Thursday, 20 December 2007


In its early years, Taggart was my favourite television crime series. Mark McManus was perfectly cast as the gruff, eponymous Glaswegian cop (he’d give you a dirty look if you ever used a word like ‘eponymous’ in his presence, mind) and he was supported by a first rate cast. The series continued under the same name after McManus died, but although it remained a source of sound entertainment, it suffered from what you might call ‘the Reichenbach Falls effect’. Rather like the Sherlock Holmes stories after the great man’s battle with Moriarty, Taggart was never quite as good after a brush with mortality. I still watch it from time to time, but not with the same desperate yearning to find out the solution to a complex and devilish puzzle.

Apart from the performances, the early series benefited from sharp and witty scripts, above all those written by the creator of Taggart, Glenn Chandler. Chandler has a wonderfully twisted and macabre imagination and some of his screenplays were quite masterly. He’s published novels, as well as an excellent true crime study, and he’s written other tv shows, but Taggart remains his finest achievement.

I’m prompted to this burst of reminiscence by having had the chance to watch again an episode from fifteen years ago, ‘Violent Delights’. Clever and dark, with a chilling climax. McManus is in great form, even though he didn’t live too much longer. Great television. And if you come across them, don't miss 'Death Benefits' and 'Nest of Vipers', two of my all-time favourite episodes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea that "Taggart" is achly my (I'm not polling your lag) last name. I hade no idea that Taggart is a t.v. show, move, inn, hill, driving school, exa, If you get this I'm typed from U.S.
(Your turn)