GCU takes Taggart scripts into custody

Thu, 25 Oct 2018 09:51:00 BST
Blythe Duff with Taggart co-star John Michie
Blythe Duff with Taggart co-star John Michie

Taggart star Blythe Duff has donated all of her scripts from the iconic detective show to the archives at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Scripts from 95 episodes will be made available to the public along with a collection of memorabilia from the much-loved Scottish series, which ran for 27 years and was screened in more than 80 countries.

The actress, who played Jackie Reid, made her first on-screen appearance in the episode Death Comes Softly in 1990 and was part of the final cast in the last episode screened by STV, called Ends of Justice in 2010.

The scripts are part of a treasure trove of material amassed by Blythe, which includes books, press cuttings, still photographs, awards, and rare Taggart memorabilia.

Students from GCU’s MA TV Fiction Writing, the only master’s course dedicated to writing television drama, will use the scripts as part of their studies.

Blythe, who received an honorary degree from GCU in 2011, said: “The archive is open to everyone. The public can come in and spend an afternoon browsing through the scripts.

“There is a real warmth towards Taggart among the public and a fondness for Mark McManus, in particular.

“There are landmark episodes in there, such as the 50th and 100th Taggart, but also ones that had to be rewritten after Mark passed away.

“Everyone has a Taggart story, whether it's their auntie's house being used to film in or their street being featured in an episode, and it's not just in Glasgow, we filmed all over Scotland.

“It would be great, in the future, if the public could add their own papers and photographs to the archive, to collate more evidence of the show.”

Blythe was joined by Taggart co-star John Michie at the handover of the collection.

She added: “I remember my first day on the Taggart set very well. It was in a church in Govan with the chorus from Scottish Opera. James MacPherson, who played Mike Jardine, talked me through it. I had worked in theatre for years and no idea about the basics, like hitting a mark.

“The old studios used to be up in Port Dundas, which is close to GCU, so it seems fitting that the archive will be here.

“The fact that students from the MA TV Fiction Writing course will also be able to benefit from having access to the scripts is brilliant. TV is changing so quickly and, as everything goes digital, it’s important to retain a link with the past.”

Carole McCallum, GCU’s archivist, said: “The collection tells the story of Taggart but it also tells the story of Blythe Duff, of a female breaking into a male-dominated industry.

“Taggart and Glasgow go hand in hand. Having the archive here brings the scripts to life and returns the show to the people.”

Chris Dolan, programme leader of the MA TV Fiction Writing course, added: “Taggart is in the DNA of every modern cop show.

“Jackie Reid was an iconic creation and Blythe’s portrayal is part of television history.

“To have the scripts here is a phenomenal resource for our students.”

GCU is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its MA TV Fiction Writing course at an event, presented by Scots actor David Hayman, at Oran Mor in Glasgow on October 25.

Graduates from the course have worked on some of Britain’s most popular long-running shows, including EastEnders, Casualty, and Holby City.

MA TV alumni Lorna Martin recently became the first graduate to devise and write her own series, Women on the Verge, which is currently being screened on channel W.