Friday, 6 May 2016

Houdini and Doyle - family fare

Ok, today I'm giving you  a little break from the Edinburgh visit ;)

So, over the last few weeks I've managed to catch a few episodes of the new ITV Victorian detective show, Houdini and Doyle. And yes indeed, Houdini is the escape artist extraordinaire we've all heard and read so much about while Doyle, portrayed oh so charmingly by Stephen Mangan (*blush), is Sherlock author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Houdini and Doyle is definitely NOT Penny Dreadful or Ripper Street. And within a few minutes of watching the first episode I was sure a Canadian production company had to be involved. And sure enough I was right. One thing we Canadians seem to be getting fairly good at is family friendly period television fare eg) Anne of Green Gables, Road to Avonlea, Murdoch Mysteries. This one adds just a pinch of Victorian spookiness to the otherwise wholesome mix.

Interestingly, Houdini and Doyle did actually know one another. And both had an interest in the spiritualist / medium movements of their time. They came at it from opposite ends however with Doyle the believer and Houdini the skeptic.

Houdini, in fact, dedicated quite a bit of time to exposing spiritualists as charlatans whereas Doyle, well, he would not be shaken in his supernatural beliefs. So much so that he had a falling out with Houdini because Doyle was convinced the escape artist had powers he would not admit to! Read more on the Victorian web here.

Interestingly, there is a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh. And it is now home of the Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists.