Several months after word first leaked out about the project, ITV, Shaw Media and Fox have confirmed that they are teaming up for a 10 episode drama series titled Houdini & Doyle, which hails from House creator David Shore and is being toplined by Episodes star Stephen Mangan and Six Feet Under’s Michael Weston.
Houdini & Doyle follows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini (who were friends in real life) as they are called upon to investigate and close bizarre and “inexplicable” cases for London’s Metropolitan Police Service, who, at the turn of the 20th century, are still mired in the ways of the 19th century and as such find themselves overwhelmed by such cases. The 10 part series, which is set to enter production in Manchester and Toronto this Summer, will air on ITV Encore in the UK, Fox in the United States, and the Shaw Media owned Global network in Canada in 2016.
“We are delighted to be commissioning Houdini and Doyle, a series inspired by two of the greatest characters in the 20th century”, said ITV’s Director Of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the series for ITV alongside Angela Jain, Director of Digital Channels & Acquisitions. “We are looking forward to working with such a brilliant team to bring this unlikely, real-life friendship to our ITV Encore audience.”
Stephen Mangan and Michael Weston play Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, respectively. Sherlock Holmes creator Conan Doyle is described as a passionate believer in the paranormal; while Houdini is a natural born sceptic, believing that everything unexplained is a trick, a gimmick, or a fraud – making them perfect partners. The cast also includes Rebecca Liddiard (Between, Murdoch Mysteries) as Constable Adelaide Stratton, The Met’s first female police officer; Tim McInnerny (Spooks, Strike Back) as Inspector Horace Merring; and Adam Nagaitis (Happy Valley, Banished) as Sergeant George Gudgett.
“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”, added executive producer David Shore. “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.”
David Hoselton (who previously worked with David Shore on House) and Canadian screenwriter David Titcher created the series and are penning the scripts for Houdini & Doyle, which is being co-produced by the ITV owned Big Talk Productions and Murdoch Mysteries indie Shaftesbury Film in association with David Shore’s production company Shore Z. Adrian Sturges is the series producer, while 24 helmer Stephen Hopkins has come on-board as the lead director. The executive producers are David Shore, David Hoselton, David Titcher, Kenton Allen, Luke Alkin, Matthew Justice, Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie and Maggie Murphy.