Waterman bids a tearful farewell to Minder co-star George Cole
Actor Dennis Waterman has paid a tearful tribute to his Minder co-star George Cole at his funeral, where the coffin arrived to the show's famous theme tune.
Cole, who died on August 5 aged 90, is best remembered for his portrayal of small-time wheeler dealer and crook Arthur Daley in the TV series, alongside his likeable bodyguard Terry McCann, played by Waterman.
His coffin entered Reading Crematorium to the theme tune to the popular series, which ran from 1979 to 1994. The upbeat song I Could Be So Good for You was a hit for Waterman in 1980.
Delivering the eulogy at the service, Waterman (67), said: "People are always asking me for anecdotes. Working with George was an anecdote. It was non-stop. We laughed all day long, every day.
"I can't understand or bear to think how the family feel because I know how we feel.
Speaking after the service, Waterman said: "He was just the most popular person in showbiz and the nicest and the best. He was happiest when he was at home, when he was getting a few winners, and with his family and in his garden."
Born in 1925, Cole, who was adopted as a baby and grew up in Morden, south London, began his career in musical theatre before getting his break in films in the 1940s. He appeared on screen with Laurence Olivier, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison
His role as the spiv Flash Harry in four of the St Trinian's films in the 1950s proved an early prototype for his Arthur Daley character.
His catchphrases on Minder, such as "'er indoors" and "nice little earner", became part of popular British culture.
Cole died in hospital with his family at his side after a short illness.