Inspired by Janet Reynolds’ article, and all the fun that is Valentine’s Day, the Outlander Cast podcast hosts, Mary, and Blake, bring you our version of the FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES of Outlander. In this episode, we discuss what “love languages” actually mean, what our languages are, the languages of Colum, Letitia, Frank, Dougal, Jenny, Ian, Suzette, Murtagh, and of course, Jamie and Claire. We also have a special guest on that you cannot miss, and we are starting a giveaway of FOUR Outlander season 2 Blurays!
We had A LOT of fun with this episode, and we laughed and joked throughout most of it. Especially when we posited why Alex Randall would have the most beautiful Instagram feed full of food and fancy lattes with artsy swirls in the foam if he were alive today. But, also why he is TOTALLY in the friend zone. We also discuss why Mary was in the friend zone growing up, why no one thought she was a good “high school” or” college” girlfriend, but that she would be the best “real life” girlfriend, and why we think the character that completely matches that same characteristic is Jenny Murray!
All the fun aside, there is some really great character analysis and we dive deep down to figure out who these people are, what they are motivated by, and what is most important to them through the lens of all things love.
Hit the jump to listen to the audio right in your browser, and learn more about how to enter the giveaway!
I’m not one for math, but here’s a biting number for you — 419. As in, the total number of days — at a minimum!!! — Outlander fans will have trudged through #Droughtlander before finally seeing a new episode of our favorite show. This week, Starz confirmed via EW pal Lynette Rice that season 3 will not premiere until sometime in September, thus setting into motion a collective “That’s too long! OH MY GOD WHYYYY” reaction across the Outlander-obsessed interwebs.
Starz, seemingly, has some logical reasons for the 14-month airtime hiatus. The channel needs to space out fresh programming (Black Sails, The Missing, The White Princess) in a manner that sustains it through 2017. It’s also moving Outlander to Sunday nights, prime competition time on TV that has long been dominated by HBO, so the channel needs to do it right. In addition, Voyager’s high production value boasts lengthy shoot times that must be factored in, although our OCB resident expert and screenwriter, Holly, offered a compelling argument for how they might accommodate for that by splitting the season into two, ala season 1.
Intellectually, we get it… sort of. But emotionally? Not so much. With nearly seven more months (*gasp*) of Droughtlander still ahead of us, one major question (beyond the obvious HOW WILL WE SURVIVE?) keeps rattling through my brain. What is Starz going to do to help already fatigued fans through this dismal time? If they’re listening (and I hope they are), I’ve got some thoughts.
To date, Starz has offered little-to-no satiation in the way of, well, anything. Virtually no season 3 trailers, teasers, production vignettes, official production stills, you name it. Instead, we’ve resorted to lapping up every casting update or production nugget (goat food, as fellow writer and pal Anne Gavin put it) tossed our way in a fashion somewhat akin to an excitable farm animal at morning feedtime. It ain’t pretty, but can you blame us? Right now, Starz is making us feel like one of the lovestruck gals in He’s Just Not That Into You.
For a show that’s reliant on an intensely passionate and loyal fandom — both online and off — and a network that launched an entire marketing campaign (remember #Obsessable?) paying homage to our lovably crazy behavior, you’d think they could throw us a bone. Sure, every now and again we get Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe’s playful banter via live social media chats and canned videos (like this most recent one), but they’re more like a mirage amidst the unending desert.
In contrast, when we’re in season, each week we’re encouraged to stick around once the episode ends so we can go into “the World of Outlander.” Ron D. Moore narrates us through the production magic that went into key moments we’ve just seen and makes us feel, well, special. But why are those moments reserved just for episodic vignettes?
Let’s just assume for a second that we’ll get a season 3 trailer sometime in this lifetime the near future. Even so, that doesn’t have to be our ONLY source of behind the scenes satiation. Trailers aside, Starz could — and should — run a well-integrated “World of Outlander” campaign in and out of season, creating original content leveraged in a multi-faceted approach that reaches thousands — if not, millions — of fans. And unlike what your conservative mama may have preached to you about sex, people WILL still buy the ice cream truck if you give away the treats for free.
Starz refusing to release anything while in production is especially annoying since it already did this before, way back in season 1 before it realized what a world-wide phenomenon the show would be. For example, remember when it offered us that adorable video of Annette Badland describing what it took to create Mrs. Fitz’s kitchen in Castle Leoch? It dropped on Outlander social channels during the mid-season break of season 1, generating smiles across the fandom during our first #Droughtlander. The video was short, simple, delicious and, most importantly, effective.
