. He re-arrests Micky (a prison escapee) and stops a violent altercation between Terry and the episode’s true villain, the Kray-like Freddie Baker. Freddie is a nasty piece of work and has some great scenes with Chisholm who refuses to be cowed by the vicious gangster. After sending all involved on their way, Chisholm calls Daley back with a sly wag of his finger, “Don’t worry Arthur, every dogtooth has his day.”
It is Chisholm’s way of letting Arthur know that Freddie Baker will some day get his comeuppance. The line is also funny because Daley has been flogging some dodgy houndstooth jackets, so Chisholm got a dig in there. It is a fun scene showing Chisholm with a playful sense of humor.
RF: Not only is he reminding Arthur that Freddie will get his comeuppance, I think he’s also reminding him that he now owes Chisholm a rather large favour. Terry’s much-vaunted fighting skills aside (*ahem*), I don’t think Terry would’ve had much chance against that bunch, and you know Arthur wouldn’t have been any help whatsoever. And Chisholm managed to defuse the whole thing without any violence, which I think is also a point in his favour.
Admin: That’s right, Freddie and his goons would have given Terry a right thumping, and Arthur would have been caught up in the middle of it. Chisholm knows there are times when Daley is actually, gasp, glad to see him. Those times are usually when a right proper crim is threatening to make life very unpleasant indeed.
“He should be in the nick…”
In “Caught In the Act, Fact“, Terry takes a job minding Lady Margaret Thompson as a favour to her husband, who’s a friend of Arthur’s. Lady Margaret seems perfectly normal at first, despite a propensity for making somewhat ugly welded metal sculptures; she’s friendly to Terry and even asks him to call her “Maggie”. All seems to be going well until Terry accompanies her on a shopping trip. He loses track of Lady Margaret in the store and is literally left holding her bag outside, looking for her. Sadly for him, the bag is full of stolen merchandise. It appears Lady Margaret has an unfortunate shoplifting habit! No wonder she needs a minder – just one who’s better at the job than Terry.
Terry is hauled down to the nick, along with the store’s security man who saw him leave the store with the goods. Lady Margaret and her husband both disavow any knowledge of Terry, and Chisholm is having a hard time believing a lady and a magistrate would (1) steal so much stuff, or (2) leave Terry to catch all the blame. Terry calls in Arthur to corroborate his story of being Lady Margaret’s minder, but Arthur throws him under the bus instead, saying Terry made up the whole thing after a nasty knock in the head. “He should be in hospital!” says Arthur. “He should be in the nick. That’s where he’s gonna be, very shortly,” says Chisholm, studying his nails with a smirk of satisfaction. Chisholm’s now had Terry “caught in the act, fact” twice in one episode: first, for getting his fingerprints on a stolen Fort Cortina (long story), and now, for shoplifting. No wonder he seems rather satisfied. Plus he looks so cute when he smirks; he really does love his job sometimes. 😉
Admin: He’s quite happy to have a done and dusted case, complete with plenty of evidence, to clear off his case load. 🙂 Chisholm is a wee bit, just a weeee tiny bit, sympathetic to Terry’s plight, but with the evidence and Lady Margaret’s word (and position) stacked firmly against Terry there isn’t much Chisholm can do aside from gloat adorably.
RF: I don’t think Chisholm minds taking a bit of unfair advantage when he knows there are likely numerous times when Arthur and Terry have done the same to him. It’s just the universe balancing itself. 😉
Getting Some Poetic Justice
This one is a little more brief, but still a Moment of Win. In “Poetic Justcie, Innit?“, after an extremely trying day in which Chisholm is called to give evidence and a court trial and therefore forced to give up Jones to D.S. Soames, a stern-faced rival known for pursuing internal affairs charges who’ll be replacing him while he’s gone, his day just gets worse when he discovers none other than Arthur Daley will be serving on the jury. Poor Chisholm now has to worry about both Soames and Arthur, both what’s happening behind his back and right in front of him in the court room. And Arthur makes things exponentially worse by asking embarrassing questions in court, as well as undermining Chisholm’s case to the jury. The defendant is actually blatantly guilty, but it looks like Arthur will wear the jury down to a “not guilty” verdict by sheer attrition. After all, he’s a master at coming up with excuses for petty criminal behaviour.
Despite everything stacked against him, Chisholm unknowingly catches a break when one of the jury members – an old biddy who’s barely looks up from her knitting the entire time – reveals that she knows the accused very well, and furthermore that the entire street knows he’s a bad ‘un. Of course he did it. So all of Arthur’s hard work tumbles down, the defendant is found guilty (and more or less admits it on the stand), and Chisholm gets a notch in his belt as the arresting officer. He’s even able to smile about it, after all he’s been through. However, he still has to dodge Arthur on the way out; it seems the ultra-efficient Soames has cleaned out Arthur’s lock-up, and Arthur – desperately asserting he was instrumental in reaching the guilty verdict – badly wants Chisholm’s help getting his goods back. Chisholm practically runs out of the court house to escape. But hey, at least it proves he’s a competent police officer. He wouldn’t be a detective sergeant if he didn’t have a few successes to his name.
Admin: Rather a double win for Chisholm: He gets his conviction and Daley loses (at least temporarily) those dodgy goods of his because of Soames. Somehow I doubt Chisholm bothered pouring over the paperwork to get Daley’s dubious merchandise back. 🙂
RF: And Jones, Arthur, and Terry all seem to agree that whatever Chisholm’s flaws are, he’s far more bearable than Soames – even if they never tell him about it. So that might even make it a triple win.
Gallery, Courtesy of RFodchuk