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|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||6|
|No. of episodes||71 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||10 January 1986– 4 December 1994|
Lovejoy is a British TV comedy-crime-drama series based on the picaresque novels by John Grant under the pen name Jonathan Gash. The show, which ran to 71 episodes over six series, was originally broadcast by the BBC between 10 January 1986 and 4 December 1994, although there was a five-year gap between the first and second series. It was adapted for television by Ian La Frenais.
The series concerns the adventures of the eponymous Lovejoy, played by Ian McShane, a likeable but roguish antiques dealer based in East Anglia. Within the trade, he has a reputation as a "divvie", a person with almost supernatural powers for recognising exceptional items as well as distinguishing genuine antiques from clever fakes or forgeries.
- Lovejoy, played by Ian McShane (series one to six), less than scrupulous yet likeable rogue antique dealer.
- Eric Catchpole, played by Chris Jury (series one to five), Lovejoy's younger, enthusiastic but ever so slightly dim assistant.
- Tinker Dill, played by Dudley Sutton (series one to six), barker and tout who is friends with Lovejoy.
- Lady Jane Felsham, played by Phyllis Logan (series one to five), has a friendly relationship with Lovejoy, often helping him with his deals.
- Beth Taylor, played by Diane Parish (series five and six), Lovejoy's new apprentice following the departure of Eric Catchpole.
- Charlie Gimbert, played by Malcolm Tierney (series one, series four to six), Lovejoy's nemesis within the antiques trade
- Charlotte Cavendish, played by Caroline Langrishe (series five and six), an auctioneer who becomes Lovejoy's love interest.
- Lovejoy's daughter:
The series was notable for its style and pacing. Lovejoy would frequently break the fourth wall, revealing his thoughts and motives by addressing the audience directly. The first series was shown on BBC1 in the first half of 1986. It concluded with a two-part special. Despite being a moderate ratings success, Lovejoy was not brought back until 1991. Most of the original cast returned for the next two series between 1991 and 1992. With the start of the fourth series in 1993, Malcolm Tierney reprised his first series role as Charlie Gimbert.
During the fifth series, several cast changes were made. Lady Jane Felsham (played by Phyllis Logan) left the show in the second episode and Eric Catchpole (played by Chris Jury) departed in the sixth episode, although both characters returned for the sixth series finale. Two new regular characters were added: Lovejoy's new apprentice, Beth Taylor (played by Diane Parish), and Charlotte Cavendish (played by Caroline Langrishe), who ran a local antiques auction house.
The sixth and final series of 10 episodes was aired between October and December 1994.
Two 90-minute Lovejoy Christmas specials were shown in 1992 and 1993.
The theme tune used in the opening and end credits, as well as the incidental music for each episode, was composed by Denis King.
The television version respected the author's wish not to reveal Lovejoy's first name. Just as in the books, Lovejoy's first name is never mentioned in the TV series; the character insists on being addressed simply as "Lovejoy".
However, the novel's lechery and violence was toned down along with the amount of antique lore and terminology.
Likewise the character of Lovejoy's favourite 'barker', Tinker Dill, was cleaned up for the television series. Within the novels, he is portrayed as a malodorous, seldom-bathed individual although his penchant for strong drink was retained in the series.