Taggart's 2010 title, the first to be shot in HD
|Created by||Glenn Chandler|
|Starring||Mark McManus (1983–1995)|
Neil Duncan (1983–1987, 1994)
Blythe Duff (1990–2010)
Iain Anders (1985–1998)
James MacPherson (1987–2002)
Colin McCredie (1995–2010)
John Michie (1998–2010)
Ian Connal (1999–2010)
Alex Norton (2002–2010)
Siobhan Redmond (2010)
|Country of origin||Scotland|
|Original language(s)||Scottish English|
|No. of series||27|
|No. of episodes||110 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Margaret Enefer (2010)|
Eric Coulter (2001–2010)
|Producer(s)||Marcus Wilson (2010)|
Graeme Gordon (2001–2010)
|Production company(s)||STV Productions|
|Original network||STV, ITV, UTV|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|First shown in||6 – 20 September 1983 (Killer)|
|Original release||2 July 1985 –|
7 November 2010
Taggart is a Scottish detective television programme, created by Glenn Chandler, who wrote many of the episodes, and made by STV Productions for the ITV network. It originally ran as the miniseries Killer from 6 until 20 September 1983, before a full series was commissioned that ran from 2 July 1985 until 7 November 2010. The series revolved around a group of detectives, initially in the Maryhill CID of Strathclyde Police, though various storylines were set in other parts of Greater Glasgow and in other areas of Scotland. The team operated out of the fictional John Street police station.
The Scottish BAFTA-winning pilot episode, "Killer", directed by Laurence Moody and broadcast in 1983, introduced the character Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jim Taggart (played by Mark McManus until his death in 1994), a tough and experienced detective who had worked his way up through the ranks. His original sidekick was Detective Sergeant (DS) Peter Livingstone (Neil Duncan). Livingstone represented the new breed of young graduates entering the police force, and frequently had a difficult relationship with Taggart as a result. Taggart's boss in the pilot was Superintendent Robert Murray (Tom Watson), known as "The Mint" after the well-known sweet. This humour was continued in the subsequent series, when Taggart's boss after the second episode ("Dead Ringer") being Superintendent Jack McVitie (Iain Anders), nicknamed "The Biscuit" because he shared his name with a popular brand of biscuits. Another important character was Taggart's wife Jean (Harriet Buchan), whose physical disability (she was a wheelchair user) did not prevent her from pursuing a number of interests in life while her cynical husband stuck mainly to his job. Throughout the McManus era, there was nearly always a sub-plot in every episode which involved the domestic life of the Taggarts which, on occasion became intertwined with the case being investigated. The most memorable of these was the Taggarts' ongoing care of Jean's senile Aunt Hettie (Sheila Donald), whom Jim despises and begrudges staying in his house. This sub-plot ran through 1990-91, until the Hettie character was finally killed off in the 1991 season finale ("Violent Delights").
McManus died in 1994, during the filming of an episode. Taggart's absence in the broadcast story was explained by his being in meetings with the Chief Constable throughout. In 1995 the episode "Black Orchid" opened with Taggart's funeral. Despite the death of the title character, the series went unchanged. Jardine was promoted to Detective Inspector and DC Stuart Fraser (Colin McCredie) was introduced, becoming the long-suffering sidekick to Jardine, former long-suffering sidekick to Taggart. Fraser was later revealed to be gay. (McCredie had made an early appearance in Taggart when he played a suspect part of a youth gang). DI Robbie Ross (John Michie) joined the team in 1998 (Michie had made an early appearance in Taggart in 1990, when he played a suspect called Robby Meiklejohn in an episode called "Love Knot").
When MacPherson left the series in 2002 his character was killed off and replaced with DCI Matt Burke, formerly of Special Branch (played by Alex Norton, who had previously appeared in the series playing murder suspect George Bryce in 1986, in the episode "Knife Edge").
Much was made of the platonic relationship between Jardine and Reid. The two were shown to share a brother/sister-like bond. Both pursued a number of relationships with other characters over the years. Reid even got married, but later separated from her husband, who then died. The personal relationships of the police officers in this series were shown as nothing to be envious of: Reid once described herself, Burke, Ross and Fraser as three divorcees and a celibate homosexual (in the episode "Penthouse and Pavement").
After filming was completed on series 26, in December 2009, Colin McCredie was informed that he and his character would not be returning for filming of the next series.
ITV plc, the company that operates the ITV franchises in England, Wales and southern Scotland, failed to announce whether it planned to show any new episodes of Taggart, prompting STV to suspend production of the programme in September 2009. STV announced in November 2009 that it would produce new episodes of Taggart for broadcast in 2010, regardless of whether ITV plc decided to screen it.
In February 2010 it was announced that ITV and STV had put their wider commercial differences to one side to make a new series, which Scottish viewers got to see first. The two broadcasters co-commissioned a six-part series of the show, and the pay-TV broadcaster UKTV also invested in return for repeat rights. New episodes of Taggart debuted on STV in autumn 2010 before being broadcast on ITV across the rest of the UK in 2011. UKTV's Alibi digital channel showed the episodes in 2013. Online catch-up of the new series was not available to users of STV Player until the show had been broadcast on ITV/UTV.
