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It's not easy putting into words a day that had been eagerly awaited for so long.  As ever 'time' played out its' usual irony - taking ages to go when you're waiting for the day to arrive and then when it does it flies past!!

So below are our individual accounts of the day - we hope they give you all a good idea of life behind the scenes on Taggart.

JACKIE - Words Cannot Explain.........

Beep, Beep, Beep went the alarm clock – must’ve slept then.  Yes it was finally the day – after what had seemed an eternity of waiting I was finally going to meet John Michie!!  It was 05.30 and I had to fight with the hair straighteners yet!!

It was drizzling when we arrived at the Unit Base, but it certainly didn’t dampen my spirits any.  I had been on film/TV sets in the past so I felt quite at home.  I was sure I wouldn’t be able to eat anything, but found myself munching through a Danish pastry and slurping down a coffee!!  Wardrobe and make up checked me over and by some miracle I passed muster – beginners luck – had to be!!

The only member of the cast at Unit Base was Blythe who had been in make up and wardrobe since before we arrived – she made a fleeting dash from the wardrobe lorry to the caravan before being whisked away to location one.

There were other people at the base who were professional extras brought in for the morning’s shoot.  We all got into the mini bus, which scarily had Terry Wogan on the radio and left for the location, a café in Wellington Street.

Due to the nature of the location, only a few of us were allowed onto the set at any one time.  Robert and Valerie were asked to go first and filmed some scenes sitting just behind Blythe and the guest actress.  The rest of us stayed in the bus.  I found myself questioning the locals for any gossip they might have on the programme!!  When I was called in I was asked to sit at a table with Claire, an extra whose partner works as a location finder on the show.  We had to mime a conversation and make no noise at all – acting you see!!!  Actually I think Claire and I drew the short straw as we were also asked to sit outside of the café, on chairs that had to be wiped first and pretend it was a lovely sunny day…….well hey it was Glasgow I suppose!!

All morning I was watching the clock, I couldn’t help it – I knew I had to wait until lunchtime to see John.  By the time we had finished at the café, had a chat with Blythe and found our way to Unit Base 2 I was a woman on a mission!!  We walked from the Unit Base to the house that was being used as the location for the afternoon.  As I approached I could see John in the driveway…..now I wouldn’t say I created a new land speed record, but it must’ve been close!!  The Road Runner had nothing on me that day!!

I was wearing my rugby shirt by then, which has a picture of John on the front – having agonized over whether I should even take it with me let alone wear it; it ended up breaking the ice nicely.  John saw us and walked over.  His first words to me were “It’s me, it’s me” to which I replied, “it is, it is”

Now, I know that at the very least Blythe and Colin look at this website but I’m going to be honest anyway – John is the most gorgeous person I have ever met – much better looking in the flesh (yes it is possible!!) and with a personality to match; warm, friendly and funny.  Rather than shake like a leaf I actually felt like I had known him forever and was really comfortable.  We had our photo taken together and I gave him the mug, which was printed with fans comments about Robbie.  John told me he likes presents!!

I could go on forever about what we talked about and the things he said – but this isn’t meant to be the re working of ‘War and Peace’ so I won’t!!

Colin spent the whole day teasing John about this and that...he knew it was teasing me too...so I thought, when I get my hands on him he wont have a leg to stand on!!  Hey I managed one anyway!!

During lunch, Colin came and sat with us saying that John and Alex like to have a snooze…aaarrgghh…mind you it can’t even have been 40 winks because as soon as we’d finished eating Colin went and woke them up and we all went into the caravan.  John had no shoes on……………..funny what you notice isn’t it?

In conclusion, I would just like to say that Monday 6th September was the kind of day dreams are made of…….and of course my thanks go to SMG for allowing us to visit, but most of all I’d like to say a big thank you to Linda Fraser who put up with all my mad emails running up to the day and of course John Michie who was exactly who I thought he would be.

VALERIE - AMAZING!

AMAZING………………..it was absolutely amazing!! You see, for years I have dreamed of actually being on a Taggart film set and of meeting the Taggart Team and here I was, about to do just that! We had to get up at 05-30 am so as not to be late – not a good idea really, as I simply don’t do mornings, but for Taggart, it was peanuts. Taggart is my passion, my complete obsession!

On arrival at Unit Base One, we found we were early, but then, so was Bythe Duff. We saw her scurrying across from wardrobe and make-up to her caravan. Other people began to arrive too and breakfast was soon served – bacon, sausages, eggs – anything and everything you could possibly want. No hunger here. I chose just tomatoes, a bap, and coffee and then went to get checked out by wardrobe myself. All OK. Good.

