|The Meic Povey Interview|
In 2007 minder.org approached writer and actor Meic Povey who played Chisholm’s sidekick DC 'Taff' Jones and subsequently DS Jones between series 3 to 7, to talk to us about his time on the show. Meic kindly agreed.
We would very much like to thank Meic for taking time out to talk to us.
Q. How did you come to be involved in Minder and why did they want a Welsh copper?
Right place at the right time. I’d written a 26-part series for HTV Wales in 1981, called Taff Acre which went out on the ITV network at lunchtimes. Myself, the producer and the director were auditioning actresses in a flat in Baker Street. My agent had phoned my house in Cardiff, and was furious that I was in town without telling her. I had to leave the auditions early to attend to my own audition! I had to reach Putney Bridge where Euston Films were based then. I was late, about two stops away. I decided that if a tube didn’t arrive in the next five minutes I would catch a tube going the other way – to Paddington and Wales. Fortunately for me, it did arrive and eventually I was seated in front of the director, Robert Young, who took one look at me and promptly gave me the part of Jones – all three lines of it. Imagine my thrill, on the train home to Cardiff, with a pink-covered script in front of me and the words ‘Minder’ written across it.
They did not want a Welsh copper. Chisholm, whom Jones partnered, always had a different D.C. before I came along. My agent saw the name ‘Jones’ and obviously thought I would have a better than average chance of nabbing the part (being Welsh). The part sort of grew from there. They eventually realised that Chisholm and Jones worked rather well together – one was Cockney, the other very Welsh – and began writing stuff specifically for us.
Q. How did you find working with George Cole, Dennis Waterman and Patrick Malahide?
A joy. Pat (Malahide) and myself became very close. Both Celts I suppose. We socialised a lot outside work. I had a drinking relationship with Dennis – I think nearly everybody did in those days. Very much a man’s man, no nonsense. Although, when he published a book a few years ago, he failed to mention me. The bastard. My relationship with George – a truly nice man – was strictly professional. George was a very private person; he did the job and went home. When I look at some of the episodes now, like all telly, they’ve dated – but the one thing that still makes it worth while is George’s performance. He must be one of the funniest men alive.
Q. What is your favourite memory of filming the show?
I do not have a favourite memory. It was all good.
Q. If you had to pick one episode which you like the most, which one would it be and why?
'It’s a Sorry Lorry Morrie' - because the title is so daft.
Q. In the final Dennis Waterman series, Jones was promoted to sergeant - could you explain a little bit about how this came about and would you have liked to have continued this role into the 90s Gary Webster series?
Anybody like me – 3rd division – would obviously have liked to continue in the role. It was not my decision to quit. However, in Pat Malahide’s case – 1st division, what I’d call a proper actor – he DID want to quit, and that is why Jones was promoted to Sergeant in the final Dennis Waterman series. Being totally objective, this was not a good move in my view. Jones worked best as a number two, very much trodden on by Chisholm and the butt of Arthur and Terry’s jokes – not to mention Rycott, who hated him. Jones was not a natural leader, and I had to play the part differently, which didn’t work so well. For one thing, he ceased to be funny. What they should have done was make him number two to Rycott (the late, great Peter Childs, a very dear friend). The two would have worked perfectly together, without Jones having to change his character.
Q. Can you remember anything about working with some of the guest stars that popped up on the show?
Almost all of the guest stars were terribly nice and friendly – real stars always are. The one exception was that guy in ‘The Good Life’ – NOT Richard Briers, who was fantastic – but the other guy, dead now. He was very snooty, and just didn’t bother to say ‘hello’.
Q. Do you still see any of the people you worked with on Minder?
No, I don’t. But I did actually work with Dennis one more time, in a radio drama for BBC Wales down in Cardiff. And I met up with him a couple of times when he was touring (again in Cardiff): the once when he was in ‘This Time Next Year’ with his then wife, the fearsome Rula; the other time when he appeared in ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’ (he was excellent in that).
Q. Since leaving Minder, I have seen you pop up several times on S4C in Wales, in 'A Mind To Kill', and even (if I'm not mistaken) as a fake door-to-door salesman in BBC's Crimewatch UK in the early 1990s. What have you been up to recently?
Recently, and always I’ve been writing. I’ve been a full-time, professional writer for over 30 years. Acting has always been ‘on the side’ for me. Although I still have an agent, the last thing I did was a very small part in the first, new Dr. Who series about two years ago.
26th November 2007
Since conducting this interview, in 2015 Meic also kindly contributed to an episode commentary discussing his time on Minder, available to registered users on http://forum.minder.org.
Last updated by : 26th November 2007 by jno
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