When Hetty Wainthropp decides that she'd much rather be a crusading private detective than a placid pensioner, even she doesn't realise quite how strange her cases will be. Or that she'll be requiring the services of a teenage tearaway called Geoffrey. This modern-day Boy Wonder doesn't seem particularly promising at first - after all, Hetty first meets him when she nabs the little blighter for robbing a post office.
Yet, after this rather inauspicious start, Hetty and Geoffrey become the unlikeliest crime-fighting duo since... well, anyone. Geoffrey, you see, has a heart of gold, and the courage of a lion (albeit a small, skinny, badly-dressed lion). Always ready to leap into action, he even manages to win over Hetty's grumpy husband. Slightly, anyway.
Lovejoy may be dubbed a "divvy" thanks to his supernatural ability to sniff out genuine antiques, but his sidekick Eric is just a div. OK, perhaps we're being just a teeny bit harsh on the lad, and goodness knows he gets enough stick from Lovejoy and Tinker. But Eric isn't the sharpest chisel in the DIY drawer, and the fact he wears leather jackets only emphasizes just how nerdy and resolutely UN-James Dean-like he actually is.
On the other hand, he's a loyal and invaluable sidekick to Lovejoy, even if he does pull faces and grumble like a stroppy teenager. Sometimes his exploits can be a tad embarrassing (like when he was set upon by bin men while combing through rubbish), but he can sometimes channel Lovejoy's roguish attitude. Like the time he tried to sell his motorbike by claiming it belonged to Lawrence of Arabia. Now that's savvy thinking, Eric.
Ah, Rocky. Tall, handsome with a head of unruly rock star hair (well, he IS played by a very young Neil Morrissey), Rocky certainly looks like a pretty hip sort of bloke. But he really isn't. He's more like a happy pet dog, bounding up eagerly to help his owner. The owner in question happens to be Ken Boon: dreamer, hero, modern-day Lone Ranger. Oh, and a fellow biker.
In fact, it's their love of two-wheels that first brings them together. When Boon is set upon by a gang of bikers who want him to work for them, Rocky races to Boon's rescue. "Bikers have a code of honour," Rocky explains, in an adorably idealistic way. Starting out as Boon's courier, Rocky eventually reaches the grand level of "trainee executive". We're pretty sure this is how Alan Sugar started, right?
The fourth member of our scrappy quartet is Bacchus. Like the others on our list, he too has a ruffled head of hair and a kind of shifty energy which comes in very handy when he needs to physically manhandle the bad guys. Bacchus is also a very moody sort, with chips perpetually perched on both shoulders. And we're talking large, golden, triple-cooked chips. He's so ready to be enraged, that there's always the very real risk he'll simply punch a suspect in the face rather than read them their rights.
Fortunately, his senior partner happens to be the effortlessly calm and serene George Gently. They may not see eye to eye a lot of the time, but Gently's influence does have a genuinely softening effect on the volatile scamp. If only we all had a George Gently in our lives, eh?