Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Minder (1979-94)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Episode 1: "Gunfight at the OK Laundrette" - tx 29/10/1979

Arthur attends the wedding of Alfie Cavallo's son. Afterwards Alfie asks Arthur if Terry could help him pick up the receipts from his laundrettes. Terry is working as a bouncer at a strip club. After throwing out an over-excited customer, Terry gets a date with Liz, one of the dancers who is grateful for his efforts.

Terry and Alfie go to the OK laundrette and start collecting the takings. Gang leader Stretch pulls out a sawn-off shotgun and, with his confederates Winston and Cosmo, asks Alfie to hand over the money. Terry tries to stop him and Alfie is shot in the shoulder. When the police arrive, Stretch takes them all hostage, including Mrs Mayhew, an elderly customer. They go in a back room but find the exit door padlocked. The police soon surround the building, trapping Stretch and the others inside the boiler room.

Arthur meets Liz at the pub and over the radio hears about the hostage situation. They both head for the laundrette, where a large crowd has gathered. Stretch refuses to talk directly to the police, so Terry negotiates for them. Stretch asks for a helicopter to take them to Ethiopia, claiming they are members of the 'Independent Rastafarian Army', an organisation he has just invented. Winston and Cosmo say that they don't want to go to Africa. The police refuse to negotiate and won't send any food or drink in to them. The boiler room gets increasingly hot and Alfie is still losing blood. Arthur and Liz arrive at the laundrette. Arthur makes a deal with a newspaper, saying that Liz is due to marry Terry. Stretch threatens to kill Mrs Mayhew but Terry talks him out of it.

The next morning Liz's photograph is on the cover of the newspaper with news of her engagement to Terry. The hostages are increasingly weary. Terry manages to distract Stretch and gets into a fight with him, eventually disarming him. He convinces the others to give themselves up. He takes them outside, but the police treat him as a suspect since he has two prior criminal convictions. Terry is released when Mrs Mayhew tells the police that he saved them all. Outside the police station, Liz smothers Terry with kisses while being photographed for the newspapers. Arthur takes Terry home in a taxi, convinced that they will both be able to make some money from the ordeal.