Lovejoy is a divvie, a person with the extraordinary ability to recognize genuine antiques from fakes or forgeries. But even though Lovejoy is very skilled at his profession, he doesn’t seem to be able to keep himself afloat. He’s always strapped for cash, but his love for the hunt keeps him in the game. He says, “Among the bric-a-brac and tacky trinkets, there’s a gem.” And sometimes those gems have a mystery attached to them that Lovejoy cannot help but solve.
Lovejoy, played by Ian McShane, is an exceptional forger, conniver and liar, but a totally likeable guy. He loves women and antiques, but not necessarily in that order. With the help of his friend, Lady Jane Felsham, his dim assistant Eric, and often intoxicated buddy Tinker, Lovejoy scours the countryside for hidden treasures.
The show was adapted from the novels by Jonathan Gash and was apparently created to take advantage of the great popularity of Antiques Roadshow. What’s a bit unusual about the show is that in every episode Lovejoy “breaks the fourth wall” and talks to camera, revealing his thoughts. I found it kind of odd, but it seemed appropriate for his character.
My first experience with Ian McShane was as the foul-mouthed brothel and saloon owner, Al Swearengen, on HBO’s Deadwood. To see him earlier in his career is entertaining. But the best part of the show for me was seeing a young Phyllis Logan as Lady Jane. She plays Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey.
In my opinion, this isn’t British TV at its absolute best. I’ve only watched the first two seasons, mainly because it really hasn’t grown on me. I’ll keep giving it a try. The show lasted 6 seasons, so it must have either gotten better, or at the time there wasn’t much else to watch!
Ian McShane – Lovejoy
Phyllis Logan – Lady Jane Felsham
Dudley Sutton – Tinker Dill
Chris Jury – Eric Catchpole
Diane Parish – Beth Taylor
Malcolm Tierney – Charlie Gimbert
Total Seasons: 6 (71 episodes)
Seasons Available on US Formatted DVD: 6
In Production: 1986, 1991 – 1994
Viewer Discretion: Language, adult situations, brief nudity