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12:37 Saturday 25
February 2017

Chris Jury on Lovejoy

Star of Lovely, Chris Jury, shares his thoughts and memories from the classic show...

"My abiding memory of Lovejoy is of laughter and lasting friendships. On one typical occasion Ian, Dudley, Phyllis, Malcolm Tierney and myself were waiting in the corridor of a stately home to film us entering a drawing room. When the director called 'action' we were all laughing so much we literally fell through the door. And the fun we had making the show is not irrelevant to the show's success because part of Lovejoy's charm is the implicit affection felt by the key characters for each other.

But to be honest it is not the performances that underlying Lovejoy's success, it is the damn fine TV format devised by Dick Clements & Ian La Frenais, whose track record from The Likely Lads through Porridge and onto Auf Wiedersehen Pet demonstrates their mastery of the medium.

Lovejoy was one of the last proper TV series made in the UK. Traditionally a 'series' had a fixed format and fixed relationships, whereas a 'serial' had an ongoing storyline from episode to episode. In this traditional description of a 'series' the flexibility of the format was key to the long-term sustainability of a show. The 5 key characters of Tinker, Eric, Lady-Jane, Charlie Gimbert and Lovejoy himself, combined with the world of the format seemed to give the writers infinite flexibility and the scripts really were very, very fine.

In the metro-centric, trendy world of TV production, Lovejoy was never very highly regarded; its simple charms and narrative clarity lacked the ironic cynicism and obfuscation so highly valued by the broadcasting elite. But the show was and remains incredibly popular with the audience. The Internet has enabled viewers to contact performers and programme makers directly and my monthly email postbag confirms the lasting popularity of the show and the pleasure it has given to millions. I am proud and privileged to have been involved."