REWRIT­ING HIS­TORY

Facts and re­vi­sion­ism: cre­at­ing the warped and won­der­ful re­al­ity of Hou­dini & Doyle

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

A Woman’s Work

Cana­dian ac­tress Re­becca Lid­di­ard co- stars as Con­sta­ble Ade­laide Strat­ton, who in the se­ries is de­scribed as the first fe­male PC ever to work for the Lon­don Metropoli­tan Po­lice Force. In re­al­ity, the first fe­male po­lice of­fi­cer in the Metropoli­tan Po­lice was Sofia Stan­ley in 1919. She also de­signed the first women’s po­lice uni­form, known as the Stan­ley uni­form. Other cop­pers we meet in the se­ries in­clude Tim McIn­nerny ( Black­ad­der) as In­spec­tor Ho­race Mer­ring and fast ris­ing star Adam Na­gaitis ( Ban­ished, Happy Val­ley) as Sergeant Ge­orge Gud­gett. Shame he’s not an In­spec­tor…

Set­ting The Style

The pi­lot episode of Hou­dini & Doyle is di­rected by Stephen Hop­kins who di­rected the re­ally not- very- good space opera re­make Lost In Space ( 1998). How­ever, since that turkey his ca­reer has “done a Danny Cannon”: Cannon di­rected the sim­i­larly aw­ful Stal­lone Judge Dredd ( 1995) but then went on to be­come a re­spected pi­lot di­rec­tor on US TV. Fol­low­ing the same ca­reer tra­jec­tory, Hop­kins has put Blawp firmly be­hind him to suc­cess­fully launch such hit shows as 24 and Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion.

Other Celebrity His­tor­i­cals

Hou­dini and Doyle aren’t the only real- life fa­mous his­tor­i­cal per­son­al­i­ties who’ll be turn­ing up in the show. Com­poser Claude De­bussy ( played by Shane Cre­han), Ir­ish poet WB Yeats ( Stu­art Adams), and in­ven­tor of the phono­gram and movie cam­era Thomas Edi­son ( Peter Outer­bridge) all turn up like it’s some kind of Ed­war­dian celebrity panel show. There’s also an ap­pear­ance by Sher­lock Holmes, played by Ewen Brem­ner, which will no doubt be a very dif­fer­ent per­for­mance to Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch’s. And we bet you’re now think­ing, “But hang on… Sher­lock Holmes wasn’t real. Was he…?”

Es­cap­ing The Past

Michael We­ston re­veals that he was re­quired to recre­ate one of Harry Hou­dini’s most fa­mous staged es­cape rou­tines. “They hung me up­side down in that wa­ter tank for real – it re­ally was ter­ri­fy­ing!” He also re­veals that Hou­dini’s unique skill set comes into play in of­ten un­ex­pected ways dur­ing the course of the se­ries: “He’s a ma­gi­cian and he’s an es­cape artist and all of that plays into the se­ries… He pisses off the po­lice with his es­cape stuff cos he’s al­ways get­ting out of their hand­cuffs which shows them up.”

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