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Sam Heughan: Outlander has been “life-changing” for Scotland tourism

Sam Heughan: Outlander has been “life-changing” for Scotland tourism

Sam Heughan and fellow Outlander star Graham McTavish have been making the press rounds to promote their new book, Clanlands Almanac: Season Stories from Scotland. This book is a kind of spinoff of their travel show Men in Kilts, which gave fans a look at the beautiful country of Scotland and all of its traditions.

Heughan and McTavish stopped by Usher Hall in Edinburgh earlier this week to talk about Clanlands Almanac, and of course they also dished a bit about the upcoming sixth season of Outlander. Outlander has been filmed in Scotland for years now, exposing a ton of people who might not otherwise think about it to the country’s charms. It’s also helped with the nation’s tourism industry, not unlike how Game of Thrones made a tourist destination of Northern Ireland?

Sam Heughan on Outlander’s impact on Scottish tourism
Heughan got into the details during the sold-out event. “Outlander has spawned an interest in Scotland, it’s created a film studio that wasn’t there before. It’s been life-changing for the tourism industry and also for our careers,” he said. “Scotland is always at the heart of Outlander – I’ve always said it’s like another character in the show.”

Scotland absolutely is another character in the show! As someone who has personally visited Scotland seeking out Outlander filming sites, I can attest to that feeling. Being in Scotland and standing in the locations where the series filmed was such a thrill feel.

Despite the fact that Outlander’s current storyline is taking place in North America at the cusp of the American Revolutionary War, the upcoming season was actually filmed in Scotland. It’s been the show’s home base since it first began so there is nowhere else they would rather be!

Outlander season 6 will have extra-long episodes
The new season was delayed several times due to the pandemic, but Heughan promises that we can expect the season to be as amazing as ever. “It’s a shortened season of eight episodes, but the episodes are much longer–the first episode runs for around an hour and a half,” he said. “That extra time spent with the characters means they are really strong episodes and there are a whole load of new characters coming in.”

An hour and a half for the first episode?! We’ll take it!

McTavish, meanwhile, spoke about his love for Scottish history and his longstanding devotion to telling the world all about it. “I’ve always been very interested in Scottish history and, in particular, the clans,” he said. “I had this great plan in 1991 that I was going to make a series of films about clans and then sell them on DVD to clan members living abroad, but nobody was interested at the time.”

Well, that has certainly changed over the last 30 years, and now folks simply can’t get enough of Scotland and everything it has to offer. We can partially credit Outlander for that, or rather Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, since she started everything in the first place.

From fashion model to actor, and currently taking on her most important role yet, a new mother, actress Caitríona Balfe looks to be having her most significant big-screen breakout yet with her awards worthy performance in the emotional drama “Belfast,” opposite Jamie Dornan. On this episode of the “Variety Awards Circuit Podcast,” Balfe talks about getting the call to shoot Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical story for seven weeks during the pandemic. She also discusses her gratitude to be working during a time where there is no further delineation between film and television, and having the freedom and creativity to explore both of the realms.

Finally, get out your favorite translation app, because Balfe teases the upcoming season of “Outlander” in her native Gaelic language, discussing where her character Claire and Jamie (played by Sam Heughan) are headed in the upcoming season, scheduled for release in 2022.

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