Welcome to Cumbernauld Media's features page, dedicated to the production of Outlander, in Cumbernauld. You can use this page to find out information about the show, including the background to the production, the show's plot, its filming locations, important dates, cast, crew, and the latest news.
Friday, July 19th, 2013 was the date when Scotland was unveiled as the filming location for a brand new US television production called ‘Outlander’.
The following day, The Glasgow Herald and Cumbernauld Media broke the news that the town which would be the main location for the TV show’s production is Cumbernauld.
Using a warehouse in Cumbernauld, producers Left Bank Pictures, Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company, and Sony Pictures Television, will make sixteen, one-hour long, episodes ahead of the show’s première, on US cable network, Starz, next year.
Shooting commences in September 2013, with the production expected to see 200 crew members lend a hand to bring the show together, accompanied by around 2,000 extras.
The show’s production is expected to bring £20million into the Scottish economy, with a number of famous faces behind the writing of the show.
An adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling series of seven books, ‘Outlander’ tells the story of characters Clair Beauchamp and James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, and is set in the Scottish highlands, between the 18th and 20th century periods Scotland.
The first novel in a series of seven by Diana Gabaldon, which have sold over 20 million copies, to date, Gabaldon herself describes the plot, in a website blog as:
“In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones—such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain. She walks through a cleft stone in the circle….and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank—and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall—though for other reasons.
“In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall—and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry.”
Adding: “The story rolls on from there…”
On June 25th, 2013, Outlander’s series writer and executive producer, Ronald D Moore – whose credentials include Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation – told his Twitter followers that it was the intention of the production team and writers to “be as true” to Gabaldon’s characters and plot.
He said: “I'm sure many of you are balancing your excitement with worry about how faithful we'll be to the books. Don't worry, we're fans...”
Moore added: “Let me tell you right from the start our first priority is to be as true to the characters and story that @Writer_DG has given us as we can.”
Later that same day, Moore posted that it was the vision to “realize” Outlander.
He tweeted: “Put simply, our goal is to realize #Outlander, not reinvent it. More updates to come as we roll into preproduction -- stay tuned.”
On July 9th, 2013, it was announced that Scottish actor, Sam Heughan would front the main male role for the Outlander series – Jamie Fraser.
Heughan, 33; an actor since 2001, hails from New Galloway.
Trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, he has appeared in TV productions such as Doctors and River City.
Heughan’s appointment to the role was the first cast announcement made by the show’s producers, with Outlander’s author, Diana Gabaldon saying of his success: “Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters.”
Then, on August 8th, 2013, Starz announced that Tobias Menzies would take on the dual roles of Frank Randall and Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall in the show.
Born in London, Menzies, 39, attended the liberal Frensham Heights School, near Farnham, in Surrey, before attending Stratford-upon-Avon College's "Year-out" drama course, between 1993 and 94, and later graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in 1998.
Known for his roles in TV productions Rome and Spooks, Menzies has been an active actor since the turn of the millennium.
In a summary of Menzies’s roles, Outlander’s production team declared, “Frank Randall is Claire’s 20th century husband and a professional historian with a deep interest in the 18th century and his own genealogy. Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall is Frank’s ancestor from the 18th century. A Captain in the English Army posted in Scotland during a time when rebellion was rife.”
On August 20th, 2013, the show’s producers then announced that John Dahl would be directing the first two episodes of the Outlander series.
Best known for shows such as Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Justified, Dahl joins an already famous production team, including writers Toni Graphia, Matt Roberts, Ira Behr and Anne Kenney.
Outlander begins filming in September, 2013, and will see a converted Cumbernauld warehouse used for around 38 weeks to produce sixteen episodes of the show, which will be broadcast by US cable network giant, Starz, next year.
“£20m US tv production will be made in Cumbernauld”
CUMBERNAULD; the backdrop to BBC Three drama ‘The Crash’ and Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl will now be home to a major US television production…
20th July, 2013.
“First Minister Salmond hails announcement of Outlander's Cumbernauld production”
The First Minister confirmed that the Starz-Sony Pictures Television time-travel drama Outlander, which is to be filmed in locations in Scotland from September, had been supported by…
July 25th, 2013.
“Appeal for Cumbernauld to be Scotland's first Media Town”
THE news that Cumbernauld will soon be home to a multi-million pound film production location, for the new US tv show, Outlander has led one community activist to call upon the…
25th July, 2013.
“Cumbernauld’s actors get set; casting opens for Outlander extras”
THE casting of extra roles in the US tv production of Outlander appears to be well underway. The Herald and Cumbernauld Media broke the news last Saturday…
July 26th, 2013.
"Tonight Cat, I’m going to be Scotland’s ‘tinseltown’; Cumbernauld prepares to set to scene for Outlander"
CUMBERNAULD will soon see the new U.S. tv series, Outlander, commence production...
August 28th, 2013.
On July 26th, 2013, we reported that the casting for the approximate 2,000 extras needed for the production of Outlander had opened.
The main casting agency named as being Glasgow’s GBM Casting.
On July 22nd, 2013, GBM Casting told their followers that, “GBM will be looking for extras for Outlander filming in Cumbernauld from September. We need long haired men and women, with natural hair no dyed hair (unless it’s one natural colour), no tattoos or piercings and of slim build. If interested please let us know asap!”
Then, on July 26th, 2013, the agency once again took to Facebook, to announce, “Extras wanted for Outlander, filming in Cumbernauld and Central Belt. As it is set in 1790’s and 1940’s Scotland, we are looking for long haired men and women with natural hair (unless it’s one natural colour), no tattoos or piercings and of slim build. 1940’s men hair shouldn’t be too short (short back & sides is the minimum) and naturally coloured, no tattoos. Age range 16-50.
“Any horse riding, cart driving, sword fighting and rifle shooting experience would be a helpful too!
“If you fit the criteria above please send an email with a recent photo, measurements and skills to email@example.com. with the reference "Outlander". GBM will not charge a joining fee for this production.”
Outlander is set to start filming in September and those wishing to enquire about the castings for the series show email GBM Casting, with a recent photo, measurements and skills to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line, "Outlander".
Other positions have been announced through the Mediamuppet website, here.