Format and broadcast information
The format of the show changed over the years. Originally the show ran with three one-hour episodes to each story (130 minutes without advertisements), with occasional exceptions. This was later changed, starting with the last transmitted story in 1998, to a regular pattern of two-hour stand-alone stories, and beginning in July 2002 these were shortened to 60 minutes. After a two-hour special episode in January 2003, episodes were again lengthened starting in October, this time to 90 minutes, continuing through the 2008 New Year special ("Genesis"). After this the show became a series of one-hour stand-alone stories for the first time since 2003.
Fans of the show were often frustrated by the erratic scheduling of the show. Although blocks or series of the show were filmed together, they were often not shown together, as with other series. Instead they were fitted into the schedule whenever there was a gap, meaning that they were often not shown in consecutive weeks or on one set night of the week. Often months passed between episodes of the same series being shown. This was very much the case in Australia, with ABC TV showing episodes featuring the three lead actors in haphazard order i.e. old shows with current or recent shows. This made it very difficult to understand the history of the show.
Re-runs of Taggart are shown in Scotland, initially on STV city channels STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh, now on STV2 as well as UK-wide channels Drama, True Drama, True Entertainment and Alibi. The show is regularly re-run in Australian on ABC TV, its initial purchaser, and more recently on the 7 Network.
The entire series is available on the STV Player.
The DVD rights in the UK for many Taggart episodes – the earlier series in particular – are held by Clearvision. However some episodes in particular those from 2002 onwards have been released on DVD in the UK by Acorn Media UK, Delta Home Entertainment, GO Entertain and John Williams Productions. There are also Region 1 and Region 4 releases for North American and Australasian markets. Some of the DVD releases are now quite rare and deleted and there has been no Blu-ray release at present.
Cast of final series
- Tom Watson as Superintendent Robert "The Mint" Murray (1983–1985)
- Gavin Brown as Sgt Blackman (1983���1985)
- Patricia Ross as DS/Sgt Laura Campbell (1987–1988)
- Anthony Cochrane as Dr Colin Crawford (1987–1993)
- Gray O'Brien as DC Rob Gibson (1993–1995)
- Yasmin Marley as WPC Heather McIntyre (1999–2001)
- Brian Cowan as DCS Brian Holmes (2000–2005)
- Lesley Harcourt as Pathologist Dr Gemma Kerr (2003–2005)
- Michael MacKenzie as Pathologist Dr Magnus Baird (2005–2008)
- Katrina Bryan as Pathologist Dr Ellis Sinclair (2008–2010)
- Alan McHugh as Assistant Chief Constable Strathairn (2008–10)
Actors appearing on Taggart episodes over the years include:
The show was primarily shot in and around Glasgow and its metropolitan area, but the show occasionally ventured further, for example to Loch Lomond, Edinburgh and the Highlands. The original title card of the show used a panoramic shot of Glasgow taken from the summit of the Cathkin Braes to the south of the city, and in the early years live infill shots of the city were also taken from this vantage point. In later years a shot of the city centre taken from The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane was used.
In later series the buildings of Strathclyde University were extensively used for exterior shots. The entrance level of the Colville Building was used as the police station, for example, and "John Street", the name given to the police station in the series, is a real location within the campus.
Since 1983, there have been a total of 110 episodes of Taggart. Early episodes were split into multiple parts, and aired over three weeks, while later episodes were self-contained.
In Australia, the series airs on ABC1, 7TWO, 13th Street. In 2011, ABC1 aired episodes on Friday at 8:30 pm. ABC1 actually broadcast episodes 101 ("IOU"), 102 ("Local Hero") and 103 ("The Rapture") before STV did, because of scheduling conflicts. 7TWO airs repeat episodes right back to the first episode.
Taggart was a popular show on the Danish Public Service DR. Taggart appeared initially on DR2 between the beginning of the channel in 2002 and 2006, as six more episodes were then aired (The number of episodes aired before October 2006 is unclear). After the digitizing of Danish television (at 1.November 2009) Taggart appeared on the main DR1 channel instead, beginning with episodes featuring James MacPherson as DCI Jardine. Ever since, more or less continuously, Taggart has been repeatedly aired from the very first miniseries "Killer" until the episode length was cut down to around 45 minutes. Three-episode stories have sometimes been aired in sequence one after the other, sometimes combined into one long episode. No other British detective programme has been aired as much as Taggart, a situation not only explained by the large number of available episodes. From a Danish television perspective, Taggart is also unique in that it became popular so long after it first aired in the U.K., several years after the death of Mark McManus and departure of James MacPherson. DR states "Taggart is the most resilient British criminal series ever".
- Duff played an Uncredited Police Woman from 1984 until 1990 when she was named as Jackie Reid
- Plunkett, John (18 February 2010). "There's been a commission – new Taggart series ordered". The Guardian.
- Sweney, Mark (26 March 2010). "The Bill: ITV drops police drama after 27 years". The Guardian.
- "Taggart star Colin McCredie is sacked from TV show in phone call after 15 years". Daily Record. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
- Rees, Jon (27 September 2009). "The TV Braveheart at war with Grade". This is Money.
- "STV to make a new series of Taggart". BBC News. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- McFarlane, Brian (2016). The Encyclopedia of British Film (Fourth ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781526111968.
- "Internationally popular detective series Taggart". Casting Call / STV Productions. Retrieved 23 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "DR2 opstart 02.03.02". YouTube (in Danish).
- "Taggart - nye afsnit af den mest sejlivede britiske krimiserie nogensinde". DR (in Danish). 6 October 2006.