Next, a minibus came to take us and the other extras to our location for the morning’s filming, a smart upmarket restaurant/café just off Sauchiehall Street. Excitement began to rise! Surprisingly, Robert and I were picked for the first shoot and had to mime a conversation over coffee. We were placed at a window table, right next to Blythe and guest actress, Fiona Danskin. What a great experience it was, especially when we were told that our takes were good…….. FANTASTIC! Then it was back to the minibus as the cameras were reset and Jackie’s turn came to be in front of them.

At the end of the session, when all the filming was done, Robert managed to get into conversation with Blythe and she was delightful. He told her that we’d brought along a cake, a card and some presents to celebrate Taggart’s 21st birthday, which it appeared no one else had remembered! Blythe was bowled over by this, made a speech in the middle of the café to thank us and posed for a group photograph. Back at Unit Base One, we gave Blythe her present and talked about the Website………….before she left for home. “It’s great,” she said. She really was enchanting.

Then Robert, Jackie and I drove ourselves over to Unit Base Two, situated in the West End of Glasgow, and walked across to the private house, which was to be the location for the rest of the day. There, in the driveway, stood a tall, dark, good-looking guy in a grey suit. It was, of course, John Michie. He strolled towards us, relaxed and friendly from the word go and, I can tell you now, if I were not a happily married woman, with a particularly special husband (Robert!!!) he would have completely blown my mind. He is GORGEOUS!! The cameras simply do not do him justice and he has a personality to match his looks. John is stunning, laid back and utterly charming. I remember his arm going round me gripping my shoulder and him talking about a poetry book I’d sent for his children some years before. How could he possibly have remembered, but he did!

Colin with a piece of birthday cake.

Some action filming between guest actress, Sarah Charlcroft, Alex Norton and John was about to begin inside the house. We watched Sarah on a monitor screen and then it was lunchtime.

Back at Unit Base Two everyone queued up at the catering van together, actors and crew alike. A spread had been laid on and there was so much variety of food to choose from it was unbelievable. We stood not far behind Alex, John and Colin McCredie and I noticed that John chose salmon and salad. I chose sweet and sour chicken and rice. Colin bounced up and introduced himself. Apparently Blythe had rung to tell him about the cake etc and he treated us like long lost friends. He was so easy to get on with, a really genuine guy.

Eating lunch was simple. The actors had their own caravan – everyone else, including us, ate in a big blue converted coach set with tables and benches. We entered, sat down and found ourselves actually rather hungry. Presently, in bounced Colin and sat next to us. He wanted to talk about the Website and was, like Blythe, delightful. He invited us to join John, Alex, and himself inside the caravan and so we took along the cake, card and presents (a small gift each from Emsworth). Alex was also very welcoming and friendly but seemed slightly shy and not at all like DCI Matt Burke!!! Gerard Kelly (appearing in his first Taggart since Killer – 21 years ago!) also joined us. Lots of photographs were taken then, both inside the caravan and out and everyone seemed to have their arms around everyone else.

Before long it was time to go up for the afternoon shoot and this time we watched Burke and Ross in action, with Sarah Charlcroft’s character. I saw John pull a face and change to Robbie in a twinkling. Rather nice, I thought. That scene done, both Alex and John were finished for the day and John came to say goodbye to us “Nice to meet you,” he said and was gone. “Nice to meet you,” I thought!!!!

Colin now had a scene to do, in the driveway of the house, and so we watched Stuart Fraser doing his stuff. After a while, this too was completed and suddenly it was teatime. Trestle tables became filled with plates of sandwiches, biscuits, our Birthday Cake and mugs of tea and coffee. We helped ourselves and then Colin left for home. However, five minutes later, he was back again, wearing jeans and a cap and walking his neighbour’s dog! He stood and talked to us for ages before heading off down the road, complete with poop scoop and bag!

Standing in the driveway, we watched another scene between Gerard Kelly and Sarah Charlcroft before realising that we’d been on set for almost twelve hours! Maybe it was time to go – and so, reluctantly, we did.

What a wow of a day it had been – AMAZING!!

Robert - A Man's Perspective

Dear All,

The following is a brief account of our day with the “Taggart Team”, from a man's perspective!

On the day of filming we had to get up at 0530 (yes it does exist) to be at "Unit One" by 0715. We arrived at 0645 - to be sure it wasn't a dream. Bythe Duff was already there getting ready for the morning's shoot.

We were met by a lovely young lady (Caroline - an Assistant Director). She was fabulous, taking us under her wing all day making sure that we knew what was going on and ensuring that we were fed and watered. We had breakfast on site and met two other "guests" and the film extras that were going to be used that morning.

