Former THE MAN FOR U.N.C.L.E star Robert Vaughn has become the man from H.U.S.T.L.E after scoring a huge TV hit in his native Britain.

The actor, who plays a veteran con-artist on the show, admits the success of the BBC drama series has been a complete shock to him and now he hopes American TV viewers will warm to the programme when it debuts this weekend (14JAN06).

He says, "It has been an enormous hit... It was so successful that they renewed it for two years instead of one, which is very unusual."

And Vaughn is delighted that his new show has stopped people asking him if he's the man from U.N.C.L.E.

He adds, "Now they associate me with this new role. If I give a taxi driver a fare he holds it up to the light and says, 'Is this real money?'"

The third series of Hustle is set for broadcast in the UK later this year (06).