'There's been a murder': 40 years since debut of iconic police drama Taggart

Glasgow Caledonian University has launched a people’s archive recognising the important role the public played in the TV show.

One of the longest-running police dramas in history, Taggart has became a national institution.

The first episode aired 40 years ago on September 6, 1983.

Then it was a miniseries entitled “Killer” before the full series was commissioned in 1985.

The pilot episode still regarded by die-hard fans as one of the show’s best episodes, and is host to one of the shows most iconic moments.

The audience first meets DCI Jim Taggart wearing his “Big Daddy” dressing gown. In the scene the titular detective is complaining to his wife Jean about the time which his daughter Alison returned home. The domestic setting became vital for sub-plots in the following episodes.

Iconic first scene of TaggartSTV

The series went on to run for an incredible 27 seasons before coming to an end on November 7, 2010.

The series was initially set in the Maryhill Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Strathclyde Police but saw DCI Taggart and the team of detectives solve crimes across Greater Glasgow and other areas of Scotland.

To coincide with Taggart’s 40th anniversary, Glasgow Caledonian University launched a people’s archive, recognising the important role the public played in the drama.


Due to the show’s strong connection with Glasgow, the university is asking members of the public who were involved in “location shoots, worked as extras, played a corpse, provided props or expertise to the show” to come forward and contribute their stories to the exhibition.

There will be several drop-in sessions across three days with a team of retired detectives at the archive centre from September 6 to September 8.


The detectives will be in a mock police station taking “witness statements” that will feature in the archive. Some of the contributions will be added to display boards and maps in an “incident room” set up on campus.

Taggart star Dr Blythe Duff, who played Jackie Reid, will also join volunteers across the three-day event. Blythe was the longest-serving member of the cast when the show drew to a close.

Blythe, who is an honorary graduate and cultural fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University, donated scripts from 95 episodes of the show to its archives in 2018.

Members of the cast visited the archive at GCU.STV News

“Everyone I meet has a Taggart story,” she said, “‘Oh you filmed in my auntie’s house’ or ‘in our street’, or ‘I was an extra for the day’.

“I’ve worked with so many people who watched us film and it inspired them to become directors, writers or join the police.

“It made me realise how important these stories are to the fabric of the series.”

Sarah Brown, creative director of drama at STV, said: “We’re so proud of Taggart and the legacy the series has left behind after 28 years on air.

“The show was a rich training ground for so many productions crew, writers and actors in Scotland who have gone on to have successful careers in television; and the storylines, characters and murders continue to be watched by fans all around the world.

“We’re thrilled that Glasgow Caledonian University is launching its special Taggart archive on its 40th anniversary and can’t wait to hear people’s stories of how the drama impacted their lives.”

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