A new, fast-paced 21st century version of the TV classic Minder was launched yesterday, starring Shane Richie as wheeler-dealer Arthur Daley’s nephew.
Richie plays Archie Daley, with Royal Shakespeare Company actor Lex Shrapnel taking on the role of his minder, Jamie Cartwright.
The show — written by Belfast man Tim Loane — will be screened on Five, and those behind it emphasised it was not a re-make.
The original ITV show, with a catchy theme tune, starred George Cole as Arthur Daley and Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann back in the 1980s.
The catchy theme tune, sung by the original minder Waterman, has been re-recorded by Glaswegian band Attic Lights.
And songs by indie bands Kasabian and Hard-Fi appear against a glossy London backdrop in the first episode of the new series, which was screened at the show’s launch in a pub in London’s Borough High Street.
Five is comparing the “geezer-chic” look of the series with slick gangster films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sexy Beast.
Richie joked: “They mentioned Minder to me a year ago and I thought brilliant, it will be me and George Cole.
“They said: ‘No, you will play the George Cole role’, and suddenly I realised how old I was!
“I still see myself as a 20-year-old. I was scared of it because they are big shoes to fill.”
Richie said he would love the idea of the actors in the original series making cameo appearances, and he recently filmed an episode of BBC1’s New Tricks with Waterman.
Richie said the new series had to stand up in its own right first, but then, “who knows?”
Richie said he liked the idea of breaking Uncle Arthur out of an old people’s home.
He said he had felt under pressure following in such footsteps, but added: “There are a whole lot of people under 40 that have never seen Minder, other than they may have heard the theme tune at a nightclub.”
Speaking about how the pace of television had moved on, Richie said: “I think ours is faster, purely because TV demands that.
“I know it’s going to look and feel very different.”
Richie, who played Alfie Moon in EastEnders, said that while Arthur Daley talked about “’er indoors”, Alfie Daley referred to “she who must be paid” as he was going through a messy split.
Shrapnel, who was born the year the original series first aired, in 1979, said he had been working out for the role, but broke his hand in the final hour of filming during a fight scene.
He said: “I clubbed a lad in the back of the head and I heard it go and felt it go.”
The first episode of the new show sets up the story, with Shrapnel’s character working as a cabbie, and also features a plotline with a cockroach coming to a sticky end in a microwave.
Guests in the new series include Rik Mayall and Meera Syal.
The new six-part series of Minder is due to begin airing next month.