'Lovejoy - The Complete Season 3'
(Ian McShane, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1996) 2008 / BBC Video)
Overview: Ian McShane is back as Lovejoy the crime-solving antiques dealer with an eye for beauty and trouble! The worlds quirkiest crime-solving antiques hero is back in Season Three, now with four discs of side-splitting and outrageous escapades! And this season much to Lovejoy's annoyance he's not the only one on a never-ending quest for wealth and valuables!
DVD Verdict: This third season, available over in England for some while but that's beside the point, finds the basic foursome of Lovejoy, Tinker, Lady Jane and Eric now moving very easily in character. Those who enjoyed the first season but found the quality of film and production a tad hoary will delight in the increasing quality of production values without any sacrificing of the stories inherent lightness of touch. Indeed, this and the next season will be the high points of the entire series.
The first two stories open ominiously, to say the least, for all of us who can't get enough of the captivating Beatrice and Benedict edge between Lady Jane and antiques self-taught expert and divy Lovejoy. A new woman ('Ab Fab's Joanna Lumley) appears and sweeps Lovejoy off his feet.
From that point things bubble up and over with just enough general surprises to warrant calling this all something of a classic. Ian McShane continues his march into television immortality as the ruggedly handsome womanizer who loves antiques with a surprisingly pure devotion despite his inherently too clever by half nature. Phyllis Logan sets just the right touch of proper crust and breeding for countering Lovejoy's hornswoggling inclinations, while Dudley Sutton's Tinker is a complete joy to watch. Chris Jury as Eric more and more convinces as a solid fourth, and one has only to sit back and enjoy one of the treats of modern television.
Some of my favorite fourth season episodes include: 'Friends in High Places' - Lovejoy returns from Spain to find Tinker has joined a monastary and Eric is now a security guard. Jane's friend Vicky Cavero is staying at Feldsham hall and quickly entagles the entire gang in a series of events when she asks Lovejoy to sell a South American gold ring.
'No Strings' - A rock group (Hothouse Flowers, no less!) that is playing at a charity concert stays at Feldsham hall but the organizer runs off with the proceeds. The group decides to sell an antique harp but even that disappears.
'Smoke Your Nose' - When the Reverend claims there is a Roman Mosiac Floor in the field next door, Lovejoy races to find it before developers build over it. Also, Lovejoy and Lady Jane have a romantic dance together. But it's all OK as she and Alexander have seperated. But just just what is that metal antique piece that Lovejoy carries around everywhere with him?!
'Highland Fling' - Investigating some sketchs takes Lovejoy and Jane to Scotland. While there they uncover a con involving one of Jane's friends. But the real question is will Lovejoy and Jane finally consumate thier romance? Guest Stars Simon Ward and Born Free's Bill Travers.
Included is an interview with McShane (part 3) where he talks about Lovejoy. Gash's grungy divey was tamed by McShane and made him a wee bit more acceptable to telly viewers, but he retained the essence and often used many of Gash's story lines. In conclusiom. the whole cast is great, the series is created with loving care and BBC gives a great package at a super price. Not to be missed by McShane fans or fans of the series. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Ian McShane looks back on Lovejoy (Part 3)
Alan Titchmarsh interview with Ian McShane