Everything you need to know about Outlander

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, right, and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, centre, and Grant O'Rourke as Rupert MacKenzie in Starz' show Outlander. Picture: AP

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, right, and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, centre, and Grant O'Rourke as Rupert MacKenzie in Starz' show Outlander. Picture: AP

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WE take a look at the ins and outs of Outlander, whose second season of the Scottish-filmed show is due next year

Isn’t Outlander a book?

Well, it’s a series of books, actually, written by Diana Gabaldon and adapted for a TV audience in 2014 by American satellite TV network Starz.

What’s it all about?

Caitriona Balfe leads as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who is transported back in time to 1740s Scotland after a visit to the Craigh na Dun standing stones in Inverness. Here she meets Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan, and becomes involved in the Jacobite Risings while trying to reconcile her life in two different worlds. Season two develops this narrative and showcases Claire and Jamie’s attempts to defuse the Jacobite Risings.

Is it really that Scottish?

With scenes shot throughout Scotland, the first season used a variety of backdrops all over the nation. 1940s Inverness is impersonated by the town of Falkland in Fife, with the community’s Bruce Fountain seen on screen during a scene involving the ghost of Jamie. The ruins of Aberdour Castle, also in the Kingdom, double for the French monastery of St Ann de Beaupre.

The fictional Castle Leoch, home of the MacKenzie clan seen in Outlander, is really Stirling’s Doune Castle. The 15th century fortress of Blackness Castle in the Lothians is portrayed as the Fort William base of Black Jack Randall, and Lithlingow Palace provides a prison entrance and corridors during the scenes of Jamie’s incarceration in season one.

Busy city scenes are also included, with Glasgow’s George Square the location for an impromptu marriage proposal. Perhaps the most well-recognised setting of the lot is Tulloch Ghru, near Aviemore, which can be seen in the TV show’s opening credits and during the scene where Claire rides with the Highlanders from Craigh na Dun to Castle Leoch.

Is it worth my time?

According to IMDB, none of the season one episodes scored less than 8.7 out of 10. Add to that Outlander’s receipt of the 2015 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show and the Critics’ Choice Award for Most Exciting New Series a year earlier, and it’s clear that this show is boosting Scotland’s reputation as a picturesque filming location on both sides of the Atlantic.

What else should I know?

New actors will be joining the cast for the second season, with Andrew Gower taking the role of Bonnie Prince Charlie. French actor Stanley Weber will be cast as Le Compte St Germain - tipped to be a villian in the French court system who Claire and Jamie will deal with. Jamie will also reveal a cousin called Jared, played by fellow Scot Robert Cavanah. Until the next season of the show is released in 2016 for Amazon Prime users, you can visit the show’s many Scottish filming locations using this map courtesy of VisitScotland.

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