The BBC does it right. BBC’s Poldark — that show that fills our Outlander-devoid time — treats its devoted fandom to sneak peeks into the production process, regardless of whether they’re in or out of season. I am well aware that plenty of cult fandom shows (The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones come to mind) leave fans in the dark for months, but Outlander doesn’t have to follow this lead. Be better than those shows. #BeLikePoldark
In the PR world (where I spend most of my waking hours), campaigns are planned using the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model approach to channel engagement. In the case of Outlander, I’ll break down some examples: paid (advertising via billboards, digital, TV), earned (publicity using cast and crew), shared (content pushed through social using dedicated hashtags), owned (packaged videos and photos). Campaigns should utilize a combination of any of the four to be highly effective and measurable. Looking at those collectively makes you realize just how lax Starz has become in delivering credible and noticeable marketing and PR efforts these days.
We live in a highly digital, instant gratification-driven world where information is shared at lightning speed. On average, 6,000 tweets are sent EVERY SECOND. It’s no wonder that digital will finally overtake TV in ad spending this year. But when it comes to highly shareable content that can meaningfully influence behavior, as it turns out, sometimes the best things in life are free. To put it bluntly, we are a cheap date FREE PR.
Outlander fans across the globe band together EVERY SINGLE DAY to gab about Outlander through hundreds of online networks (like our Outlander Cast Clan Gathering). We hungrily eat up anything offered on dedicated blogs (like ours, that humbly boasts 2.2 MILLION readers), fan websites and social channels before — and pay attention, because this is the important part — WE WILLINGLY SHARE IT via our own networks and social channels because we love the show so damn much.
So yes, we are a demanding bunch… but what a problem to have! We are the best unpaid channel Starz could ever hope for when it comes to sustaining existing fans and creating new ones and, quite frankly, we’ve proven this through word of mouth and our immense engagement on social channels.
In short, we ARE the Outlander influencers, so I encourage Starz to harness it responsibly and respectfully. In the words of the beloved Mrs. Fitz, we need something that’s a bit… well, a bit more. Help us to help you, Starz.
Do you think that Starz could offer fans more during Droughtlander? And, how do you plan to survive 6+ more months until the premiere?
Droughtlander for 6+ More Months!? Starz, It's Time to Show More Love to Outlander Fans
Gary Chapman’s wildly popular book, The Five Love Languages, has been on the bestseller list since 2009. The basic gist of the book is this — we all give and receive love differently. The key to success in maintaining a relationship, he says, is to know how you and your partner like to give and receive love and then — wait for it — actually let each other know that and then do it. He’s been married 45 years, so I think we can all agree he’s on to something.
Anyway, we decided to apply the five love languages to our favorite Outlander couples. After all, this series is nothing if not an epic love story. Were couples like Ian and Jenny, and Jamie and Claire, love languages experts before their time?
First a few housekeeping details: I haven’t spent years studying this. I looked at the overall concept and took the quiz myself. (You can take it here; you know you want to. Just be sure to come back.) In other words, feel free to weigh in with your own ideas of who might be what. Conversation (always polite, of course) is welcome in the comments.
Also I’m limiting myself to seasons one and two of Outlander. I’ve read all the books (some twice, some three times) and know about a bunch of interesting couples coming down the pike, but I’m not a fan of limiting a blog post to only those who have read ahead. You can certainly weigh in below with other couples-to-come, however — just type spoiler alert before you begin to write. Consider yourself warned, people.
Chapman boils down the five love languages this way, all of which are pretty self-explanatory: • gift giving • quality time • words of affirmation • acts of service (devotion) • physical touch.
Each of us has a primary and secondary love language. In our most successful love relationships (which obviously range beyond our mere partner to include friends and all variations of family), we prefer to receive love a certain way. And if we aren’t shown love in a way that resonates with us — if, for instance, we only feel loved by words of affirmation but our partner thinks gift giving is the way to reach our hearts — then it’s almost as if we’re not actually loved. Or it can feel that way. It’s the proverbial two ships passing in the night.
Basically, the way to figure out the best way for your partner to receive love (which can obviously work to your benefit) is to see how he or she gives it. Listen to what they complain most about NOT getting from someone they care about and what they request most often. The idea is that people naturally give love the way they prefer to receive it. If you match those up, bingo. Happy match.
It’s trickier than that IRL, of course. Not all of us know how to/feel comfortable asking for what we want. (BTW family, if you’re reading this, I’m all about words of affirmation, with physical touch and quality time tying for second place. This actually surprised me because I thought tests acts of devotion would rank higher.)
So let’s look at some Outlander couples. We’ll start with some of the secondary couples.
Colum and Letitia Colum is clearly an acts of service kind of guy, followed probably by words of affirmation. We see that in everything from the annual fealty oaths the clan members must give to his anger when he feels as if people who matter to him haven’t done the right thing. Remember his rage when he discovered Dougal was collecting money for the Jacobite Rebellion behind his back? Or Colum’s anger when he discovered Jamie had married a Sassenach, undermining his plan (at least initially) to have Jamie take over the clan until Hamish was of age?
