Outlander author hopes BBC will screen the show - as long as it is not cut

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has been getting the lowdown on the forthcoming Jacobites exhibition st the National Museum of Scotland.
Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has been getting the lowdown on the forthcoming Jacobites exhibition st the National Museum of Scotland.
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It is the most lucrative television programme ever made in Scotland - yet has never appeared on the nation’s TV screens.

Now Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has expressed hope that the BBC will finally show the hit time-travel series - as long as nothing is cut out.

The American author said there was no good reason for BBC Scotland not to take the show - shot extensively around the country - in future, despite speculation of a black-out for political reasons.

The Highlands-set show, which focuses on a Second World War nurse sent hurtling back to the time of the Jacobite Risings, first aired in the United States nearly three years, but has only been available in the UK on the streaming service Amazon Prime.

Gabaldon, who has been overseeing preparations for a major new exhibition on the Jacobites at the National Museum of Scotland, has written eight books to date.

A third series of the TV adaptation has almost finished filming in South Africa.

Gabaldon said Outlander’s producers were right to insist cuts are not made to suit the schedules of broadcasters or due to the strong content of the show, which features graphic scenes of sex and violence.

She said: “I’d love if it were on regular television in the UK. There’s been a bit of speculation that it’s been something to do with Scottish politics and so forth. I know absolutely nothing about that. What I do know is what I’ve been told from various production people that they did have offers from various television outlets, but none of them were willing to take the show as it was filmed.

“They wanted to either cut some of the content or cut it for time. I wouldn’t want anything at all to be cut out. As it is, I see all the footage they shoot what is left after they do the cutting. They leave out tremendous amounts of really great stuff.

“They do a wonderful job with the editing so that what they have is really tight and coherent, and a good story in itself. Each episode has to have its own dramatic ark and they do a really good job with that.

“It would be great it was on the BBC Scotland. If they were interested I’m sure they’d be welcomed with open arms. I can’t think of any good reason why they couldn’t show it - as long as they have enough time to accommodate the show as it is made.”

Gabaldon was visiting Edinburgh to see a host of the star objects being conserved ahead of the “Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites show, which is due to open at the National Museum on 23 June.

More than 300 paintings, costumes, documents, weapons, books and many unique objects will be used to tell the story of a complex civil war and the Stuart dynasty with a claim to unite three kingdoms: Scotland, England and Ireland.

Gabaldon, who appeared in conversation with crime writer Lin Anderson at the attraction, told The Scotsman: “The museum is a wonderful place - I go every time I’m in Edinburgh.

“My first time was more than 20 years ago. I was impressed then but I get more impressed with each visit.

“I came here when I was in the middle of writing the second book. After the first one, which I’d done entirely from library research, I said to my husband: ‘I think I really need to see Scotland before I finish the next book.’

“We were only in Edinburgh briefly on that first visit as we arrived without knowing it was the middle of the festival. We weren’t able to get hotel rooms and had to stay in Dundee for a couple of nights.

“It’s going to be a great exhibition. It’s not purely about Bonnie Prince Charlie - he is the starting point that everybody knows about, but it is an exploration of what led to the war and all of the European influences on it, leading to France and Italy, and it explores the entire Stuart line from Queen Anne on.

"I’ve seen the layout of the exhibition. It is fascinating how it will lead you by stages into different rooms and spaces.

"It’s a very complex piece of history. It’s a fabulous piece of engineering to make it as understandable and accessible as it is.

“The museum wrote to me and asked me to come along to join in the festivities when the exhibition opens, but my first grandchild is due at the beginning of July.

"I’d like to be able to come back to Scotland in October when the show starts filming again.”