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Taggart
Taggart title.jpg
Taggart Titles
Genre Drama
Created by Glenn Chandler
Starring Mark McManus (until 1994),
Blythe Duff,
John Michie,
Alex Norton
Country of origin  Scotland
No. of series 26
No. of episodes 103
Production
Executive producer(s) Eric Coulter
Producer(s) Graeme Gordon
Running time 60 - 120 minutes
(including adverts)
Broadcast
Original channel STV, ITV
Picture format 153px
Original run 6 September 1983 –
Present (Ongoing)

Taggart is a long-running Scottish detective television programme, created by Glenn Chandler, who has written many of the episodes, and made by STV Productions for the ITV network. Taggart is a Glaswegian detective television programme, originally set and filmed in the area of Maryhill police station in Glasgow, Scotland, but is internationally famous and is now translated into many languages including German, French and Japanese. The series revolves around a group of detectives in the Maryhill CID of Strathclyde Police. It is the world's longest continually running police drama,[1] although "Woodentop", the one-off drama that later served as a pilot for another ITV police drama, The Bill, aired one month before the first episode of Taggart.

The Scottish English and Glasgow Patter used by the characters in the show has been the subject of a number of skits. The 1980s BBC Scotland comedy series Naked Video regularly featured a series of Taggart sketches in which Tony Roper portrayed Mark McManus/Jim Taggart complete with his "There's been a murder!" catchphrase pronounced with an extremely thick Glaswegian accent rolling the 'r' in murder. There is also a Tennents lager advert where CG-animated pints of Tennents play Taggart characters. "There's been a murder!" was commonly used to stereotype the show - especially in the Mark McManus era.

The show's 100th story aired on Christmas Eve 2009 on the ITV Network, starring Alex Norton, Blythe Duff, Colin McCredie and John Michie, the current actors in the long-running TV detective series.

Contents

History

The Scottish BAFTA winning pilot episode, "Killer", broadcast in 1983, directed by Laurence Moody, introduced the character of 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 Supertintendent Robert Murray (Tom Watson), known as The Mint after the well known sweet. This humour was continued in the subsequent series with Taggart's boss replaced after the second episode ("Dead Ringer") by 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.

In 1987 the character of Mike Jardine (James MacPherson) was introduced, and when Neil Duncan left the series in 1989, a new female sidekick, Jackie Reid (Blythe Duff) was introduced.

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. The 1995 episode Black Orchid opened with Taggart's funeral but, unusually, despite the death of the title character, the series continued with Jardine being 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. DI Robbie Ross (John Michie) joined the team in 1998. Fraser was later revealed to be gay.

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 the 1986 episode, "Knife Edge"). Alex Norton's Matt Burke character has gained widespread critical acclaim, many believing him to be the first credible successor to McManus's original Taggart character.

Much was made of the platonic relationship between Jardine and Reid, with the two being 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 is now dead. The personal relationships of the police officers in this series are shown as nothing to be envious of; Reid once describing herself, Burke, Ross and Fraser as three divorcees and a celibate homosexual.

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ITV/STV dispute

ITV plc, the company that controls the ITV franchises in England, Wales and the Scottish borders, had failed to announce whether it plans to show any new episodes of Taggart that STV produce, this had prompted STV to suspend production of the programme in September 2009.[2] STV later announced, in November 2009, that it would produce new episodes of Taggart for broadcast in 2010 regardless of whether ITV plc decides to screen it. This would result in Taggart only being screened in Central and Northern Scotland if ITV plc don't take up the option to screen the new series.[3]

However, in February 2010, it was announced that ITV and STV have put their wider commercial differences to one side to make a new series, which Scottish viewers will get to see first. The two broadcasters have co-commissioned a six-part series of the show, with pay-TV broadcaster UKTV also investing in return for repeat rights. New episodes of Taggart will debut on STV in Scotland this autumn before broadcasting ITV across the rest of the UK in 2011. UKTV's Alibi digital channel will get to show the episodes in 2013.[4]

Format and Broadcast Information

The format of the show has changed over the years. Originally the show ran as three one hour episodes to each story (130 minutes without the adverts). This later changed to a two hour stand alone story, later shortened to 1.5 hours. From 2008 the show has become a one hour stand alone story for the first time since 2002 and 2003. The DVD rights are held by Clearvision.

