There's been a murder: Taggart at 25

It is the world's longest-running police drama and synonymous with the grit and dark humour of Glasgow. It has featured nearly all of of Scotland's finest actors, and launched plenty of careers. Andrew Johnson rounds up 25 of the best
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The Independent Online

1) Ken Stott: Now he has been promoted to playing that other tough Scottish cop, Rebus, but in July 1985 he played Dr John McNaughton in "Murder in Season".

2) Alan Cumming: Currently a Hollywood name, the actor began his screen career playing a chemist in an episode called "Death Call" in September 1986. His character was framed for a series of murders by DS Kenny Forfar.

3) Annette Crosbie: You wouldn't believe that the actress best known for playing Mrs Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave took all her clothes off in "Funeral Rights" in September 1987. The actress went on to strip in the film Calender Girls. "People ask me if this was the first time I'd gone nude for the camera," she said. "I'd said yes, but then I remembered Taggart."

4) Diane Keen: Another big TV name who guested on Taggart. Keen pumped six gunshots into a man sitting at the wheel of a car during the opening of 1987's "Cold Blood".

5) Celia Imrie: A TV regular, Imrie played Helen Lomax, the head of a loan shark family in "Root of Evil" in 1988.

6) James Cosmo: In the recent Narnia film, but in 1988 he was a suspect for a spate of rat-poison murders in "Dead Giveaway". "I think if not every Scottish actor, certainly most have done their Taggart," he said. "It's like a huge club you belong to."

7) Douglas Henshall: Now known as Professor Nick Cutter in Primeval, his TV debut was playing an injured motorcyclist in 1990's "Love Knot".

8) Ewen Bremner: Spud in Trainspotting has since been seen in Black Hawk Down. He was a member of a climbing club under suspicion after a body was found in the Clyde in "Love Knot".

9) Robert Carlyle: The Trainspotting actor played a local politician suspected of murdering a rival in 1990's "Hostile Witness" episode.

10) Jill Gascoine: A big TV star in the 1980s, Gascoine played a restaurant owner who seduced a young chef in "Evil Eye" in September 1990.

11) John Hannah: Four years before Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hannah was the chef seduced by Gascoine. "I met my end in a meat grinder for pigswill," he said. "I think that's one of the things that made Taggart special – it was a gorefest for prime-time television."

12) Meera Syal: The writer and comedian who wrote the hit film Bhaji on the Beach was unknown when she played a social worker in January 1992's "Double Exposure".

13) Dougray Scott: Another whose Hollywood career – Mission Impossible II and Desperate Housewives – was launched by Taggart. The star played a creepy zoo keeper in "Nest of Vipers" in January 1992.

14) Claire Grogan: The Gregory's Girl star, who also sang with the group Altered Images in the 1980s, popped up as a young fiancée to a murdered businessman in "The Hit Man" in September 1992.

15) Hannah Gordon: A popular face on TV since the 1960s, in 1993 Gordon played Dr Janet Napier, on trial for the murder of her husband's mistress in "Fatal Inheritance".

16) Henry Ian Cusick: Plays Desmond Hume in the hit American series Lost. In 1993 he was Ian Gowrie in "Fatal Inheritance".

17) Daniela Nardini: The long-legged spiky lawyer in This Life played a beat cop in 1993's "Death Without Dishonour".

18) Amanda Redman: Already a well-known actress, Redman played cabaret singer Julie Carson in "Black Orchid" in February 1995, the first episode screened after the death of Mark McManus.

19) Barbara Dickson: A big musical star, Dickson played a member of a Scottish rock band in "Legends" in October 1995.

20) Billy Boyd: You know him as Pippin Took in Lord of the Rings, but Boyd made his first credited TV appearance in September 1996's "Dead Man's Chest". He also appeared as an extra while still at drama school. "I was asked to kiss a girl on a bridge," he recalled. "It was me and Jenny Green and one of the best kisses I've ever had."

21) Brian Capron: The former Grange Hill teacher "Hoppy" found fame as the murderous Richard Hillman in Coronation Street. Before that he was the boss of a hi-tech computer company in 1999's "A Fistful of Chips".

22) Fish: None other than the lead singer of Marillion played petty thief Dougie Todd in "Skin Deep" in October 2000. "I think every Scottish actor likes to do a Taggart at some point in their career," he said. "I was a big Taggart fan when it first came out. I was living in London and it was brilliant to be watching something with Scottish accents."

23) Lorraine McIntosh: Another pop singer – this time in Deacon Blue – appeared as Brenda Johnstone, a scheming homeless hostel manager in "Halfway House" in January 2003.

24) Ashley Jensen: Ricky Gervais's sidekick, Maggie, in Extras went to Hollywood and landed a plum role in Ugly Betty. In September 2005 the then jobbing actress played a journalist in "A Taste of Money".

25) David Bradley: He's Hogwarts' mean-minded caretaker Filch in the Harry Potter movies, but popped up in March 2006's episode "Law" as a traveller.

'25 Years of Taggart: Behind the Scenes of TV's Longest-Running Police Drama' by Thomas Quinn (Headline, £19.99)