Letitia is a bit more of an unknown. She and Colum seem to have a good working relationship. She certainly gets the need to show him acts of devotion. I mean she has sex with his brother so that Colum will have the heir he needs for clan stability. But what makes her tick emotionally? I’m going with acts of devotion as her primary, with maybe words of affirmation as her secondary.
Suzette and Murtagh
Murtagh is clearly an acts of devotion man. The list of how he shows love — from killing a boar with a knife for the woman he loved to his many acts for Jamie — is long and impressive. He’s also a man of few (but often so on-target) words, so he’s definitely not a words of affirmation person. Instead Murtagh’s secondary love language is quality time. His entire life is devoted to helping and being with Jamie. With Suzette, he seems to value being with her whenever he can. In that conversation with Claire after she discovers the two of them in bed, he leaves to go spend time with Suzette.
Suzette is, like Letitia, a bit of a mystery. She is a servant who literally makes a living through acts of service. But that’s not love. Instead, I think physical touch is her primary love language — and not just because she and Murtagh start their relationship by tumbling into bed. She fusses with him when he’s dressing for the robbery, and pecks him on the cheek and affectionately touches him whenever they meet up. Touching matters to her.
Alex and Mary
Alex is clearly all about acts of devotion. He watches over Mary after she has been raped, and, in what has to be that act of devotion to beat all acts of devotion, he ensures that she and their unborn child will be protected by his brother’s fortune and place in society after he is dead by arranging Mary’s marriage to Jack Randall.
For Mary, words of affirmation seems to be her primary love language. Their relationship begins with talking and is built on talking and writing to each other. “He supports me,” she tells Claire defiantly when they accidentally meet up in the apothecary’s shop. Their love is seeded by words, by Mary feeling that she has finally — literally — found someone she can talk to. Her secondary love language is acts of devotion, which is one reason she and Alex likely work so well together in their short relationship. She works at L’Hopital des Anges, and bamboozles her family so she can secretly take care of Alex. To pay for medicine, she pawns her jewelry.
Ian and Jenny Murray Like the other Outlander men, Ian’s primary love language is acts of devotion. He and Jamie got whipped together as young boys and fought side by side in France. No wonder he responds so deeply to Jenny’s refusal to let him die when his leg is amputated. She is speaking his love language loud and clear. That’s because Jenny, too, shows love through her actions. She puts her body on the line when her brother is whipped by Black Jack Randall. She gets on a horse hours after giving birth (!) and throws herself in front of a British soldier’s horse and brands said soldier during her mission to save Jamie when he’s on his way to Wentworth Prison. Both Jenny and Ian manage Lallybroch on their own during extremely trying times, with no idea of where Jamie is or when/if he will ever return. And yet when the Laird does return, they step back, ready to assume their secondary place in castle life.
Jamie and Claire Fraser
Like Ian and Jenny, Jamie and Claire speak the same love language — in spades. And it is because of this that they unite so strongly and give each other — for the most part — what they need. In that sense, they are the perfect match. While the marriage might have been arranged and a question of convenience initially, that Jamie and Claire speak as one is clear almost from their wedding night.
Both of them show love through acts of devotion, with physical touch as their secondary. Claire literally lives her love language as a healer, constantly reaching out to help others. Her acts of devotion toward Jamie start before she even realizes it, as she helps reset his dislocated collarbone. He holds her on that horse, covering her in his plaid and offering her a dram of whisky.
Their love literally allows them to save each other repeatedly. In “The Reckoning,” Jamie takes on BJR with nothing more than an unloaded pistol and his bare hands. In “The Devil’s Mark,” he takes on an entire mob. Claire braves Wentworth Prison to save Jamie and later in the abbey literally goes with him into the depths of his tortured soul to pull him back to life and love after he is raped and tortured by BJR. In season 2, Claire has sex with the king and along the way ends up murdering the Comte to redeem their relationship, while Jamie offers — for the second time — the ultimate of devotion: He sends Claire — this time successfully — back to safety through the stones.
In some ways, physical touch is simply a variation on an act of devotion, an extension if you will, as you give yourself to another and provide loving touches that you believe your partner will enjoy. It’s not surprising, then, that Jamie and Claire unite here, too. Just how closely the two are aligned is clear almost from their first kiss. “Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” Jamie asks early in their relationship? The answer, then and in the books, is notably no. In season 2, it’s worth noting that Jamie and Claire spend much of the season at odds until they return home to Scotland. Season 2 also featured virtually no sex and little intimacy between them. Just further proof of how things can go awry when a couple is not being true to their love needs.
