Friday June 8, 2018
What are the elements that you mainly associate with Minder? There are the cars of course – Terry’s array of slightly down-at-heel Capris, the Daley Jaguars and Daimlers, Detective-Sergeants Chisholm and Rycott attempting to fight crime in a Vauxhall Cavalier Mk. II or a Talbot Solara. There are the catchphrases and the one-liners: ‘You only get out of life what you put in and a bit more if you can find a couple of mugs’. There are the now fascinatingly grim West London locations. And, of course, presiding over The Winchester Club and dispensing vodka slim lines and wise advice in equal measure is Dave Harris played by Glynn Edwards who passed away on 23rd May.
When Minder was first aired in 1979 the actor was aged only 48 but he was one of those master character players who always seemed to be far older than his years. He was tall, burly and often truculent and in the late 1970s Edwards’ most high-profile television roles were in the Tyne Tees’ children’s series The Paper Lads and Frank Spencer’s perpetually irate neighbour Mr. Lewis. To be fair, if you had your Ford Zephyr 4 Mk. IV wrecked via an encounter with a milk float you might feel slightly out of sorts as well -
‘It was a smash but people are amazed to know that there were only a dozen episodes. I was in three.’ Some us will also recall his starring in a very fondly remembered advert for Rich Tea Biscuits -
In the early 1960s Edwards appeared in two well-above-average second features with strong motoring connections, 1963’s The Hi-Jackers and 1964’s Smokescreen. In the former he was the member of a gang of hoods who hold up lorries on Chobham Common prior to their making a getaway in a Jaguar Mk. 2 and in the latter, he was a Humber Hawk driving police inspector investigating how a burning Hillman Minx Convertible came to be driven off a cliff in Sussex. He was one of those actors who could be found on either side of the law, from the Commander in Robbery to Albert Swift in Get Carter and prison officers accused of brutality in Crown Court. But from the moment that he took up residence behind the bar of the Winchester Club and rumbled ‘’Ello Arfur’, in those distinctive Salisbury-infected tones Edwards became a genuine television star. He later reflected that ‘Amazingly, it was just one day’s work initially, and seeing the script made me realise why: there was only a couple of lines to say. My agent persuaded me to accept it, explaining that the part may grow and, of course, it did’.
Dave was rarely seen outside of the confines of the club, but the Winchester was essential to Minder as Arthur’s home from home, as well as providing a convenient venue for any amount of deals involving Terry being exploited and heavies in a second-hand Ford Granada GXL. In Daley’s words ‘you make contact with your customer. Understand their needs. And then flog them something they could well do without’. And for ten series, Dave served the drinks and gently winced as he overheard this week’s scheme -
Glynn Edwards 2nd February 1931 to 23rd May 2018