In the second season of Lovejoy, the last time we saw the irascible but ever-charming antiques dealer played by Ian McShane, he was swindling (for a good cause, naturally) crooked antiques dealer Harry Catapodis (Brian Blessed) in order to help out a Japanese businessman (Mako) and a lovely widow Victoria (Joanna Lumley) who had both been cheated by Harry.
Lovejoy Series 3, recently released on DVD by Acorn Media, picks up a year later, after Lovejoy has been taking a holiday in Spain, where he has enjoyed (and spent) all the proceeds from that last big deal. He returns home to take up right where he left off, and his friends and partners, Eric (Chris Jury), Tinker (Dudley Sutton), and Lady Jane Felsham (Phyllis Logan, who many will recognize as Downton Abbey's Mrs. Hughes), are mostly glad to see him, even if they are put off a bit by his new warmer climes-inspired wardrobe of linen suits and bright tee shirts. It doesn't take long for Lovejoy to don his familiar jeans and leather jacket, and also to kick-start his flirtation with Victoria into a full-fledged romance. Lady Jane seems a bit put off by the whole thing — will she and Lovejoy ever declare their feelings that always seem to be simmering below the surface?
Lovejoy and Lady Jane (Ian McShane and Phyllis Logan)
The chemistry and camaraderie between the stars of the series are as good as ever, and they are joined in many of the episodes by some well-known British actors like James Faulkner, Virginia McKenna, James Villiers, Donald Pleasence, Edward Hardwicke, Peter Vaughan, Dougray Scott, and a young Minnie Driver.
The four-disc DVD set includes all thirteen episodes from the series, but sadly, not many extras besides a preview of other Acorn Media British mystery titles. The format is full-screen, with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Lovejoy does look good on a large-scale, widescreen high-definition television screen, but like many shows from the era (Lovejoy was shot and ran 1986 to 1994), has some visual grain. SDH subtitles are available, and the entire set has an approximate running time of 693 minutes.
The episodes in the DVD set include:
"Friends in High Places" - When Lovejoy returns, his friends can get back to work - Tinker has been living in a monastery and Eric working as a security guard.
"Out to Lunch" - Victoria and Lovejoy are an item which leaves Jane as a bit of a fifth wheel.
"No Strings" - Lady Jane let a rock group release at Felsham Hall, where an antique harp soon disappears.
"Angel Trousers" - Lovejoy tries to help Lady Jane's housekeep sell some old mementoes - with disastrous results.
"Benin Bronze" - can Lovejoy track down another missing antique, a valuable African bronze sculpture?
"Eric of Arabia" - Eric tries to sell his motorcycle,, but will prospective buyers believe his claims that it once belonged to Lawrence of Arabia?
"Scotch on the Rocks" - Lovejoy's daughter Vicki helps dad out - or tries to - when she finds an antique sword in an attic.
"Loveknots" - An antique rug sets Lovejoy and Lady Jane on a merry chase.
"Smoke Your Nose" - Lady Jane and her husband have grown apart - will that allow Lovejoy to get closer?
"Kids" - Lovejoy's daughter Vicki may be in trouble, of a romantic nature.
"Members Only" - A golf club's trophy is declared a fake, which opens up even more trouble for divvy Lovejoy.
"Highland Fling" (parts one and two) - Lovejoy and Lady Jane travel to Scotland to help one of Jane's friends. Will the pair, away from home and in the romantic highlands, finally find time for one another?
"The Prague Sun" - Lovejoy and the gang are off to Prague in search of diamonds and adventure in this bonus two-hour Christmas special.
The theme for the third series is definitely romance, with lots of the usual fun that Ian McShane's Lovejoy brings - his witty asides, fun art and antique facts, and generally good-natured mystery adventure, this time with the bonus locations of Scotland and Prague as well as the usual English countryside locations. Lovejoy Series 3 is a great edition in the series, and will leave fans eager to watch and see what Lovejoy Antiques, Inc. has in store for them next .