Compiling this list of Outlander couples and the five love languages, it was interesting to see how strongly acts of service/devotion were, in general and to the most satisfied couples, particularly. Is this selfless behavior the “best” love language for showing love? Or was it simply more common in a time when people’s — especially men’s — behavior and mores were so clearly based on what people did? You supported the Jacobites or you didn’t. You supported your laird or you didn’t. Are certain love languages more prevalent in certain times?
I don’t have the answer, but I do know this. The course of true love may not run smooth, but if you speak the same language, you can figure out how to get back on track.
Are you a Five Love Languages fan? What do you think of the traits we assigned our couples? Do you have theories about the love languages of some other Outlander couples coming our way?
James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser: King of Men, ovary exploder, giver of smoldering looks, and the one responsible for the shortness of breath among so many Outlander fans. I get it. Book Jamie is hot. Screen Jamie is hot. The man is like a greatest hits reel of women’s dreams around the world. But what about Claire?
If I’m being honest here (and I am, because I’m among friends), I have as much of a crush on Claire as I do on Jamie. She is equal parts damsel in distress, action hero, lover, mother, and healer/surgeon (depending on which century she’s living in). As much as Jamie is the embodiment of the perfect man, Claire, for me, is the embodiment of every woman trying to balance life, love, career, family and doing so with a wicked tongue. Like all of us modern ladies, she doesn’t always get it right and she occasionally mucks it up terribly. And like us, she wakes up every day and tries once again. What follows are my favorite examples of Claire being the ultimate badass. Let’s see if you agree. Setting Jamie’s Shoulder and Bossing Around the Boys Minutes after going through the stones and arriving in 1743, Claire is nearly raped by Black Jack Randall and then “rescued” by Murtagh, who knocks her over the head to silence her. It wasn’t the best of days. Murtagh takes her to a cottage where she finds the men of Clan MacKenzie gathered around Jamie, who is in pain with a nastily dislocated shoulder. Even though she’s still trying to convince herself that she hasn’t fallen through time, Claire puts her personal crisis aside and tends to Jamie’s shoulder. Her training and experience as a combat nurse take over and she immediately begins shouting orders to the MacKenzie clansmen. If Claire had not intervened, it’s likely that Angus would have broken Jamie’s arm with whatever barbaric technique he was about to employ. No matter what was going on in her own life, Claire couldn’t let this stranger be maimed for the rest of his. Later on the road, when Claire tends to Jamie’s gunshot wound, she rips her own barely-there dress when she realizes that there are no bandages.
I love these moments because they exemplify what we ladies do every day. We’re stressed, we’re juggling ten different personal and professional crises at the same time and then, in a moment of clarity, we know exactly what we need to do next and we handle it. We don’t wait for permission; we don’t wait for a more opportune time. We do it right then because it’s what matters most at that moment. We take care of business and then get on with our day. Fortunately for us, that typically does not include trying to locate the husband we left in the future.
Choosing Not to Go Through the Stones Once Jamie found out the truth about Claire and where she came from, he decided to take her back to the stones so that she could return to the relative safety of her own time. Standing in front of the stone, alone, Claire only had to reach out and touch it and she would have been transported back to her own time — back to Frank, the husband who loved her and who was searching desperately for her. Yet, she didn’t.
Claire traded her life of relative ease with a husband who loved her for a life of certain hardship with the husband who loved her but also brought her to life in ways that she did not previously know were possible. Claire chose to live with the man who ignited her passions.
How many times have we been afraid to make the leap, to let go of a mediocre thing for a great thing? Claire’s story is a reminder that it’s not only okay to choose something better, but sometimes we have more fulfilling lives because we take the chance.
The Wedding I’m not going to recap the wedding night scene.You know exactly what happens because you’ve watched it more than oncefive (okay, fine) ten times. I have, too. Maybe I’m watching it as I type this. Who knows? I am. I am actually watching it as I type.
I’m a fan of all the sex scenes in Outlander for all the reasons that blogging colleague Janet Reynoldshas already covered. We are of the same mind on this topic. The wedding scene is something special though, and here’s why. Jamie and Claire spend the night talking, drinking, and building sexual tension. As Janet says, we watch them fall in love. This is familiar territory to Claire, but it’s all new to Jamie and, in typical rookie fashion, he fumbles his way through it the first time. And, like a boss, Claire lets him. She lets him do what he needs to do to make the marriage legal, to stop the nosing about of the clansmen, and to release 23 years of sexual frustration. And then, she gives him the gift of an older, more experienced woman. Claire is in complete control. She asks Jamie to undress, she takes her time admiring his body (she’s not the only one), she demonstrates that the act is something that they can both enjoy, and then she does the thing that makes him feel like his heart is going to explode.
