STV strikes Taggart deal with ITV

SIX episodes of the TV crime drama series, Taggart, have been commissioned from STV by ITV.

Last year, there had been uncertainty whether ITV would commission further episodes of the long-running series, with STV then going out on a limb by saying it would proceed with new episodes irrespective of what ITV was intending to do.

Relations had become strained between the two broadcasters over STV increasingly opting out of broadcasting ITV network programmes, such as The Bill and Doc Martin. Both parties had begun legal proceedings against the other, which are believed to be still ongoing.

The commission comprises six, 60-minute programmes.

STV will premiere each of the new episodes this year, followed by a UK network broadcast on ITV1 next year, with UKTV’s crime channel, Alibi, airing them in three years’ time.

Says Laura Mackie, director of Drama Commissioning at ITV: “With the cost of drama under pressure, the highly competitive deal that STV have put together makes Taggart an attractive and highly cost-effective proposition. The creative team have some exciting ideas to take the new series further and we look forward to working on this with them.”

Adds Alan Clements, director of Content at STV: “Taggart is a fantastic brand and we’re very pleased to be working with ITV and UKTV on six new episodes of this hugely popular show. With three partners investing in the series [STV, ITV and UKTV], we’re confident of delivering a very high quality production for viewers. STV is totally committed to Taggart and to drama, and we’re thrilled to be showing the first run of all six programmes for viewers in Scotland. This commission is great news for fans of the show and for STV, and it will also deliver significant investment into the Scottish creative economy in 2010.”

The deals were negotiated on behalf of STV by commercial director, Paul Sheehan.

Two years ago, Taggart celebrated its 25th birthday.

The producer across all six episodes will be Marcus Wilson, whose previous credits include BBC sci-fi police drama, Paradox; ITV thriller, Whitechapel; and Debbie Horsfield’s drama serial, True Dare Kiss. Prior to this, Wilson worked on the BBC’s Cutting It and Channel 4’s No Angels. He was also co-producer on BBC’s Life on Mars.

The STV and ITV co-commission will bring the total number of Taggart episodes to 109.

Taggart has been sold to over 100 territories across the world, including Australia, Japan, Norway and Sweden.