Fans of the show have been increasingly frustrated by the scheduling of the show in recent years.[citation needed] Although blocks or series of the show are filmed, they are often not shown together as with other series. They are usually just fitted into the schedule wherever there is a gap, meaning they are often not shown in consecutive weeks or on one set night of the week. Often months will pass between episodes of the same series being shown.

One particular example can be seen in 2008. The last two episodes of the 23rd series, "The Caring Game" and "Lifeline", were the last of the ninety minute episodes filmed before the new one hour format began. However, these were not broadcast at the time. Instead ITV broadcast all five episodes from the 24th series and the first episode of the 25th series, all one hour episodes. "The Caring Game", was then shown on 14 November. This meant that the episode was shown well out of sequence. In the episode, DI Ross is faced with the choice of leaving for Canada, with his ex-wife and son, or staying in Glasgow. However, viewers already knew that Ross was not leaving the programme, as numerous future episodes had already been broadcast. The other missing episode "Lifeline", was finally broadcast on 30 December.

Viewers in Northern Ireland are subject to further scheduling difficulties. Episodes are sometimes broadcast in mainland ITV regions, but replaced on UTV by regional programmes. This creates additional displacement of episodes out of sequence for Northern Irish viewers, with no indication from UTV in listings magazines, as to when the episode is scheduled to be broadcast in the future, if at all.

Australia was the first to air these Episodes: 101 "IOU", 102 "Local Hero", 103 "The Rapture".

These episodes were aired on ABC 1 on Saturday at 9:15pm after The Bill.

It is not known when or if other countries will air these episodes.