Here’s to Claire for reminding us that sometimes we need to refocus some of our control issues into the bedroom. Our guys will thank us for it and maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll fall asleep with that adorable smile on their faces.
The Slap Heard Around the Highlands When Claire finds herself married to the most eligible bachelor in Castle Leoch (sorry Angus!), she wasn’t quite prepared for the backlash from the woman who desperately wanted Jamie’s love and attention. On her mission to prove that hell, indeed, hath no fury like a woman scorned, Laoghaire goes to the local witch and orders up an ill-wish that would bring death and/or pestilence to Claire.
Upon finding the ill-wish, Claire confronts Laoghaire and, much to her credit, tries to reason with her. Laoghaire isn’t having it though, and reasserts her claim on Jamie. Claire reaches a point where she can no longer deal with the nonsense and she does what we have all been waiting for (you know you were) – she slaps Laoghaire across the face leaving the little vixen speechless. When I saw this the first time, I literally laughed out loud, which is not something I do very often when I’m watching television by myself. I still laugh every time I watch the scene.
How many times have you just wanted to smack some sense into someone? We don’t do it because battery and assault are real things and punishable by law but, seriously, how satisfying was it to see Laoghaire get what she deserved?
Getting Jamie Out of Prison by Sleeping with the King After his duel with Black Jack Randall, Jamie is taken to the Bastille. Claire is taken to the hospital where she delivers Faith, stillborn. After recuperating from the delivery, Claire returns to cousin Jared’s house where she awaits Jamie’s return, simmering in that self-righteous stew that we all plunge ourselves into from time to time. The man had one simple job – don’t kill Black Jack Randall for one year (and within that the assumption that he would not render him unable to father a child) and he couldn’t even restrain himself for a few weeks! Then one night Fergus has a nightmare and, in comforting him, Claire learns the awful truth about the moments preceding the duel. The knowledge that Jamie was acting in defense of Wee Fergus breaks Claire’s heart anew and she knows that she must actively petition for his release.
As ever, Claire devises a plan and this one ain’t pretty. Mother Hildegard tells Claire that the king sometimes grants petitions such as Claire’s, but that he might expect to lie with her in return. Gathering up her wits and her voluminous skirts, Claire makes a call on King Louis. After drinking chocolate and light conversation, Claire indicates that she would be most grateful (wink) if the king would arrange for Jamie’s release. The king agrees to the request if Claire will grant him a favor. Not in a position to make counter-offers, Claire agrees. The favor turns out to involve a trial of sorts, which leads to the death of the Comte St. Germain. Trial over, the king ushers Claire back to his chamber where Claire “pays” for Jamie’s release in a sexual encounter that closely resembles a business transaction. The king releases Claire and assures her that he will free Jamie from the Bastille.
Yes, Claire had to do a couple of pretty unseemly things here, but she went to the king knowing what would happen. Ok, she didn’t realize that she would have to kill the Comte; that was just a terrible bonus. The bottom line is that Claire, being her badass self, sacrifices her body in order to save Jamie. I really don’t want to think about modern-day equivalents on this scenario so I’ll just let this one lie, as it were.
Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? The Bonnie Prince sends the Lallybroch men to Inverness to secure winter quarters for the army. On their way, they come under attack by the British and Rupert takes a musket ball to the eye. The Highlanders take refuge in a church so that Claire can remove the ball and save Rupert’s life. The British troops find them and threaten to burn down the church if the group doesn’t surrender. Jamie, being Jamie, wants to give himself up to save the group, but Dougal reminds him that if he goes with the British they will certainly kill him.
Taking matters into her own hands, Claire calls out to the British soldiers and says that she is being held captive. She offers to give herself up to save the men. Jamie protests but Murtagh agrees that it is the only way. The British troops won’t harm Claire and they can eventually find and free her. Jamie says that he will not let Claire give herself up to the British. Clearly fed up with the “stubborn Scot” Claire causes all the men’s jaws to drop open when she exclaims, “Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these men not my responsibility too?” Jamie, looking defeated, agrees that it is the only way and begins to prepare for Claire’s departure. As Claire leaves Jamie’s arms she says to him, “We will find each other. Trust in that.”
I love this scene because while the British troops think they are saving the damsel in distress, the distressed damsel has actually outsmarted them and saved the lives of her clansmen. But that’s not all. Claire’s declaration is an acknowledgement of her title and position and her willingness to share its weighty mantle with Jamie. In this moment, she demands equality and the men are helpless to do anything other than grant it. But wait, there’s more! Claire’s reassurance to Jamie as she leaves the cottage shows us a Claire who is, in that moment, far stronger than Jamie. She becomes the warrior offering up reassurance before departing for the battlefield.
