Liam Rudden: Glenn tells all about Taggart

Taggart:- starring Mark McManus (right) , James Macpherson and Blythe Duff
Taggart:- starring Mark McManus (right) , James Macpherson and Blythe Duff
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THERE’S been a murder! Debate still rages as to whether or not that line was ever actually uttered in STV’s long-running crime drama Taggart.

One man who should know is Edinburgh-born Glenn Chandler, the man whose name appeared at the beginning of each episode, credited as creator of the series and, more often or not, as the writer.

Much of the success of the series, which is still shown around the world to this day, was and is down to Glenn’s imaginative plot twists and catalogue of unusual deaths.

The killer - indeed the pilot episode wasn’t even called Taggart, it was called Killer - often unexpectedly came from left-field, just as viewers thought they had the murder solved.

There’s a chance to get inside the head of the show’s creator this Festival at Le Monde Hotel where I will have the pleasure of hosting There’s Been A Murder: An Audience with Glenn Chandler. It’s part of their My Life In... series, which also feature Doctor Who star Katy Manning and Scotland’s foremost mind-reader Drew McAdam.

In There’s Been A Murder, Glenn will chat about his life and career, which includes writing cases for the hugely popular 70s daytime series Crown Court.

Of course, Taggart will feature heavily too. From the origins - did you know Glenn took the name Taggart from a tombstone? - through his Top 10 favourite murders, to reflecting on the series’ demise a couple of years ago and subsequent talk of its return. It’s all fascinating stuff. We did a trial run of the show at the Leith Festival a couple of years ago and fans came from far and wide to ask their questions about the Maryhill cops.

I first met Glenn interviewing him for the News when he brought his play Boys of the Empire to the Fringe nearly ten years ago.

A couple of years later, having kept in touch, he asked me to direct his play Killers, which was based on the letters of the serial murderers Ian Brady, Peter Sutcliffe and Dennis Nilsen.

It opened amid some controversy at the Brighton Fringe in 2013 but received rave reviews. The performances, staged in the basement police cells of Brighton’s Town Hall were chilling. The words of the psychopaths were brought to life from Glenn’s study of missives sent from prison to ‘fans’ of the monsters. Dark stuff.

But then when it comes to crime, Glenn is indeed the Godfather of Tartan Noir.

A number of the new slew of Scandi-Noir crime writers have even paid tribute to his influence when crafting their own ratings-topping shows.

At Le Monde, from August 23-26, daily at 3pm, you can join Glenn and myself as we explore what drives him to create some of the most sinister edge-of-the-seat television Scotland has ever produced.

And. of course, we’ll discover if Glenn ever did write those immortal words: ‘There’s Been A Murder...’

Glenn Chandler: There’s Been A Murder, 23-26 August, 3pm, £10,