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Me anus has provided children for bit parts in the programme through families of friends of his on the south side ofGlasgow. When he found a set of dobermans for the latest series. the Unit manager accused him of running ‘a fucking casting agency.‘ The next series of Taggarr which started filming this week and will be broadcast this autumn will prove the most challenging for a while. Edinburgh graduate sidekick. played by Neil Duncan. and the butt ofmany of the series‘ best jokes. is leaving the show. Robert Love. producer. assures me that they won‘t be doing a trendy Dempsey and Makepeace. replacing him with a policewoman. but a new relationship has to be developed. "l‘he balance will be different.‘ admits McManus. ‘And I don‘t quite know how we are goingto overcome that. We‘ll just have to find out as we go along. . .'
lfthe show does run out ofsteam. it is unlikely to worry McManus too much. ‘My whole life is to do with my butterflies and my ﬂowers in the back garden.‘ he says. denying that he himself is a ‘tough man’. That of course brings us back to the
a family affair
butterflies and the bugging.
'I‘he butterflies are real enough. Since childhood. when he grew up with animals (his father kept canaries). he has had a liking for animals. Working on the docks in Sydney. while others feared to touch them. he would pick up the giant spiders a nd snakes that were imported with the timber from South America and Africa and sell them for a few extra dollars to the 7.00. ()nce settled down as an actor. he would have liked to breed canaries. as his
father had. but the itinerant lifestyle ruled that out. Instead he breeds and releases butterﬂies. ‘My wife loves them. except when they get out. “Get those fucking butterflies out of here".‘
The bugs— the listening devices — we are less sure of. I ask McManus whether. as a socialist. he is politically active. He laughs quietly and pauses: "l‘he phone‘s not reliable — over the Caterpillar 'l‘ruck business.‘ Quickly he adds. ‘l‘m not a Red Brigade member or anything like that. but in the present climate you only have to open your mouth and you are immediately tagged.‘
More generally he talks of his socialism: ‘You only have to look around this room. see all my possessions. . . let's face it. I am middle-class now. but at the same time I don't let go of my original optimism and the premises l was
brought up with.‘ Materiallv things may have got better. but as' L McManus rides television's squad car of success. he is less happy about the society around him.
‘I find in the South liast of lingland horrifying resurgence of Empire mentality and an actual total crueltv towards those who have not. (I must say I think Margaret 'l'hatcher‘s government has encouraged it). 'l'hose people have a fierce sort of identity about themselves: nobody else seems to matter. Everybody else seems to be a loafer or lazy. and that I find discouraging. lt it discouraging when I think my dad fought all his life to try and make a better socictv — and it‘s not better.‘ i The new lpur! 'I'uggurl serial. The Killing l’liflosup/iy, slurls on Wed 15
April (1! 9pm on 5(‘Ulll3‘ll 'I‘r'lei‘islmi.
l! H'Ill ln‘fiillrm't’tl by (1 repeal
.s‘lzmvlng of Murder In Season.
The List 3 — lb April 5