Some lengthy excerpt to let you into the context, where ‘indoors’ sounds irrelevant to me. Was it meant to be ‘in place’ or …?

“The relationship between Sports Direct and the two agencies supplying more than 3,000 workers comes across as a marriage, but one which might not even be necessary.
There’s a dominant spouse, with a “strong grip”, that’s the giant sports retailer and its founder Mr Ashley, and a compliant other half, the two agencies, Transline and The Best Connection, joined in matrimony with him indoors by a £50m contract. But the head of the household clasping the purse strings doesn’t apparently seem to know or understand what’s really going on with its day-to-day running.”

It’s a deliberate misquote of a well-known British colloquialism.

'er indoors - was originally how a Cockney man may refer to his stay-at-home wife.

The phrase was made nationally popular in the 70s, 80s and 90s by a comedy character (Arthur Daley, played by George Cole) in the television drama ‘Minder’. He frequently used it of his off-screen wife (we never saw her make an appearance on-screen). He also referred to his wife as ‘she who must be obeyed’ which may go some way to explaining who was really in charge in that particular relationship.
“I’d love to come with you, but you know what 'er indoors (my wife) is like. She’ll never go along with it.”
“I knew it! That’s just what I said to 'er indoors (my wife) the other night.”

It was such a well-loved show and they were such endearing characters that in 1983 the two co-stars even got a novelty Christmas song out of it:

Anyway, the writer of your piece has deliberately chosen to make a play of the phrase and use ‘him indoors’ (strictly speaking it should be 'im indoors to maintain the character of the original) as a reference to the dominant partner (Sports Direct) in this relationship.

‘Her indoors’ does sound good, but for safety reasons I’d keep it to myself. :wink:

Ah, yes. Best not shared with 'er indoors. She might not see the funny side. :slight_smile:

I did wonder about posting that YouTube clip. There are several references which would be confusing to anyone who isn’t familiar with the show and even more which would be confusing for learners.

I can only check it out later, through a different PC. Until then, nothing definite…

Well it should be clear that ‘Terence’ is the other main character (He is Arthur’s nephew, supposedly employed as his Minder (bodyguard) though he is frequently undervalued and underpaid, and is called ‘Terry’ by everyone except Arthur, who insists on using the longer, more formal version on many occasions), but two of the confusing ‘in show’ references would be:

‘Chisholm’ - another character in the show. A Police Inspector who would love to catch Arthur in the middle of one of his many shady deals. (There’s no getting away from it, loveable character or not, Arthur is a tax dodger and cheat. He is a trader who will not be too worried about the covenance of an item, or whether or not it is genuine.)

‘The Winch’ - shortened form of The Winchester Club. A bar/social club frequented by the main characters.

Any other confusing references (of which I suspect there are many) are not uniquely ‘in-show’ references.

You were right: catchy tune, with lyrics needing some dubbing to be properly understood.
I believe learners would be interested.

Lyrics (I found a set online, but they were wildly inaccutrate in places, so I made the necessary changes):

Aww, listen to that, Arthur. That’s your actual Bow Bells.

Yeah. Listen to that. It’s a disgrace, on the public thoroughfare. They should be reported to the noise abatement society.

Aw, do leave off. It’s Christmas, innit, a time of good will.

A time to make you ill, you mean! We’ve only just got over “One pound fifty for the Guy, Mister.” Used to be a penny in my day.

Yeah, well Queen Victoria’s dead, in’t she?

Now I suppose it’ll be the GBH of the ear’oles from carol singers.

Aw, cheer up will ya? Moan, moan, moan. That’s all I ever get from you!

It’s tough and it’s lonely in top management.

Oh don’t give me no earache, you don’t even pay your rent!

I’ve got a lock-up with no lock on and it’s snowing outside.

If you don’t get 'er a present soon, there’ll be nowhere to hide.

I’ve got a lovely furry coat. I could tell 'er it’s mink.

Nah, she’ll suss it’s skunk, It don’t half pen an’ ink.

