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8 Tayside and Fife actors that appeared in Taggart – including future Mission: Impossible and Game of Thrones stars

The detective drama - famed for its 'There's been a murder' catchphrase - turns 40 this month.

Robert Robertson, right, performing on stage at Dundee Rep in 1983’s Enter A Free Man. Image: DC Thomson.
Robert Robertson, right, performing on stage at Dundee Rep in 1983’s Enter A Free Man. Image: DC Thomson.

Classic detective show Taggart turns 40 this month.

Initially a three parter called Killer, it went on to become a global hit and one of the world’s longest-running crime dramas before ending in 2010.

And the anniversary of the show – created by Glenn Chandler and starring Mark McManus, James MacPherson and Alex Norton in the lead role through the years – will be marked with a special reunion instalment on Thursday night.

David Mortimer, managing director of STV Studios, said: “Taggart offered invaluable experience to so many actors and crew across its 27 series and it continues to entertain fans right around the world.”

These are the stars from Courier Country who popped up in the programme.

1 – Robert Robertson

The St Andrews actor played the morbidly jolly Dr Stephen Andrews in the earliest version of the show.

Robertson was artistic director of Dundee Rep at the time and had been one of the driving forces in the company’s move to a purpose-built theatre at Tay Square in 1982.

And he was in the spotlight a year later.

The late Mark McManus (left) and James MacPherson in Taggart. Image: Supplied.

Some 7.6 million viewers watched the jocose manner of Robertson’s pipe-smoking pathologist contrasting brilliantly with the gruff surliness of McManus’s Jim Taggart.

Robertson, who was still playing Dr Stephen Andrews, died of a heart attack in January 2001, aged 70, while reading a Robert Burns poem on stage during a performance at Perth Theatre.

He had a history of heart trouble and previously suffered a heart attack in 1993 at his home in the Blackness area of the city.

At the time he was the longest-serving member of the cast.

2 – Colin McCredie

The Perth actor’s first appearance came in the 1995 episode dealing with Jim Taggart’s death, Black Orchid.

He later said: “Sadly, I never got to do any scenes with Mark McManus — he became ill and died just as we were about to film together.

Colin McCredie as DC Stuart Fraser in TV Series Taggart.
Colin McCredie.

“But I have been lucky enough to work with some of my childhood idols, including Barbara Dickson, Julian Glover and John Duttine.”

St Johnstone fan McCredie, 51, played DC Stuart Fraser on the show for 15 years.

3 – Alan Cumming

Taggart provided a career springboard for Scottish acting talent including Perthshire-born Alan.

The 58-year-old grew up in Angus and more or less fell into acting by accident after his interest in performing was encouraged by his English teacher Ella Law at Carnoustie High School.

He joined the theatre club and music society in Carnoustie — and the rest is history.

Alan Cumming was cast in 1986’s Death Call which was watched by half of Scotland. Image: DC Thomson.
Alan Cumming’s character is interviewed by Mark McManus’s Taggart in Death Call. Image: Supplied.

He made his TV debut in Taggart in September 1986’s Death Call, when the wife of a wealthy Glaswegian landowner is found weighed down with luggage in a reservoir.

Before hosting The Traitors and starring in movies like Goldeneye and X-Men 2, he covered horoscopes for the Evening Telegraph.

During his time at DC Thomson he also appeared in photo stories for the Jackie annual.

4 – Dougray Scott

Mission: Impossible 2 star Dougray Scott suffered for his art when he kicked off his acting career in one of Taggart’s scarier episodes in 1992, in which deadly snakes were the murder weapon.

The Hollywood actor, 57, was brought up in Glenrothes and studied drama at Fife College of Technology before playing zookeeper Colin Murphy in the three-part Nest of Vipers.

Dougray Scott in a scene from 1992’s Nest of Vipers, which was among Taggart’s scariest. Image: Supplied.

He said: “Mark McManus (who was a former boxer) punched me for real, because he thought it would be great for the film.

“He caught me and floored me. I had a great time!”

5 – Robin Laing

Robin Laing as DI Donald in BBC Scotland soap River City.

The Dundee actor, 47, appeared in two episodes of Taggart – ten years apart.

In 1998’s Out of Bounds he played Mark Jackson, who discovers a skeleton in the grounds of a boarding school.

A decade later Laing – who has starred in River City, Guilt, The Gold and Outlander – popped up as Sergeant Sean Mackay in Island.

6 – Michael Nardone

Michael Nardone as DI Neil McKinven in Traces, set in Dundee.

The actor, from Ballingry, Fife, has also done the Taggart double.

The 56-year-old portrayed Gavin Logan in 2002’s Hard Man before playing Stevie Dixon in Running Out of Time three years later.

Michael – whose credits include Line of Duty and The Night Manager – became close pals with Dougray Scott after they met at Fife Youth Theatre.

7 – Barbara Dickson

Barbara Dickson.

The singing legend, from Dunfermline, featured in 1995’s Legends as Marie McDonald, a performer who helps Jardine (James MacPherson) investigate the death of a musician.

Barbara, 75, later appeared in TV’s Band of Gold and was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to music and drama.

8 – Ron Donachie

The Dundonian, 67, has starred in eight Taggart episodes playing five different characters according to his IMDb profile.

His first appearance in the Glasgow drama came in 1987’s Funeral Rites as Pat Connolly, with his final role coming in 2006 as Harry Stein in Law.

Ron Donachie in Channel 4 prison drama Screw.

In between there were parts as Peter Jenkins (Falling in Love, 2001), Hamish Baird (Dead Reckoning, 1998) and Marco Cellini (Death Benefits, 1993)

The former Madras College pupil famously starred as the Master at Arms in 1997 Hollywood blockbuster Titanic, putting Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack in handcuffs.

He also portrayed fan favourite Rodrik Cassel in TV sensation Game of Thrones.

All episodes of Taggart are available to watch on STV Player.