Tuesday 19 September 2023

Glenn Chandler

I've mentioned my enthusiasm for the writing of Glenn Chandler many times on this blog over the years. I first came across him as the creator and writer of Taggart, and I greatly admired the twisty plots of his stories. To this day, I struggle to think of any TV cop show that has gripped me as much as those early episodes of Taggart.

I've also been interested to read and watch some of his work in the true crime field. If you consider his scripts for Taggart carefully, you'll pick up quite a few true crime references and his researches are as careful as his analyses are cogent. One of his more obscure yet still interesting non-fiction titles is Burning Poison, a book with a Liverpool setting that I picked up while working in the city.

His latest book is Sidney Fox's Crime, another non-fiction study, examining the Margate Hotel murder. It's a very interesting case, and his take on it is well worth reading. I hope to discuss the book in more detail in the near future, but on a brief trip to London last week I had the great pleasure of meeting Glenn in person for the first time. He was giving a talk about the Fox case, which was just as interesting as I anticipated. I also had the chance of an enjoyable chat with Tony Medawar as well as meeting a number of pleasant people with a shared interest in true crime cases.

Glenn told me about imminent celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the first Taggart story, Killer. Sadly, the great Mark McManus, who was so good as the eponymous gruff detective, died many years ago, and although Taggart continued for many years thereafter, inevitably it wasn't quite the same. But it was great to meet Glenn and to have a chance to express my appreciation of his writing, which really has given me a great deal of pleasure for a long time. And I'm not alone in this, of course. As I've mentioned previously here, Kate Ellis shares my enthusiasm for early Taggart and again, one can see Glenn's indirect influence in Kate's taste for elaborate and entertaining mystery plots.



Liz Gilbey said...

Early Taggart was brilliant, a breath of fresh air, strong, candid and never avoided the harsh facts or real life, or of the sleaze behind much criminal life. It also pioneered fictional treatment of some very strong subjects with clarity and concision. Like many successful TV series, it went on for too long, with a steep decline in quality.
But the raunchy theme music should never be forgotten; it encapsulated the attitude the show that was coming would display. No cosy crime series to be seen here! Great to see Glenn Chandler still pushing the envelopes!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Liz. On the subject of that excellent theme music, my Dad was a big fan of Taggart also and I bought him the soundtrack.