SCOTLAND’S answer to Game of Thrones could be filming for another five years, according to the American TV mogul at the helm of time-travel fantasy series Outlander.
Ronald D Moore, who is renowned for his work on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, has revealed that actors working on the show have been asked to sign long-term contracts.
During an appearance at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the veteran “showrunner” said UK-based actors were amazed at being asked to commit to as many as six years on the one programme.
Moore, the executive producer of Outlander, also revealed Scotland would be standing in for Paris in the second series of the show, which is due to go into production in the spring.The historical fantasy series, a joint production between US cable channel Starz and entertainment giants Sony, is based on the best-selling novels by American author Diana Gabaldon, who has written eight so far, selling more than 25 million copies.
The first series of Outlander starting filming in Scotland last September, with a vast temporary studio being built in a former warehouse next to the M80 in Cumbernauld.
The show, the biggest film or TV inward investment in Scotland with a budget estimated at $60 million (£36m), has used a number of locations across Scotland, including Doune Castle in Perthshire, Falkland and Culross in Fife, and Loch Rannoch in the Highlands.
Moore lavished praise on the locations, saying the remote landscape had felt like shooting on “virgin land” and that the only difficulty had been the unpredictable Scottish weather.
But he said he was struggling to find enough crew to work on the show because of the amount of filming going on in the UK since new tax breaks were introduced.
He also said he was unaware of claims that UK broadcasters had been put off screening Outlander in the run-up to the independence referendum, adding he hoped there would be an announcement “soon” on a TV deal here.
Moore said: “I discovered when I was doing the show here that there was a culture thing here, from actors, directors and writers.
“For us (in America), the idea of doing a show for five years is like a dream. You’re just hoping for a show that can run for five years and you feel you’ve really scored. The actors are like, ‘Sign me up, sign me up!’
“Over here, I’m astonished that when you’re trying to sign up the cast with an option for the next six years, they look at you and say, ‘I’m not going to sign that’. It’s just a different kind of perspective.”
Outlander charts the adventures of a married Second World War nurse propelled back in time to the Jacobite Rebellion, where she falls into a relationship with a Highland warrior.
More than five million viewers watched the first episode, which had its world premiere in the US earier this month. A second season was confirmed less than a week later.