Stephen Mangan is stepping into the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for new ITV Encore series Houdini & Doyle and with it comes quite the moustache. This isn’t just any old moustache either. It’s based on Tom Selleck’s 80s TV character Magnum.

Mangan jokes how he was shown a picture of the iconic fictional private investigator by the hair and make-up team and told, “Could you grow that please?”

“I said, ‘leave it with me’,” he laughed.

“While you’re growing it there’s the in between bit where people don’t know if you haven’t wiped some food off of your upper lip, or whether you’re actually deliberately growing a moustache or not washed for a few days…”

He’s not all that keen on keeping it, though. “I shaved it off the night we finished filming in Canada. I did have it, to be fair, for about seven or eight months. I did quite like it, but I think divorce proceedings would have begun if I’d kept it any longer.”

However, he may need to get used to the bristles. He’s signed a “five year option” on the series, which is based on the real life friendship and rivalry between the writer and the escapologist, with Michael Weston in the role of Harry Houdini.

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“So if it’s a hit, that’s me for six months of the year for the next five years,” he said.

Houdini & Doyle will premiere on ITV and ITV Encore at the same time on March 13th at 10:15pm. The series will then continue on ITV Encore from March 17th at 9:00pm each week. The series also airs on FOX in the US from May 2nd.