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Set in Glasgow, 'Taggart' was a television detective series made by ITV company STV Productions, and it became one of the most respected crime dramas in the history of British TV. Mark McManus played the title role of rugged Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart, until his death in 1994. The series continued after McManus' death, and though the Jim Taggart character was never replaced the show's title was retained.
A Promising Start
'Taggart' was first shown on TV in 1983, as a three-part episode. Entitled 'Killer' it won a BAFTA, and so the show's credibility as a high quality drama was established early on. The 100th episode of 'Taggart' was broadcast in 2009. In 2011, English and Welsh ITV networks said that they would no longer broadcast the series, which was conceived by Glenn Chandler and Robert Love.
The stories in 'Taggart' were self-contained, and though they were of a gritty nature, the series rarely overstepped the mark in terms of nudity or strong language. 'Taggart' maintained its realism throughout its long run, and the series included a plethora of respected guest stars, including Robert Carlyle, Julian Glover, Annette Crosbie, Jill Gascoine, Hannah Gordon, John Hannah, Isla Blair, Barbara Dickson, Clare Grogan, Diane Keen, Ken Stott and Amanda Redman.
Blythe Duff was the longest-serving member of the 'Taggart' series, first appearing in 1989 as the calm Detective Sergeant with the dry wit, Jackie Reid. Other main characters in 'Taggart' were Neil Duncan as Detective Sergeant Peter Livingstone, Iain Anders as Superintendent Jack McVitie, John Michie as Detective Inspector Robbie Ross, and James MacPherson as Detective Chief Inspector Mike Jardine.
Alex Norton, who played Detective Chief Inspector Matt Burke, was in the Jim Taggart mould, and he was almost a father figure to the younger policemen and policewomen under his command, much as Jim Taggart had been. Jackie Reid's relationship with Robbie Ross was another interesting aspect of the series, as though it was a platonic relationship, there was an underlying affection that seemed ready to surface as a full-blown romance.
The setting of 'Taggart' was normally in grim surroundings, and even the original theme song for the series had the same gritty quality that the series possessed. One of the most recognizable of all TV theme songs, 'No Mean City' was sung by Maggie Bell, before that was replaced by just the theme tune.
Shown around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, 'Taggart' also built up a strong following in some non-English speaking countries. The series was shown in Sweden and Denmark, as well as in several Eastern European countries.
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
Taggart Main Cast List
Blythe Duff as DS Jackie Reid
Taggart The Complete Collection DVD available from booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon.co.uk
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