Trainspotting producer plans modern-day equivalent of Taggart

Andrew Macdonald has produced films including Sunshine on Leith and Shallow Grave
Andrew Macdonald has produced films including Sunshine on Leith and Shallow Grave
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One of Scotland’s most ­successful film producers has revealed he wants to ­create a modern-day equivalent of Taggart to sell around the world.

Andrew Macdonald, who produced Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Sunshine on Leith, 28 Days Later and The Last King of Scotland, plans to make his first drama series in Scotland – if he can find the right material.

He has told how he hopes to capitalise on a growing pool of emerging writers and the surge in popularity of continuous drama programmes.

Mr Macdonald, one of the leading figures in the industry for the past two decades, claimed TV drama has become much easier to make than feature films.

And he insists a new series set in modern-day Scotland could emulate the success of fantasy dramas such as Outlander and Game of Thrones.

Mr Macdonald said it was a “mystery” to him why the success of the National Theatre of Scotland, which launched in 2006, had not been replicated in film and television.

READ MORE: Scottish filmmaker warns nation ‘punching below its weight’

He said: “The best thing that has happened in Scotland in the last five years has been Outlander. Shows like Outlander and Game of Thrones come in and create lots of employment and they teach and inspire people.

“When I started out it was all about Bill Forsyth’s films. That’s what inspired me. I hope we inspired someone else. Films are so much harder to make now than they were then. Television is taking over now. You come home and you see 12-year-old kids watching Netflix now.

“What Game of Thrones has done in Belfast is extraordinary. That show could and should have been in Scotland.

“It’s a real mystery to me that we have this fantastic thing with the National Theatre of Scotland, which is all about writers and giving them expression. Why have we not had that as much in television and film?

“Why is there no Taggart any more? It’s a show I worked on as an assistant. Every actor in Scotland I know worked on it. It’s shows like that we need.

“I don’t spend a lot of time here, but I do want to and I’d love to make more stuff here. I’ve made six feature films here, probably as much as anybody.

“My company is doing television drama now. I’d love to make a show like Taggart, frankly. I’d like to make a show that is contemporary, is set in Scotland, and allows you to look at Scottish characters and society. I don’t want to do a soap, but I’d like to do a drama.

“I am a great believer that a Scottish story, as long as it has the right universal attributes, can work anywhere. I don’t want to see it in a box. I know Scotland the best. I understand it. I’m just drawn to it. I’m drawn to the stories here.”

Mr Macdonald warned two years ago that Scotland’s screen industry had fallen behind rivals such as Denmark and Northern Ireland, citing the scrapping of a dedicated screen agency and a lack of political support.