Outlander named ahead of Trainspotting as Scotland's greatest screen adaptation

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe have become huge stars since Outlander launched two years ago.
Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe have become huge stars since Outlander launched two years ago.
Share this article
Have your say

Scotland gave the worlds of film and television iconic characters like Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Inspector Rebus, Miss Jean Brodie, Rob Roy, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

But those works have all been swept aside in a poll to find the nation’s favourite “page to screen” adaptation - along with Trainspotting, Sunset Song and Whisky Galore!

They were trounced by historical fantasy-romance series Outlander, even though it has yet to be shown on terrestrial television in the UK and had its premiere just two years ago.

The Sony-Starz show is based on the hugely successful series by American author Diana Gabaldon, who has published eight Outlander books since 1991. Despite only being available in the UK via streaming service Amazon Prime, it scooped up almost two thirds of the votes in an online poll run by the Scottish Book Trust in recent weeks.

More than 3300 votes flooded in from around the world for the show, which has turned actors Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe into stars, and won Golden Globes nominations. It was well ahead of its nearest rival, Danny Boyle’s 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s 1993 novel Trainspotting, despite the hype around the impending sequel to be released in January.

Third place went to another 1996 production, The Crow Road, which BBC Scotland adapted from Iain Banks’ novel, and featured Joe McFadden, Peter Capaldi, Dougray Scott and Bill Paterson.

The 1969 film adaptation of Dame Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, came fourth, ahead of Kick-Ass, the 2010 comedy based on Mark Millar’s comic book of the same name.

Gabaldon said: "I'm deeply honored at having Outlander even included in such company having been a huge fan of Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks and Dame Muriel for years and years.

"To have the books and show win such an award is fabulous, and a testament to the richness of Scotland and its people. Thank you so much!"

Book trust director Marc Lambert said: “The top five adaptations are undoubtedly a mix of very different genres and filming styles, reflecting the vast range of books and films set in Scotland.

“It is no surprise, however, to see Diana Gabaldon at the top of this list – her fan-base is huge, loyal and fantastically supportive of the Outlander series of books, which are meticulously researched and have done wonders for Scottish tourism.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of national tourism agency VisitScotland, said: “Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander has a legion of fans throughout the world and it is no wonder they have voted in their droves in this poll.

“The show’s use of stunning Scottish locations such as Doune Castle and Culross has been fantastic for tourism and continues to reinforce the importance of set-jetting to the visitor economy.”