If I had to pick one single scene from both seasons as a favorite this would be the one because so much changes with those eight little words.
What’s your favorite Claire badass moment? Do you have a crush on Claire, too?
Outlander's Claire Fraser: Queen of Women and the Ultimate Badass
I have been to the small Ayrshire village of Dunure many times in the past 20 years – always with my husband, Sandy, and my two boys in tow. It was a great place for paddling, fishing in rock pools and generally running the boys’ energy off before a picnic followed by pokey hats, also known as ice cream cones to you non-Scots! This week, though, I saw it in a totally different light as it was turned into an 18th century fishing village with all the colour and effects that would make you believe it was me who had gone back in time. Join me as I recount my day watching some of the final season 3 Outlander scenes to be shot in my beloved Scotland…
Getting to Dunure was no mean feat. When we had gone down for a wee look the week before, we had travelled there in no time. Should have known better, as there was a queue on the motorway which took forever to get through or, at least, it felt like it. Then there was the police car who decided to pull up along beside us for a quite a few miles so there could be no breaking the speed limit. Aaaargh – this was not going as planned!
I left Sandy to park the car and hot footed it down the hill just in time to hear Catriona Balfe saying, “I really need to get onto set now” and watched her head off to the harbor. Two minutes earlier and I could have been one of the very pleased Outlander fans who had managed to get autographs and photos! Ah well, more chances to come I hoped.
Sandy had driven me down and although he loves Outlander, he doesn’t like watching filming – what is wrong with the man? So, he headed off – sandwiches in hand and walking poles at the ready – for a walk along the Ayrshire Coastal Path, which passes through Dunure. As it turns out, he kept reappearing when I thought he had gone, so maybe there isn’t quite as much truth as I thought to his claim that he doesn’t like the filming!
The weather forecast called for rain, so it was a relief that the weather forecasters had gotten it wrong. Nothing new there, then, as this is Scotland after all – four seasons in one day is the norm! It was a brilliantly sunny but frigidly cold day.
Sam Heughan was already on set waiting for Caitriona and then it was on to rehearsals and takes, which were not so easy given there were quite a few crying babies amongst the throngs gathered to watch. Plus, there was the minor problem of having to stop traffic occasionally going past in order to achieve the silence needed for filming. Twentieth century cars and an 18th century setting don’t go together! I thought this would be our only action before the lunch break until it seemed poor Caitriona needed a toilet break at the hotel we were standing beside. With the potential promise of another close encounter with our star, we were all waiting on her return from the hotel toilet – not that we were timing her, of course!
Courtesy Deborah Firth
Lunchtime finally came and it was then I wished I had my dog or a baby for Sam and Cait to speak to as the others babies and dogs gathered seemed to be a real draw for both of them. We were told they would be at least a half hour at lunch so we all waited patiently in the now arctic temperatures in the hope of a photo or an autograph. We did get some photos but were promised more when the filming wrapped and told that Cait and Sam would sign autographs and pose for pictures. Enough said. It was Baltic out but none of us were moving! We all had one thing in common apart from wanting to see Sam and Cait and that was bright RED noses!
Video courtesy of Catriona Stevenson of Slainte Scotland
We had been told by some of the security men that filming was due to go on until 5:30 p.m. Would we still be alive then, or will we have frozen to death? Luckily for all of us, we heard a huge roar and clapping and we knew it was done. They had finished early! Now to see Sam and Cait again.
They both came walking along with all the extras and crew and proved they have no airs and graces, but are just part of the cast. We all surged forward and managed to be one of the first to get a photo with Sam. But, noooooooooooo – my iPad froze and wouldn’t take a photo! Sam was lovely and tried to get it working, but no such luck and I had to let him move on to others. Just after he walked on, of course, the camera started to work.
Cait looked stunning and it was clear to see why she had been a model for so many years. She wore hardly any makeup and still looked amazing. She first went to the many children who were there as the local school had just let out. Cait took lots of photos with the school kids and while she was signing autographs, I heard her say “He signs it so big that he never leaves me any space” (referring to Sam) and, “Look at that – he’s written all over my face!” All in good fun, of course!
Right after my iPad camera started to work again…
I had my photo taken with Cait and, finally, with Sam as they were both extremely generous with their time. But, then their drivers came up and said it was time they were going. They left many extremely cold but happy fans behind and I am so glad I was able to spend the day in Dunure. I met many lovely, like-minded people and enjoyed a day of talking about nothing but Outlander! As Sam stepped away to get into his car, he shouted out to all the fans a hearty, “Goodbye, Scotland !” And as he did, the sun began to set across the Firth. A fitting end to some of season 3’s last Scotland scenes before cast and crew head to South Africa to film.
