Country of origin
No. of series
Final episode date
4 December 1994
First episode date
10 January 1986
John GrantIan La Frenais
Ian McShaneChris JuryPhyllis LoganDudley Sutton
Lovejoy is a British TV comedy-drama mystery 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 on BBC1 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 roguish antiques dealer based in East Anglia. Within the trade, he has a reputation as a "divvy", a person with almost unnatural powers for recognising exceptional items as well as distinguishing genuine antiques from fakes or forgeries.
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. The original four cast members 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. Phyllis Logan left the show in the second episode and 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, and Charlotte Cavendish, 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.