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ITV commissions new supernatural crime drama


ITV Encore has commissioned new 10-part supernatural crime drama, Houdini & Doyle starring Stephen Mangan and Michael Weston.

Stephen Mangan (Episodes) plays Sir Arthur Conan Doyle alongside Michael Weston (Six Feet Under, House) as Harry Houdini, two of the most fascinating and iconic characters of the early 20th century: real-life friends, real-life adversaries, real-life crime solvers.

Harry Houdini: master magician, escape artist, born penniless and now the highest paid performer in the world and he wants everyone to know it. He refuses to believe in the paranormal. As a professional magician and master of illusion he knows there’s nothing supernatural about magic. To him, everything unexplained is a trick, a gimmick, or a fraud.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the creator of the greatest detective of all time – Sherlock Holmes – but is also a passionate believer in the paranormal. Because, having lost someone very close to him, he desperately wants to find a way of communicating with them.

At the turn of the 20th century the Metropolitan Police, mired in the ways of the 19th century, were overwhelmed with bizarre and often inexplicable cases so they turned to outsiders including, Houdini and Doyle, who collaborated with New Scotland Yard on some unsolved and inexplicable crimes, leading to conflict… and humour… and competition.

Canadian actress Rebecca Liddiard also stars as Constable Adelaide Stratton, whose character in the series is the first female PC ever to work for the London Metropolitan Police Force, Tim McInnerny plays Inspector Horace Merring, and rising star Adam Nagaitis as Sergeant George Gudgett.

The drama is a UK/Canada co-production from Big Talk Productions and Shaftesbury in association with Executive Producer and House creator David Shore’s production company, Shore Z. David Hoselton, and Canadian screenwriter David Titcher will pen the series with Stephen Hopkins (24, Californication) as lead director.

David Shore, Executive Producer said: “I’ve long been intrigued by both Houdini & Doyle; men who were ahead of their time, each fascinating in their own right. But the idea that these two, seemingly so different, could have been friends is almost too perfect. In Michael and Stephen, we have found two incredible actors that embody the intelligence, humour and mystique of these men, who even when viewed through the lens of history, are larger than life.”

Houdini & Doyle begins principal photography in Manchester and Toronto in Summer 2015 for transmission in 2016 on ITV Encore in the UK. The series will also air on Global in Canada and Fox in the US.