I finally watched part 1 of Houdini & Doyle.
I enjoyed it and will watch more. I cannot do that on TV due to the insane decision to only broadcast it on ITV Encore but I have ordered the DVDs.
Mangan is badly cast as Doyle but he is watchable. Michael Weston is great casting as Houdini. He conveys the drive and arrogance of the man very well. The rest of the cast worked well and the pace of the episode was good.
The chronology is not ideal. The series has the two men meeting a good 20 years before they actually did meet and the people behind the show are clearly anti-Spiritualism. Despite this Doyle is not mocked for his belief and is presented as sincere which is a fairly balanced approach and better than other adaptations have managed.
Rebecca Liddiard is good as Constable Stratton but I think she is underused in this first episode. Her character doubles as a metaphor for the struggles of Edwardian women in what was still seen as a man's profession. It's amusing that the nuns in the episode also struggled briefly with the idea that she is a police officer.
Despite my expectations, I enjoyed it. I just hope that the ludicrous idea of broadcasting it on a pay only channel does not result in it getting such low viewing figures that it is not recommissioned.
Come on ITV. Wake up and put this on a channel we can all see. We're not going to buy Sky to watch it (or Now TV).
Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here