Taggart scripts donated to university archive

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Original scripts from TV drama Taggart have been donated to a university to help the next generation of screen writers.

Blythe Duff, who played Jackie Reid in the famous police drama, has handed her scripts from 95 episodes to the archives at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), along with memorabilia including books, press cuttings, photographs and awards.

Students from GCU’s course in TV fiction writing will now use the scripts as part of their studies but the archive will also be open to the public to take a look at the scripts, some of which had to be rewritten after the death of Mark McManus who played Taggart.

Duff 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.

She 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.”

The donation comes as the university marks the tenth anniversary of its MA TV Fiction Writing course.

Graduates from the course have worked on shows, including EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City, while Lorna Martin recently became the first graduate to devise and write her own series, Women on the Verge, screened on channel W.

Blythe Duff and John Michie
Blythe Duff and John Michie were among the leading stars in Taggart (GCU/PA)

She added: “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, added: “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.”

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