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Taggart

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The current Taggart line-up from 2011 - DI Jackie Reid, DCI Matt Burke and DI Robbie Ross

Taggart is the oldest Crime TV series in the world. The show is famous for its gory and dark storylines. There have been 24 series of Taggart to date since its original episode Killer on September 6th 1983. The series is set and filmed in Glasgow (Maryhill district). The show can divided into three eras, the Jim Taggart Era (1983 - 1994), the Michael Jardine Era (1994 - 2002) and the Matt Burke Era (2002 - present).

Guest appearancesEdit

Actors appearing on Taggart episodes over the years include Dave Anderson, Isla Blair, Billy Boyd, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Linda (Muchan) Carmichael, Ian Colquhoun, Annette Crosbie, Alan Cumming, Henry Ian Cusick, Barbara Dickson, Michelle Gomez, Jill Gascoine, Hannah Gordon, Clare Grogan, John Hannah, Morag Hepburn, Celia Imrie, Jason Isaacs, Ashley Jensen, Diane Keen, John McGlynn (in 5 episodes, each as a different character), Ann Mitchell, Andrew-Lee Potts, Peter Mullan, Amanda Redman, Dougray Scott and Ken Stott.

HistoryEdit

The first ever episode of Taggart introduced the main character of Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart who was played by Mark McManus until his death in 1994. Detective Sergeant Peter Livingstone was his original sidekick, who was played by Alastair Duncan, then called Neil Duncan. Taggart's first boss was Superintendent Robert "The Mint" Murray, who only appeared in three episodes and was portrayed by Tom Watson. Afterwards, he was replaced by the character of Jack McVitie, played by actor Iain Anders. He was nicknamed The Biscuit after the well-known brand of biscuits, just as Murray had been named after the sweet of the same name. Jim was married to wife Jean (Harriet Buchan), who spent her life in a wheelchair and they had a daughter named Alison, who only appeared in a few episodes. After Duncan left in 1987, making one final appearance in 1994, James MacPherson joined the cast as Michael "Mike" Jardine, who first made an appearance in The Killing Philosophy (1987). He later rose through the ranks to become a Detective Chief Inspector himself. In 1990, Scottish actress Blythe Duff made an appearance as the then Women Police Constable Jackie Reid in Death Comes Softly. She was later seconded to CID in the next episode Rogues Gallery. The programme has changed over the years and one of those changes was that of the lead character. Mark McManus died in 1994 in the middle of filming an episode and so it was decided to carry on the show without him. That meant Jardine was promoted to Detective Inspector and he even got his own sidekick, Detective Constable Stuart Fraser, who appeared in the 1995 episode Black Orchid, which also showed the funeral of the main character, Jim Taggart. Jean Taggart, now a widower, also made her final appearance. In 1996, in the episode Angel Eyes, Fraser was revealed to be gay, Although Jardine was less than happy about it he eventually showed respect for what Stuart was and he in turn respected him. Iain Anders also continue to stay with the show until his death in 1998. His final appearance was Dead Reckoning. Afterwards, John Michie joined as Detective Inspector Robbie Ross in the episode A Few Bad Men, meaning that Jardine was finally promoted to DCI. Not long afterwards the prgramme started to go downhill a bit, and the writers under the guidance of Philip Hinchliffe, started to concentrate a bit too much on the personal lives of the characters, particularly the triangle between Ross, Reid and Jardine. The character of Brian Holmes was introduced as a minor regular and later became Jackie's boyfriend; the couple later married in the episode Falling in Love, although the marriage was never that simple and they later divorced in Haflway House. Another semi-regular was WPC Heather McIntyre, and there were hints of her starting a relationship with Michael Jardine, though nothing ever came of it. In the episode Death Trap, broadcast in 2002, a new era began once again as Mike was suspended from a murder investigation and Detective Chief Inspector Matthew "Matt" Burke was put in charge. Mike was later killed by being thrown into the River Clyde below and left to be drowned to death. The rest of the team, Jackie, Robbie and Stuart were all devastated - though Burke - revealed to be a former Special Branch officer - was less than sympathetic and didn't want them to be distracted from the job. The character of the pathologist has also changed too, although none of them has lasted longer than Dr Stephen Andrews (Robert Robertson) in the pilot episode in 1983 to until his last appearance in 2001. Next came, forensic pathologist Sheila Crombie, played by Tamara Kennedy and then Gemma Kerr by Leslie Harcourt from 2003 to 2005. The more recent pathologist is Duncan Clark, who made his first appearance in the episode Bad Medicine after the programme underwent a huge revamp. The character is played by Davood Ghadami. After DC Stuart Fraser was axed in 2009, his character disappearing without any explanation, the character of DC Mita Rahim was introduced along with Siobhan Redmond as Chief Superintendent Karen Campbell.

ITV/STV disputeEdit

ITV plc, the company that controls the ITV franchises in England, Wales, and the Scottish Borders, had failed to announce whether it planned to show any new episodes of Taggart that STV produces, prompting STV to suspend production of the programme in September 2009. STV later 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. This would have resulted in Taggart only being screened in Central and Northern Scotland if ITV plc had not taken up the option to screen the new series.

However, 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 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 debuted on STV in autumn 2010 before being broadcast on ITV across the rest of the UK in 2011. UKTV's Alibi digital channel will show the episodes in 2013. Online catch-up of the new series will not be available to STV Player users until the show is broadcast on ITV1/UTV.[7]

Format and broadcast informationEdit

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 was later changed to a two-hour stand alone story, which was later shortened to 90 minutes. From 2008 onwards the show became a one-hour stand alone story for the first time since 2003. The DVD rights are held by Clear Vision.

Fans of the show have in the past been frustrated by the scheduling of the show. 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 90 minute episodes filmed before the new one hour format began. However, these were not broadcast at the time. Instead the ITV network 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 of that year.

Theme musicEdit

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. Between 1999 and 2009, the theme appeared only as an instrumental version, but the original lyrics were restored in 2010, with the tune re-recorded by singer, Karina Smillie.

CastEdit

Current castEdit

Previous castEdit

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