It don’t

It do.

You’d know?

I would.

Here’s a turn-up for the book!


Hold on, here comes Chisholm.

He’s giving me a funny look. What now?

Sing - He don’t know one carol from another!

What’ll I get for Christmas for 'er indoors?

I don’t see it’s my problem, really.
In fact, don’t give me no problems, 'cos this one’s yours.



That’s typical.


You’ve no respect.

You make me laugh, you do.

No, Terence, please…

Look, just leave me out!

After all I’ve done for you?

What’re we gonna get for 'er indoors?

Whatever I get, it’s gonna cost me an arm and a leg.

Well, you’ve got four of 'em, ain’t you? Even you oan afford one of them!

A typewriter with ribbons that was worn by Lady Di.

A lovely sirloin steak for when she whacks you in the eye!

She wouldn’t

She would

You know?

How much?

All right, I will concede! But we’re standing here with nothing, and it’s nearly Christmas eve!


'Ere what about that perfume I purchased down the Winch?

You spilt it on the counter, and it blistered every inch!

Oh yes! We could bottle it and call it “The Elixir of Life”!

You do that to 'er, son, and the next thing, you’ll need a new wife!

Yeah, that wouldn’t be very nice, would it?

Well, it’s not for me to comment.

What’ll I get for Christmas for 'er indoors?

I don’t really care an awful lot.
Don’t give me no problems, 'cos this one’s yours.

There you go again!

There I go again? Eh?

That’s typical.


You’ve no respect.

You make me laugh, you do.

Oh, Terence, please…

Just leave me out!

After all I’ve done for you?

What’re we gonna get for 'er indoors?



Sorry about that. It’s Christmas.

I’ve got some lovely Hong Kong made genuine Paris knickers.

Yeah! She can wear them with that fourteen-pair of left foot kickers!

Wives, St. Lawrence, Channel Five, I’ve gone right through the card.
'Ere, what about that Cartier watch?

Nah, fell off the lorry too hard.

An iron?

Leave off.



I’ll throw 'er a tupperware party.

That’s like getting a telly that only shows Russell Harty.

Oh Terence, this is serious, we’ve got to do something soon!

'Ere, Why dont you just… not go home?


She’d be over the moon!

That is very wounding, Terence!


Wounding and ungrateful, that’s what you are.

I’m entitled to be, the money you don’t pay me!

You do all right.

Do I? No thanks to you.

What’re we gonna get for 'er indoors?



That’s typical!


You’ve no respect!

You make me laugh, you do.

Oh, Terence, please.

Look, just leave me out

After all I’ve done for you!

What’re we gonna get for 'er indoors?

I wish it was January the second.

What’re we gonna get for 'er indoors?

'Ere, in’t that carol singing?

Yeah, I wish she’d stop. Come on. I’ve got a cotchel of army surplus Christmas Puddings I want shifting. Come on!


Well, some hazy points for me: I’ve got a lock-up / a jail, especially a local one for temporary detention --?/ with no lock on …
Wives, St. Lawrence, Channel Five, I’ve gone right through the card./I know them too well–? How’s Ch Five is relevant?../
‘a cotchel’ is interpreted differently in different sources / A small portion of something; Many, or plenty; A large meal or large portion of food/
[In fact, you can enjoy it even not digging that deep, still…]

a lock up - a free standing place used for storage which can be ‘locked up’ - typically a garage ot similar.
with no lock on - the garage/shed which can (in theory) be locked up doesn’t actually have a lock (or more likely has a broken lock).

wives/St, Lawrence/ Channel 5 - all places where goods are advertised (in the first instances, slang names)
I’ve gone right through the card - worked through the usual list of places where you would look for ideas.

cotchel - in this case it can mean both ‘small portion’ or ‘large portion’ at the same time - it’s a small portion of the entire stock of Christmas puddings originally produced/purchased by the army but too large a portion for a small number of families - he has too much for private use, it is intended for selling on.

Well done if you get everything else, including the rhyming slang! :slight_smile: