"The world is your oyster” is an old proverb. “The world is your lobster” is a jocular variant that was said by the character Arthur Daley (played by George Cole) on the British comedy drama Minder, “Rocky Eight and a Half” episode (January 11, 1984). The “lobster” line became one of the most memorable in Minder‘s 15 years on the air.
Wiktionary: the world is one’s oyster
c. 1600, William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2, scene 2, 2–5
Pistol: Why then the world’s mine oyster/Which I with sword will open.
the world is one’s oyster
1. All opportunities are open to someone, the world is theirs.
2. In order to achieve something in this world, one has to grab the opportunity.
Wikipedia: Minder (TV series)
Minder was a British comedy-drama about the London criminal underworld. Initially produced by Verity Lambert, it was made by Euston Films, a subsidiary of Thames Television (Central in 1993 and 1994) and shown on ITV. The show ran for ten series between 29 October 1979 and 10 March 1994, and starred Dennis Waterman as Terry McCann, an honest and likable bodyguard (minder in London slang) and George Cole as Arthur Daley, a socially ambitious, but highly unscrupulous importer-exporter, wholesaler, used-car salesman, and purveyor of anything else from which there was money to be made whether inside the law or not.
Wikipedia: George Cole (actor)
George Edward Cole, OBE (22 April 1925 – 5 August 2015) was an English actor whose career spanned more than 70 years. He was known for playing Arthur Daley in the long-running ITV drama show Minder and Flash Harry in the early St Trinian’s films.
IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Minder (TV Series)
Rocky Eight and a Half (1984)
Arthur Daley: The world is your lobster, my son.
OCLC WorldCat record
The world’s your lobster
Author: Joe Bennett
Publisher: Auckland [N.Z.] : HarperCollins, 2009.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
the world is your lobster
Uploaded on Jan 8, 2012
the world is your lobster
The Telegraph (UK)
The world is your lobster: Arthur Daley’s guide to life
7 AUGUST 2015 • 8:24AM
The world is your lobster
“He’s an inverterbrate liar”; “He must be on them stair rods” (steroids); “What’s French for en-suite facilities?”; “Stand on me”; All were memorable Arthur Daleyisms. But the best was “the world is your lobster”, which Arthur says to his minder, Terry McCann, played by Dennis Waterman. Cole has regularly paid tribute to the Minder scriptwriters, especially the late Leon Griffiths (who was named after Leon Trotsky by his staunchly communist mother). But the lobster remark was coined by Cole, as he recalled: “My son heard someone say it in a pub and he told me – I took out my wallet and gave him £25 and bought the line off him. I sat on it for about two years and suddenly we had a boxing episode. I went round to see Terry after the fight and he was covered in blood and moaning. And I said, ad libbing, “Don’t you worry my son, from now on the world is your lobster.”
The Sunday Times (UK)
Veteran actor best known for playing the lovable rogue Arthur Daley in Minder
Published: 9 August 2015
From the moment George Cole, who has died aged 90, glanced at a synopsis of the character of Arthur Daley, he knew he had struck gold.
Daley’s Cockney argot entered the British lexicon. He contributed memorable phrases such as “A friend in need . . . is a pest”, as well as malapropisms such as “He’s an invertebrate liar”. Cole’s favourite was “the world is your lobster”, which he had heard in a restaurant; he promptly paid his fellow diner £25 out of gratitude, knowing the line would be perfect for Daley.