Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Richie's concerns about Minder

By Kev Geoghegan
BBC News entertainment reporter


Watch a sneak preview of Shane Ritchie in Minder.

Shane Ritchie has admitted he had concerns about taking on Five's new version of TV classic Minder.

The former EastEnders star plays wheeler dealer Archie Daley in the series, which starts in February.

The original programme starred George Cole as Arthur Daley with Dennis Waterman as minder Terry McCann.

Richie said: "My first thought was that they were going to recreate it and it wasn't something I wanted to be attached to."

He added: "We had a meeting and they said, 'No, we're going to reinvent it', and it started to float my boat and I liked the idea of doing that."

Revised show

The new series has been written by Tim Loane, who has worked on shows like Channel 4's hit comedy-drama Teachers.

The updated version mirrors the original, with Richie playing it for laughs as Arthur Daley's nephew Archie, a rogueish entrepreneur working out of east London.

The soundtrack has been updated with bands such as Kasabian, The Fratellis and Hard-Fi and the changing east London landscape is paid particularly close attention with shots of the Gherkin, the London Eye and Borough Market.

The show's producers Talkback Thames, have avoided using the word "remake" and even Richie admits that would have had critics gunning for the show before it even started.

He said: "Is it risky? I don't know. Is the new Doctor Who a risk? Was Daniel Craig playing Bond a risk?

George Cole
George Cole played Arthur Daley in the original Minder

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but the essence of the show is about heart. That's what the original series of Minder was about.

"You don't always remember storylines but you remember the relationship with Terry and Arthur."

'A bit of pressure'

The original ITV series - which ran for nearly 15 years - started back in 1979, as a vehicle for Dennis Waterman, who had appeared in another hit show, The Sweeney.

Shrapnel, 29, who reprises the "minder" role, was born the same year as it launched.

Minder is his first starring role, having played smaller parts in films like Breakfast On Pluto and Thunderbirds.

"To come into a show and play a character, part of this duo who will carry the show, it is a bit of pressure but I'm not playing any relation to Terry," said Shrapnel.

"I'm a completely new character so I can do what I want with it."

In fitting with the show's re-versioning, its theme tune, I Could Be So Good For You, has been re-recorded by up-and-coming Glaswegian band Attic Lights.

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