New ITV period drama Houdini & Doyle – featuring a scene filmed in Chester – will air from this Sunday (March 13).
Last July Stephen Mangan, who plays Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was spotted filming in Abbey Green complete with the bushy moustache he grew for the role.
He performs alongside Michael Weston (Six Feet Under) who portrays Harry Houdini.
The 10-part fictionalised series, sees the pair, who were pals in real life, solve crimes together, set against the backdrop of 1901 London.
In fact most of the filming actually took place in Manchester and Liverpool. The Chester scene was dramatic as it involved a replica gun shot inside an empty property overlooking the Dean’s Field.
The production team identified a suitable time during the day for the gun scene and made sure nearby businesses and residents were warned in a letter drop. Cheshire Constabulary and Cheshire West and Chester Council were kept informed.
Stephen Mangan, famed for appearances on Have I Got News for You and performing in BBC2’s Episodes alongside Friends’ star Matt Le Blanc, plays next to Michael Weston, best known as homicidal meth addict Jake in American TV drama Six Feet Under.
The Chronicle spotted Mangan in full costume in the alleyway alongside Alexander’s Jazz Theatre Bar but unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to talk about the show. He was wearing a smart chequered waist coat and green trousers, waiting for his next scene. TV trucks were parked around the back of Bollicini’s restaurant.
Filmed in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and Derbyshire, the estimated spend across northern England was in excess of £1m, with an average figure of £22,000 for each day spent on location.
Commissioned from Big Talk Productions and Shaftesbury, the crime drama series is executive-produced by House creator David Shore, and written and created by his long-time collaborator David Hoselton, and leading Canadian screenwriter David Titcher.
Programme-makers describe Houdini and Doyle as “two of the most fascinating and iconic characters of the early 20th century: real-life friends, real-life adversaries, real-life crime solvers”.
Houdini & Doyle will premiere on ITV and ITV Encore simultaneously at 10.15pm this Sunday (March 13). The series will then continue on ITV Encore from March 17 at 9pm each week.