A mini bus took us from the unit to the scene of the morning's action in Glasgow (a well known restaurant/cafe) about a mile away. There, we were told the plot for the filming that day (and to which we were sworn to secrecy!!!). After a while Caroline asked if Valerie and I would like be in the first scene as clientele of the establishment.

We were taken inside the restaurant and told to sit at a table in the window, the table adjacent to Blythe and the suspect she was interviewing (Fiona Danskin).

 

There were a couple of rehearsals and then the camera rolled. Valerie and I had to mime a conversation and drink coffee. After several takes (which we were told were good) the camera went outside for the external shots. Jackie appears in this scene. More rehearsals and then more takes. As I was not required for this situation, I went outside and took some photographs of the crew in action.

During a break in filming, I went over to Blythe (who was sitting alone in the corner of the restaurant) and introduced myself as being one of the Taggart Fan Club Web Site authors. I asked if it would be possible to take some photographs of her. She stood up and warmly shook my hand and said that she thought the web site was brilliant, full of interesting facts and figures. She also said that she has every script for the episodes she had appeared in and that Colin is also a good source of information. I remarked on the fact that it was the show's 21st birthday that day and we had bought a cake and presents for the "Taggart Team". She was astonished and said that she had not realised that the special anniversary was upon them.

At the end of the mornings filming, Blythe asked everyone into the restaurant and made a small speech about Jackie, Valerie and me with reference to the special day. Everyone clapped. It was quite exciting and moving.

Blythe then posed for a photograph with us all. It was a great morning.................... with more to come.

We returned to "Unit One" in the mini bus and on arrival Blythe invited us all into her caravan for a chat. We showed her the cake and gave her a present from Emsworth. She was over the moon and said it would match her new kitchen. She also said that she would not be able to taste the cake as the “greedy lot in the afternoon would devour it!” Blythe is a very warm and sincere person with a lovely personality she could be “my girl next door” anytime!!!!

In the afternoon we were asked to make our own way to a large private house in the West End of the City. When we arrived we espied (to quote Jackie) “a gentleman in a suit" on the drive. The hundred-yard dash by her was beyond belief????

John Michie was talking to the Director at the front of the house. Jackie showed great restraint by not running up to him and taking him out with a rugby tackle (or worse!!!).

Another Assistant Director (Sue) told John that we had arrived and he came towards us, strolling down the drive in true Robbie fashion. When he approached he noticed Jackie’s rugby shirt with his picture upon it. “It’s me” He exclaimed to which Jackie replied, “It is, it is” He knew our names and treated us all like long lost friends. He even remembered that Valerie had sent him a copy of her book of her poems for his children some four years previously and that we had met on The Great South Run in Portsmouth last year.

He was very friendly and interested in all of his fans. I must confess that he is a better looking in the flesh, so to speak. In fact he seemed not to take in that he is so popular, with a very strong fan base. Jackie gave him Hannah's letter, which he opened there and then and read avidly. Jackie also presented him with “The Special Mug" with the "interesting" one liners gleaned by Jackie from you, the fans. He was genuinely surprised and pleased to receive such a personal gift. 

We spent all the rest of the day on set and later met Colin, who was just like "Tigger"(in the nicest sense) from "Winnie the Pooh", and Alex, a very quiet and unassuming gentleman (quite the opposite of DCI Burke!!!). We also met Gerard Kelly who was in the first Taggart 21 years ago. Also on set was Sarah Charlcroft who, unfortunately, we never met.

After Colin had finished filming he went home to get Carla the one eyed dog, who he is looking after for a friend.

At lunch everyone queued up in line to get their food from the canteen van. The food was extremely good with a wide variety to choose from. The main actors ate in their own caravan whilst we ate with the crew. When Colin had finished, he came in and joined us and was very interested about the two Web Sites and us. He then took us along to the caravan to meet Alex and John (again). We gave Alex, Colin and John the 21st birthday cake and presents. They all were well pleased.

The whole film crew were fantastic and treated us like royalty, answering any questions that we had between takes.

It was an excellent and memorable day.

The following day (Tuesday) Jackie received a text message from Linda Fraser at SMG asking us if we would be interested in meeting the series editor (John) who was about to run through the previous day's filming. When we arrived at the SMG offices we had refreshments and were then taken into the bowels of the office complex to see how films are organised into a coherent piece of work. John showed us all the techniques used in editing and we were able to see us "on screen". We were there just under two hours. It was brilliant and we felt really honoured.

It is with thanks to John (for suggesting the trip), Blythe, Colin and Alex, the film crew (especially Caroline) and Linda from SMG that we had a tremendous time.

NOTE: The remainder of the time in Glasgow we visited as many of the Taggart locations as possible to take photographs which will appear on the “Location Page” as soon as Jackie is able to process them.

Robert