Taggart's 2010 title, the first to be shot in HD
|Created by||Glenn Chandler|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||27|
|No. of episodes||109 (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)
|Original release||6 September 1983– 7 November 2010|
|Related shows||Rebus (2000–2007)|
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. 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.
Taggart was one of the UK's longest-running television dramas and the longest-running police drama after the cancellation of The Bill. The show's 100th story was aired on the ITV network on Christmas Eve 2009. In May 2011 the ITV network decided to axe Taggart from the network after 28 years.
Mark McManus, who played the title character Jim Taggart, died in 1994; however, the series continued under the same name.
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 long-suffering, wheelchair-bound wife Jean (Harriet Buchan), whose disability 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 ("Violet Delights").
McManus died in 1994, in the middle of filming an episode. His absence was explained by the claim that Taggart was in constant meetings with the Chief Constable. In 1995 the episode "Black Orchid" opened with Taggart's funeral. Despite the death of the title character, the series continued with the same title. 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. 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 a murder suspect 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 the Scottish Borders, 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.
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 "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 was used.
In later series the buildings of Strathclyde University were extensively used for exterior shots. The entrance level of the Livingstone Tower 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 109 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.
- There's been a commission – new Taggart series ordered, The Guardian
- 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.
- The TV Braveheart at war with Grade This is Money, 27 September 2009
- "STV to make a new series of Taggart". BBC News. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
- Plunkett, John (18 February 2010). "There's been a commission". London: Media Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- Episode 33, according to her filmography on DVD 2 of series Conviction (2004), BFS Video, Canada, 2007.
- "Internationally popular detective series Taggart". Casting Call / STV Productions. Retrieved 23 October 2010.