The very first series of Taggart is currently showing on yesterday. No, that's not a typo, Yesterday is a satellite and (I think) freeview channel. I promise not to attempt any jokes about the channel's name.
So I watched Yesterday four days ago and Taggart is on at 8pm. Apparently something called the X Factor's on the same time, so it's definately a good alternative.
Taggart for me has always been at the grittier end of Crime shows. The seedier side of life that gets forgotten by other programs is there. Although I watch them, you can keep New Tricks, Silent Witness and the like. It's all crime by numbers. I can imagine a panel of writers, all called Jocasta and Raif, following a template or just plugging a few basics in a computer and it chucking out the whole plot.
Taggart, up until the most recent series, I always found different. The latest series seems to have joined the computer generated age. First, insert a crime. Add a couple of false leads, then an arguement between Ross and Burke, another false lead, then, in the last two minutes, it all becomes clear. Crime show by numbers.
Early Taggarts are different. Proper stories that aren't rushed. There's enough time to get to know the characters inside out. The plots emerge a different way. Of course there's a certain amount of suspense and witholding information. But it doesn't have the structured feel modern stuff does.
The other thing is, the man himself is there. Whether continuing the series after he died or not was a good idea, I don't know. I can see both sides to that arguement. I'm glad they did.
The other thing worth watching for is the cars. Rovers, Minis, Granadas all the classics. The dress styles and multitude of moustacheod Sergeants are something Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes never seemed to make realistic. The indoor sets are obvious and wobbly too, but that doesn't really detract.
If you haven't caught any, they're well worth taking a look at. Saturday at 8 on Yesterday. Alternatively, you could record it and watch Yesterday the following day.
Sorry. Couldn't resist it.