TAGGART! Filmed on the mean streets of Glasgow, it was the quintessential gritty cop drama, yet, as he prepares to return to the Capital in Rapture Theatre’s production of Democracy, actor Colin McCredie recalls that the more refined streets of Edinburgh also featured regularly in the series too.
“John Michie, who played DI Robbie Ross, was from Edinburgh, as was Glenn Chandler, who created the show, so there were always connections with the city, but we would also come through to film here every couple of years,” says McCredie, who for 15 years played DC Stuart Fraser in the series.
Unlike filming in Glasgow, where the locals had become blasé to the adventures of the Maryhill CID, filming in Edinburgh, the reception was different.
“It was a bit of a novelty,” says the actor, who was brought up in Perth.
“In Edinburgh they would say, ‘Has there been a killing?’ rather than ‘There’s been a murder’,” he laughs.
“I remember we filmed in Old College Quad, which doubled for the High Court, and we did a whole episode at Loretto School in Musselburgh.
“Called Out of Bounds, it was about a bullying teacher - one of the pupils got the better of him and killed him.
“Then we did one at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, where someone got eaten by piranhas.”
The latest role to bring McCredie to the city could not be further removed from his TV cop.
In Michael Frayn’s spy-thriller, the 44-year-old plays Günther Nollau, head of West German counter intelligence.
Based on a true story, Democracy tells the story of charismatic Willy Brandt who has been elected West German Chancellor.
However, his own political party are starting to plot against him.
As his enemies tighten the noose around his neck - and the threat of an East German spy in his own office is discovered - Brandt believes the only man he can truly trust is Gunter Guillaume, his devoted personal assistant.
But in the world of political intrigue, espionage and betrayal, who can you trust?
Joining McCredie on stage are movie actor Tom Hodgkins as Willy Brandt, former Brookside favourite Neil Caple and River City’s Sean Scanlan.
The 10-strong cast is completed by Michael Moreland, Jack Lord, Alan Steele, Jim Kitson, Steven Scott Fitzgerald, and Stewart Porter.
“It’s been a while since I’ve done such a big show with so many bodies on stage,” says McCredie, before revealing there’s another reason he is excited the show is bringing him back to Edinburgh.
“I’ve never played the King’s stage, ever, so that’s the big buzz for me because I grew up coming through to the King’s panto every Christmas to see the likes of Stanley Baxter, Wally Carr... lots of brilliant people.
“Every year when we had finished our panto in Perth we’d all pile in a bus and head down. It was great.”
He adds, “And my brother and my dad are in Edinburgh now. So it has always been like a second home to me, even though I’ve never lived there.”
Democracy, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, tonight-Saturday, 7.30pm (matinee 2.30pm), £17.50 - £30.50, 0131-529 6000