‘Outlander’ Set For The Small Screen

Diana Gabaldon - OutlanderWith over 20 million copies sold, Diana Gabaldon’s hugely successful series of novels set in the Highlands has been greenlit for televison. Outlander centres around a love story between an 18th Century Mackenzie clansman and a 20th Century WWII nurse, and has received a 16-episode order from American cable network Starz.

The Outlander series spans the genres of romance, historical fiction and sci-fi, and follows Claire Randall who is transported back to Scotland circa 1743 after she touches part of a stone circle near Inverness. While there, she meets a Clan Mackenzie warrior named Jamie Fraser and is torn between him and her husband back in 1945. Their journey leads them throughout Scotland (including the 1745 Jacobite Rising), France, the West Indies and America. The series currently spans seven books, with an eighth due for release later this year.

The television series is due to begin filming in October in the Highlands, and is slated for broadcast in April 2014. Gabaldon is expected to be a consultant and co-producer, with the entire series masterminded by Battlestar Galactica developer Ron Moore. Gabaldon was inspired to create the central character of Jamie after catching a repeat of a Dr Who episode from the 1960s, in which Frazer Hines played a kilted character of the same name from the same era.

Gabaldon previously said: “That’s where I began, knowing nothing about Scotland or the 18th century, with no plot, no outline, no characters – nothing but the rather vague images conjured up by a man in a kilt.” Meticulous background checks and fact finding missions are incredibly important to Gabaldon’s writing process, saying she feels a large amount of responsibility to her readers and the people of the past to maintain historical accuracy.

Lord Jamie Sempill said Gabaldon’s work captures the highly appealing romantic element of the history of the clans. “I believe (the) series has been instrumental in raising awareness of the clan system which has been beneficial in complementing the hard work done by the clan commissioners to increase their membership in North America”. Lord Sempill invited Gabaldon to The Gathering in 2009, where she was invested as a Lady of the Garrison of the 78th Fraser Highlanders.

Gabaldon also recently visited the Mackenzie seat of Castle Leod, where along with clan chief John Mackenzie the Earl of Cromartie planted a Rowan tree in the grounds. Gabaldon is a guardian of Castle Leod, which is said to be the inspiration for the book’s location of Castle Leoch. The books have developed a loyal fan following, with various companies running ‘Jamie and Claire’ tours of Scotland. Starz also recently announced plans for a series centered around Phillipa Gregory’s War of the Roses trilogy entitled The White Queen.

Diana Gabaldon and the Chief of Clan Mackenzie planting a tree at Castle Leod

Diana Gabaldon and the Chief of Clan Mackenzie planting a tree at Castle Leod


About Nadine Lee

Originally from New Zealand, Nadine is a documentary researcher now based in the north east of Scotland.

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16 thoughts on “‘Outlander’ Set For The Small Screen

  1. Lee Ann & Wally Butt

    My husband and I visited Scotland in 2008 with the help from Scottish Clans and Castles tour guide, Alastair Cunningham. He mapped out our entire trip around The Outlander novel’s sites visited by Jaime & Claire. We even found a circle of stones!
    Thanks again!

  2. Vicki Freiberger

    What wonderful news! Just waiting for anything to happen with the Outlander series! I would go for an additional 10 – 16 series Starz!

  3. Adrienne Menzies-Soltau

    How wonderful it will be to have such an amazing story brought to life on screen. Just wondering how they will ever find a real man to fill our Jamie’s large shoes. Can’t wait.

  4. fairyrocks

    Looking forward to this series. Have read all those books with a ravenous hunger. Scotland has always been on my bucket list and the stones all throughout the ancient sites are a must see too. {where ever they may be on the modern maps}

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  6. Joyce Morgan

    Can’t wait for this adventure to come to the screen at last. My daughter and I were in Scotland In 2004 and when walking thru the battlefield of Colloden and the Clava Cairn, we felt the presence of the clans that perished and relived the story of Jamie and Claire who seem so real to us. What a wonderful series to read and feel in our hearts.

  7. JerryT

    Actually March 25, 2014 is now the release date for the eighth book in the series, Written In My Heart’s Own Blood. It’s available for pre-order at both amazon and b&n.

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