Cast

Current Cast

Previous Cast

Episodes

Episode Title Airdate Notes
Pilot:
P. "Killer" 6 September - 20 September 1983 First appearance of DCI Jim Taggart and DS Peter Livingstone
Series 1:
1. "Dead Ringer" 2 July - 16 July 1985
2. "Murder In Season" 23 July - 6 August 1985
Series 2:
3. "Knife Edge" 24 February - 10 March 1986
4. "Death Call" 2 September - 16 September 1986
Series 3:
5. "The Killing Philosophy" 15 April - 29 April 1987 First appearance of DS Michael Jardine
6. "Funeral Rites" 9 September - 23 September 1987
7. "Cold Blood" 31 December 1987 Feature length Christmas Special
Series 4:
8. "Dead Giveaway" 7 September - 21 September 1988
9. "Root Of Evil" 28 September - 12 October 1988
10. "Double Jeopardy" 30 December 1988 Feature length Christmas Special
Series 5:
11. "Flesh And Blood" 5 September - 19 September 1989
12. "Love Knot" 1 January 1990 Feature length New Year Special
13. "Hostile Witness" 22 February - 8 March 1990
Series 6:
14. "Evil Eye" 4 September - 18 September 1990
15. "Death Comes Softly" 3 December - 17 September 1990
16. "Rogues Gallery" 31 December 1990 Feature length Christmas Special - First appearance of WPC Jackie Reid
Series 7:
17. "Violent Delights" 1 January 1992 Feature length New Year Special
18. "Nest Of Vipers" 9 January - 23 January 1992
19. "Double Exposure" 30 January - 13 February 1992
Series 8:
20. "The Hit Man" 17 September - 1 October 1992
21. "Ring Of Deceit" 8 October - 22 October 1992
22. "Fatal Inheritance" 1 January 1993 Feature length New Year Special
Series 9:
23. "Death Benefits" 16 February 1993
24. "Gingerbread" 20 April 1993
25. "Death Without Dishonour" 11 May 1993
Series 10:
26. "Instrument Of Justice" 30 September 1993
27. "Forbidden Fruit" 1 January 1994 Last appearance of DS Peter Livingstone
28. "Secrets" 6 October 1994
Series 11:
29. "Hellfire" 27 October 1994
30. "Prayer For The Dead" 11 January 1995 Last appearance of DCI Jim Taggart
31. "Black Orchid" 25 February 1995 First appearance of DC Stuart Fraser
Series 12:
32. "Legends" 2 November 1995
33. "Devil's Advocate" 4 January 1996
34. "Angel Eyes" 21 March 1996
Series 13:
35. "Dead Man's Chest" 19 September 1996
36. "Apocalypse" 16 January 1997
Series 14:
37. "Babushka" 4 September 1997
38. "Berserker" 1 January 1998
39. "Out Of Bounds" 1 March 1998
40. "Dead Reckoning" 15 July 1998
Series 15:
41. "A Few Bad Men" 8 October 1998 First appearance of DI Robbie Ross
42. "Long Time Dead" 1 November 1998 Feature length Special
Series 16:
43. "Bloodlines" 16 January 1999
44. "A Fistful Of Chips" 7 September 1999
45. "Fearful Lightning" 21 October 1999
46. "For Their Sins" 21 November 1999
Series 17:
47. "Ghost Rider" 16 February 2000
48. "Skin Deep" 14 September 2000
49. "Wavelength" 21 September 2000
50. "Football Crazy" 1 December 2000
51. "Falling In Love" 10 January 2001
Series 18:
52. "Death Trap" 14 January 2002 First appearance of DCI Matthew Burke and last appearance of DCI Mike Jardine
53. "Fire, Burn" 21 January 2002
54. "Watertight" 8 July 2002
55. "The Friday Event" 15 July-16 July 2002 Split in 2 parts
Series 19:
56. "Hardman" 4 December 2002 Hour long episode
57. "Fade to Black" 11 December 2002 Hour long episode
58. "Blood Money" 18 December 2002 Hour long episode
59. "New Life" 4 January 2003 Hour long episode
60. "Bad Blood" 11 January 2003 Hour long episode
61. "Halfway House" 18 January 2003 Hour long episode
62. "An Eye For An Eye" 25 January 2003 TV Movie Special
Series 20:
63. "Penthouse And Pavement" 7 October 2003
64. "Atonement" 3 December 2003
65. "Compensation" 30 April 2004
66. "Saints And Sinners" 30 December 2004
67. "Puppet On A String" 6 January 2005
68. "The Wages Of Sin" 13 January 2005
Series 21:
69. "The Ties That Bind" 20 January 2005
70. "In Camera" 27 January 2005
71. "Mind Over Matter" 3 February 2005
72. "Cause And Effect" 16 September 2005
73. "A Taste Of Money" 23 September 2005
74. "A Death Foretold" 30 September 2005
Series 22:
75. "Running Out Of Time" 4 November 2005
76. "Cause To Kill" 11 November 2005
77. "Do Or Die" 9 December 2005
78. "Dead Man Walking" 16 December 2005
79. "Law" 22 March 2006
80. "The Best And The Brightest" 29 March 2006
Series 23:
81. "Users And Losers" 3 January 2007
82. "The Thirteenth Step" 17 January 2007
83. "Tenement" 30 April 2007
84. "Pinnacle" 4 July 2007
85. "Genesis" 8 January 2008
86. "The Caring Game" 14 November 2008
87. "Lifeline" 30 December 2008
Series 24:
88. "Judgement Day" 15 January 2008
89. "Island" 27 February 2008
90. "Trust" 21 April 2008
91. "A Study in Murder" 1 May 2008
92. "Point of Light" 5 June 2008
Series 25:
93. "Safer" 3 November 2008
94. "Homesick" 8 December 2008
95. "Crossing the Line" 15 December 2008
96. "Cold Reader" 20 February 2009
97. "Grass" 30 April 2009
98. "The Knife Trick" 7 May 2009
99. "So Long Baby" 19 July 2009
Series 26:
100. "Fact and Fiction" 24 December 2009
101. "IOU" 23 January 2010 ABC 1 (Australia) first to air this episode
102. "Local Hero" 30 January 2010 ABC 1 (Australia) was first to air this episode
103. "The Rapture" 6 February 2010 ABC 1 (Australia) was first to aird this episode

Guest appearances

Actors appearing on Taggart episodes over the years include

Theme music

The programme's theme music is "No Mean City" composed by Mike Moran. The vocals were originally performed by Maggie Bell, formerly a member of Stone the Crows, but an instrumental version is now used for both opening and closing credits.

References

  1. ^ "Taggart". STV Productions. 2003. http://www.stvproductions.tv/content/default.asp?page=s2_2_15. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  2. ^ The TV Braveheart at war with Grade This is Money, 27 September 2009,
  3. ^ "STV to make a new series of Taggart". BBC News. 6 November 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8346550.stm. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "There's been a commission". Media Guardian. 18 February 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/feb/18/taggart-itv-stv-new-series. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 

External links


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