A MAJOR new fantasy-adventure television series is to be filmed in the Scottish Highlands later this year.
The work of American author Diana Gabaldon, who wrote sci-fi adventure stories set in 18th-century Scotland, has been snapped up 22 years after the first novel was published
The books have sold more than 20 million copies around the world but are less popular in Scotland. They focus on the adventures of Claire, a woman from 1945, and Jamie, a Highlander from the 18th century.
At a literary convention in New York, Gabaldon, whose novels blend romance, history and time travel, revealed that the show was going into production.
She is expected to become consultant and co-producer on the series, due to be broadcast in April, according to reports.
The series has the potential to become Scotland’s answer to the hugely successful American fantasy series Game of Thrones, filmed on location in Northern Ireland.
National arts agency Creative Scotland said there had been a huge surge in interest from overseas productions in recent months, thanks to a change in the tax incentive system for productions in the UK.
The Outlander TV series is being masterminded by Battlestar Galactica producer Ron Moore, who will be working with a string of writers from that series for his new project.
Filming is reportedly due to get underway in October after a deal was sealed between Gabaldon, Moore and the network Starz.
Moore, who worked on various Star Trek series said: “The idea would be to do a season a book, and she’s done seven or eight books at this point.
“It’s sort of a big adventure period piece with a romance at the heart of it.
“I’m very excited to land Outlander at Starz. I think they have the right creative outlook.
“They love the books and the pitch and I think this is going to be a great experience and deliver a great show for fans, old and new.”
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.
She 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.”