On a side note – it’s my birthday soon and, therefore, I’m wondering how my hubby would feel about buying me a wee ticket to South Africa. A fan can dream…
The Outlander Cast Blog would like to thank our intrepid correspondent and New Glasgow Girl, Morag Wright (pictured below right), for her reporting and ability to withstand the cold — a true Outlander fan! Thanks also to Deborah Firth and Catriona Stevenson ofSlainte Scotlandfor their photo and video contributions. Also, special thanks to Chris Saint-Martin for allowing Outlander Cast Blog exclusive use of photos taken on set this week.If you’d like to use the photos, we kindly ask that you give credit to Chris and the Outlander Cast Blog.
Outlander Cast Host (and my darling wife) Mary had the awesome opportunity to attend the Thru The Stones conference in Iowa this past December. If you were not able to attend, fear not! We at Outlander Cast are excited to share with you Terry Dresbach’s keynote speech from that event. In this episode, you’ll hear for yourself how funny and off-the-cuff Terry can be, learn some minor costume spoilers from season 3, get a feel for her many dinners with her husband (Outlander showruner Ron Moore) and the cast, and much more!
Hit the jump to listen to the audio right in your browser!
Episode 76 of Outlander Cast is brought to you by Hello Fresh. Please visit hellofresh.com and use the promo code OUTLANDERCAST to save $35 off your first week of deliveries.
You might recall that I had the great opportunity to travel back in time to the 1940s, all thanks to the magic of Outlander season 3 filming. If you missed my first post detailing my day on the set in Glasgow last September, you can catch up here before continuing on my Outlandish adventure with me.
All caught up? Wonderful! Now where were we? After that great day in Glasgow, we finished up just a little cold, damp and tired, but hungry for more. Naomi flew back to England that night and Ren, Dora and Morag went back to their daily lives in Glasgow and Edinburgh. But Sabrina and I were still on vacation, and up for as many Outlander adventures as we could cram in to those next couple of weeks. It excitedly felt a bit like Thelma & Louise, except minus all the violence and the unhappy ending. We knew our calling was to hit the road for an Outlander road trip, and so we did just that. So while you won’t be traveling back in time to the 1940s, travel back in time to last September with me as we wind our way through the World of Outlander…
We already had some commitments in place and accommodations arranged, but we decided to meet up again on many occasions over that next two weeks, keeping in touch by Twitter and using all the social media platforms and clues we could muster. Sabrina seemed to be a natural-born detective, with extra special Outlander radar, so my luck was soaring to have found the best road trip buddy for this adventure. In my mind, was I already thinking of her as Thelma? I was most certainly the older one (!) and I could see Sabrina was an adventurous, independent young woman who followed her passions.
We’d heard that the next day’s shoot was going to be at a college building in the Glasgow area that as no longer in use, so we agreed to meet there in the morning. After driving around in circles and asking for help at a petrol station, I found the place. Too bad, though – we could immediately see that this was an indoor location. The security guys and gals remembered us from the day before and gave us some tragic looks (virtual pats on the head) and assured us that we would see nothing there today.
Not one to admit defeat so early into our trip, we quickly devised a plan B. Sabrina abandoned her car, which she had driven all the way from Germany, and we hopped into my zippy little rental car. Side note – Sabrina was bravely driving not only on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, but her driver’s seat was on the ‘wrong’ side of the car too – intrepid gal! We figured we could do all these sites in one day – Doune Castle (our Castle Leoch), in the Stirling District; the Outlander Studios, at Cumbernauld, near Glasgow; and Drummond Castle Gardens (the gardens of Versailles), in Perthsire, near Crieff.
We had the most beautiful day to explore Doune Castle and its grounds
Doune Castle was immediately recognizable as the 18th century Castle Leoch. They used CGI to create the ruined Leoch when Frank and Claire first went there in the 1940s. One thing we didn’t know was that Doune was also the filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And who told us that? None other than Sam Heughan, who is the voice of the recorded tour at Doune – nice! It was fun to learn that the cast had played around with re-enacting Monty Python scenes in their down time. Who could forget, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”
Next stop – Outlander Studios in Cumbernauld. Unfortunately, there was not much to see at the studios except a sign and a security gate… But, we had to have a little something to show for being there, right?!
Well, at least we saw the sign!
On to the next place…
The drive to Drummond Castle was very beautiful, through narrow country lanes and farmlands with beautiful rural scenery. Occasionally, some pesky sheep got in the way, and by this stage we were in a bit of a hurry as the place was about to close!
The country lanes had a few obstacles!
The drive was worth it because those gardens are absolutely stunning! You could believe you had been transported to France in the time of Louis XIV. We wandered around enthralled.
