Taggart (1983–2010)
2 user

Black Orchid 

Tony Sabina is in town again, "The Great Sabina" to his fans. His hypnotic show relies on volunteers, among who is a young man called Stuart Fraser, and a girl called Frances Shaw. Frances ... See full summary »


Richard Holthouse


Glenn Chandler (creator), Glenn Chandler


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Episode credited cast:
Robert Robertson Robert Robertson ... Dr. Stephen Andrews
Iain Anders ... Supt. Jack McVitie
James MacPherson James MacPherson ... DS / DI / DCI Mike Jardine
Blythe Duff ... DC / Det. Sgt. Jackie Reid
Colin McCredie ... DC Stuart Fraser
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stevie Allen Stevie Allen ... Len (as Stevie Allan)
Andrée Bernard ... Terri Gordon
Matt Bradley Matt Bradley ... Darren Temple
Harriet Buchan Harriet Buchan ... Jean Taggart
Trevor Byfield Trevor Byfield ... Bob Rosen
Graham De Banzie Graham De Banzie ... Brian Welch
Joyce Falconer Joyce Falconer ... Frances Shaw
Frank Gallagher Frank Gallagher ... DI Malcolm
Julian Glover ... Supt. Drummond
Alex Harvey Alex Harvey ... Ken


Tony Sabina is in town again, "The Great Sabina" to his fans. His hypnotic show relies on volunteers, among who is a young man called Stuart Fraser, and a girl called Frances Shaw. Frances who is hypnotized to believe that she could swim the channel is found drowned after the show. The resulting publicity leaves Sabins career in tatters and he decides to get even with all those who contribute to his downfall. Jardine and Reid investigate a series of killings that may have been carried out "to order". Written by Anonymous

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

25 February 1995 (UK) See more »

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User Reviews

Vengeful hypnosis
18 October 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always adored detective dramas/mystery series. This has been apparent from an early age, half my life even, when getting into Agatha Christie through Joan Hickson's Miss Marple and David Suchet's Poirot and into 'Inspector Morse'.

Whether it's the more complex ones like 'Inspector Morse' (and its prequel series 'Endeavour') and anything Agatha Christie. Whether it's the grittier ones like 'A Touch of Frost' (though that is balanced brilliantly with comedy too). And whether it's the light-hearted ones like 'Murder She Wrote'. 'Taggart' is one of the biggest examples of the grittier ones, especially the Mark McManus years and the earlier James MaPherson episodes.

"Black Orchid" is a very good enough episode, if not quite one of my favourites.

If there were less talk and a clearer final solution it would already be better. The character of Stuart and his actor Colin McCredie were not particularly interesting or straight away settled at this very early stage of his appearances (his first episode in fact), a bit bland.

Enough that of what made 'Taggart' such a good show when it was in its prime is evident and a lot works here, just that it could have been better at the same time.

Really like the slick, gritty look and Glasgow is like an ominous character on its own. The music matches the show's tone and has a good amount of atmosphere while the theme song/tune is one that stays in the memory for a long time. The relationship between Jardine and Reid was always blossoming nicely and had blossomed by this point and then accentuated with Jackie further blossoming it, showing why it was one of the best things about this period of 'Taggart'.

As to be expected, "Black Orchid" is thoughtfully scripted mostly with nothing ridiculous happening and things being taken seriously without being too morose. The story is involving in its complexity and intricacy with nothing being what it seems, making the most of the long length (have generally found the 2000s episodes too short and rushed) without padding anything out. Some parts are not for the faint hearted, but nothing feels gratuitous and the investigations are compelling and with enough twists to stop it from being obvious. Parts are also moving in the mourning of Taggart, actor Mark McManus having died of pneumonia shortly after his last episode "Prayer for the Dead".

James MacPherson fills Mark McManus' big shoes with aplomb and Blythe Duff continues to get better and better with each episode. Julian Glover, Robert Robertson and Iain Anders all steal their scenes and Amanda Redman and especially James Laurenson are excellent in their roles.

Summing up, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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