1 9 8 3 – Current (UK)
The pilot episode of Taggart was a three-part production called Killer (about a serial murderer of young Glasgow blondes) which was shown in 1983. Penned by Glenn Chandler, it had all the hallmarks of an excellent drama series.
In 1985, the series debuted with its now-familiar format. Mark McManus as Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart and Neil Duncan playing his partner-in-crime, graduate Sergeant Peter Livingstone, both of the Glasgow CID.
A new partner appeared in 1987 – James MacPherson took on the role of Detective Sergeant Mike Jardine, the naive, innocent son of a man who had also once been Taggart’s sergeant.
In 1990 Blythe Duff joined the team as Detective Constable Jackie Reid.
After the sad death of Mark McManus from pneumonia in 1994, Jardine took over the team, and he and Jackie were joined by Colin McCredie playing DC Stuart Fraser. Finally, coinciding with Jardine’s promotion to DCI in 1998, John Michie joined the team playing DI Robbie Ross.
The character of tough Glaswegian detective, Jim Taggart appeared before Morse, Wexford and many others, and none came harder or tougher – As demonstrated when Jim faces off a bike gang and gets them to turn tail by sheer power of personality – “you’ll wear your balls as earrings!”
Stuart Hepburn (who played a copper and then private detective in some early episodes) went on to write several complete Taggart stories including ‘Double Exposure’ (photographer, Rangers/Celtic crowd video, door of council flat set on fire) and ‘Ring of Deceit’ (attacker called ‘The Mechanic’, kindly old jeweller, body on rubbish dump).
Creator Glenn Chandler took the names of the characters in the first serial from a Glasgow cemetery.
Mark McManus starred regularly in Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo. He also listed Mick Jagger amongst his friends. They met him during the filming of Ned Kelly (1970) apparently.
The theme song from Taggart is called No Mean City and performed by Maggie Bell, the former lead singer of the 70s Glasgow band, Stone the Crows. The song was written by Mike Moran, who also wrote the classic track Barcelona for Freddie Mercury.
DCI Jim Taggart
DS Peter Livingstone
DS Mike Jardine
DC/DS Jackie Reid
DC Stuart Fraser
DI Robbie Ross
Dr Andrew Stephens
Supt. Murray (Mint)