Gallery: BBC hit Lovejoy set to return to our screens - will the cast once again set up home in Long Melford?
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A popular TV series which put Suffolk on the map during the 1980s is set to be remade – and the news has been welcomed by villagers in “Lovejoy country”.
The BBC show Lovejoy, which ran on Sunday evenings between 1986 and 1994 and starred actor Ian McShane in the lead role as a roguish antiques dealer, was mostly filmed in Suffolk and Essex.
Around 15 million viewers regularly tuned in to see the antics of lovable scoundrel Lovejoy wheeling and dealing in locations such as Long Melford, Cavendish and Lavenham.
The area became known as “Lovejoy country” and was given a massive tourism boost as a result.
It is now believed that Tony Jordan, creator of TV hit Life on Mars, is developing a remake of the show with his company Red Planet Pictures, using the original Lovejoy novels as a basis.
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Ian McShane, now 72, has always maintained he would not reprise the role although he has hinted that he might consider a cameo role in a show focussing on Lovejoy’s son or daughter as the new central character.
Phyllis Logan, of Downton Abbey fame, who also starred as Lovejoy’s love interest Lady Jane, is believed to have expressed an interest in the remake.
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The area has long maintained a connection with the series. A house in Preston St Mary near Lavenham which featured in the show sold last year for nearly £1million and Lovejoy’s famous leather jacket went under the hammer at auction recently.
Geoffrey McGregor, proprietor of Long Melford Antiques, remembers when the original series was filmed in the village and the crew stayed at the George and Dragon pub.
He said: “I met the crew and was involved in it a little. The cast would hang out in the Swan at Lavenham and I think it did a lot of good for the area.
“It certainly did a lot for the business. The market was huge because of the TV shows, Lovejoy and Antiques Roadshow, which started around the same time.”
Peter Turner, chairman of Long Melford Parish Council, said it would be “fantastic” if the new series could be filmed in the village.
He added: “Lovejoy was a really loveable character and although he was a bit of a wheeler dealer, his heart was in the right place.
“It was such a positive series with some great characters and it really helped put Long Melford on the map. We would love it if they did a remake and filmed in the village.”
When the original series aired, there were more than 20 antique shops in the village. As there are far fewer now, Mr Turner said the new Lovejoy may need to “branch out” into other trades.
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