Fry’s brush with the fuzz as he shoots crime drama

Fry shoots scenes for Doors Open in Gorebridge yesterday
Fry shoots scenes for Doors Open in Gorebridge yesterday
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Elaborate disguises to avoid the limelight are nothing unusual for celebrities.

But the normally dapper Stephen Fry had another reason for sporting an unfamiliar haircut and facial hair on a visit to Newtongrange in Midlothian.

Stephen Fry at Scottish Mining Museum, Newtongrange.

Stephen Fry at Scottish Mining Museum, Newtongrange.

The comedian and presenter sprouted a beard and ponytail to take on the role of an art expert who becomes caught up in a heist, in a TV adaptation of an Ian Rankin novel.

Fry, who has carved out a successful acting career having starred in Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder and several films, will portray Professor Gissing in the small-screen version of Rankin’s Doors Open.

Portable buildings were put up at the rear of the National Mining Museum Scotland as a set for the feature, which will focus on shady practices among the Capital’s art establishment.

Marquees and catering vans were also put up in the museum car park, allowing passers-by to engage in a bit of impromptu star-spotting in the village.

Fry will star in the production, which will be screened on ITV as a two-hour film, alongside Scottish actor Dougie Henshall, who is known for his part in science fiction series Primeval.

Fry said: “I picked up Ian Rankin’s breathless and ingenious thriller Doors Open at an airport a year or so back and as I read I just knew it would make a thrilling, charming and original TV drama.

“I also adored the character of Professor Gissing and a shamefully vain part of me refused to see anyone else in the role.

“I am so thrilled that ITV were of the same opinion.”

The QI host announced the conclusion of filming last night when he tweeted: “Aaaaand that’s a wrap . . .” to his 4.2 million followers.

Filming was carried out by Fry’s production company, Sprout Pictures, which he set up in 2004.

Valerie Pacerhiemar, a supervisor at the village’s Dean Tavern pub, said that life was imitating art with the on-screen thieves keeping a low profile on their visit.

“I know they were supposed to be at the Mining Museum but that’s it,” she said.

“I saw people talking about it on Facebook, but we haven’t really noticed them – they’ve gone under the radar.”