THE pie, peas and mash were piping hot at The Barrow Boy And Banker.
Five pushed out the gravy boat for the launch of Minder.
They hired a pub at one end of London Bridge for the afternoon.
Opened a free bar.
And served up a choice of pies or oysters for the assembled media.
Along with the stars of the “re-invention” of the original series.
It being lunchtime and all that, I stuck to just the one glass of still water.
With Five chief executive Dawn Airey complaining that far too many hacks were holding glasses of orange juice for her liking.
You can read today’s MEN feature on Minder star Shane Richie here.
View a pic gallery here.
And scroll to the bottom of this blog for three short audio extracts plus related links.
Some, like The Guardian’s Sam Woolaston, have already given the new six-part series the thumbs down.
Dawn is a former director of programmes at Five and returned to the channel last October – after the drama had been commissioned.
She provided potential ammunition for critics with opening remarks like:
“It’s going to be a hit. And if it isn’t a hit, then I blame the previous management.”
And: “I have to say I was a little bit sceptical about bringing back such a loved and well-known brand.”
Before adding that after watching a few episodes, she liked it a lot.
I have to say I wasn’t thrilled by the first episode.
But watching a screen in a pub where the sound was, unfortunately, out of synch with the picture isn’t representative of a normal viewing experience.
I’d far rather view the first and second episode on my own telly on a wet Wednesday night before passing judgement.
Five are to be applauded for investing in a major new British drama.
It may, or may not, appeal to a 21st century audience.
But this new version of Minder deserves to be given a chance.
After all, it’s the opinion of viewers sat at home that counts – not the view of the critics.
Shane (Archie Daley) is joined on screen by Lex Shrapnel, who plays new minder Jamie Cartwright.
Five had even imported part of the set for the press launch.
With Shane and Lex sat behind Archie’s office desk for the interviews.
Which is how I found myself perched next to a stuffed alsatian while chatting to the stars of the show.
Another first for 2009.
Given the present economic climate, Shane reckons the return of Minder, with wheeler-dealer Archie, is perfectly timed.
“Where all of a sudden, car boot sales are now more popular than Asda,” he claimed.
The original Minder series is still being shown on ITV4.
Shane caught a few re-runs before taking on the job.
“It was interesting how different it is to ours,” he told us.
“In a sense, how TV’s moved on, and the pace of something.
“You watch Arthur (George Cole) and Terry (Dennis Waterman).
“Of course it’s a wonderful relationship…but how the story moves.
“I think ours is much faster and more of a pace, purely because TV demands that now.”
Check out the links under the audio files below, including one to the video featuring Shane, Lex and Attic Lights.
They’re the band who have re-recorded a version of I Could Be So Good For You, which is used as the theme tune for the new series.
Minder begins on Five early next month, when there will be a second feature on the series in the MEN and online.
Audio Files (MP3):
Shane: On Dennis Waterman
Shane: On Arthur Daley
Shane: On acting
Minder Star Shane’s A Wheeler Dealer
Minder Pic Gallery
Minder Fan Site
Attic Lights: I Could Be So Good For You (Video link)
The Barrow Boy And Banker