The gardens were amazingly beautiful – you could spend the whole day there
Claire, Jamie and Black Jack in the Drummond Castle (Versailles) Gardens
Photos courtesy of STARZ
Next on our agenda was ‘The Highlanders Fling,’ a fundraiser organized by Scott Kyle (Outlander’s Ross) to raise funds for his beloved Regal Community Theatre in Bathgate. It took a bit of coordinating (and coercing) to get us there!
After all the hesitation, we were so glad we went to that event! Aside from the good feels of supporting that lovely theatre, we had fun, we danced (sort of!) and we met lots of interesting (not to mention famous) people.
Highland dancer Kayleigh Boardman was a special treat
Scott Kyle with Susan Boyle
Upon arrival, we boldly introduced ourselves to Scott who was very smartly dressed in his kilt. He was super welcoming, friendly and encouraged us to have a good time. We settled ourselves in at a table near the front with a very sociable mother and daughter who took us under their wing and made us feel right at home. They were big Outlander fans and thought it was fun that we had come all the way from Australia and Germany for this!
When the dancing started they coaxed us up onto the dance floor, insisting that we would pick up the steps in no time. Unfortunately, between us, I think Sabrina and I had four left feet, but we tried… and it was pretty good exercise! They hauled us around the dance floor to the wild Scottish music and I think that by the very last round, I had figured out the steps. We sat the next one (and the one after that!) out – party poopers!
There were some big names there helping Scott to raise funds. Susan Boyle was there as was Àdhamh Ó Broin, that well known Gaelic language expert and tutor for Outlander actors. I cracked a compliment from him when he said I was the first non-Gael to pronounce his name properly (brownie points!). And we also met Stephen Walters, who of course plays our beloved rascal Angus. These guys were super friendly, chatty and happy to pose for pics with us fans.
The next day, we arranged to meet up in the Kingdom on Fife. Two places were on our Outlander radar – the town of Culross (pronounced Coo-ross) and Aberdour Castle.
The lovely little town of Culross was the location for many scenes in both seasons of Outlander. The town square is the scene for Geillis Duncan’s house and the pillory (one ear nailed – eeek!) scene, and many interior and exterior scenes are shot at Culross Palace. Remember Claire pulling teeth ahead of the battle of Culloden?
“Just a wee jouk of the heid.”
Battlefield dentistry, a la Claire Fraser
Geillis Duncan’s House
Sabrina had done her research and was going to take me to ‘the Black Kirk,’ just above the town. It was a beautiful walk up through country lanes to the West Kirk Church Yard, and it was so familiar to us for those charming scenes with Claire and Jamie, where Claire discovers the cause of Tammas Baxter’s illness.
“I’m an educated man, mistress
Beware the wood garlic
Next stop – Aberdour Castle, the setting of the Abbey where Jamie’s friends take him to recover after his torture at the hands of Black Jack Randall in Wentworth Prison. Again, the place felt so familiar. Such beautiful grounds, and the hallways and rooms are exactly as we see them in those harrowing scenes from “To Ransom a Man’s Soul.” It gave us the chills.
The corridor scenes where Claire faints and is saved by Murtagh
The rooms which become Jamie’s hospital…
… and where Claire finally brings him back from the brink
Sabrina’s excellent detective work and Outlander radar took us somewhere very special the next day – Tibbermore Church, the church where the witch trials were held in “The Devil’s Mark.”
Near Perthshire, the church is only open to the public one weekend a year… and guess what, we were there on that weekend! We couldn’t resist posing as Claire and Geillis and asking someone to take our picture. The photo quality is poor, but we really were there and we saw the inside of that fascinating place.
“The first man forward is the first man down!”
Success! Where to next? Things were heating up on social media and we were starting to hear that they were filming on the Ayrshire coast. There were hints and little pictures of shells and coastlines on Instagram. We knew that earlier scenes had been shot in the seaside town of Troon, and also heard the name Dunure mentioned.
I whipped down to Troon (a mere two and a half hours drive!) while Sabrina made her way down from the north. I wandered around that town asking embarrassing questions of café owners and people in the street – have you see Outlander filming here? No such luck, so we then decided to converge on Dunure. Right away, I saw the trucks in a camping ground (yay!) and kept on driving until I saw the filming action at the ruined castle on the coast.
The ruins of Dunure Castle on the coast in South Ayrshire
The weather was grim! Luckily, I still had all my girl-guide gear in the car – Gore-Tex coat, waterproof pants and shoes, umbrella, first aid kit (kidding again), you name it. I jumped out and started chatting with another couple of full-on fans, locals who had been there since morning. They were just about to head off, but the arrival of new fans renewed their enthusiasm and they decided to stick around. Sabrina arrived soon after that. Chris and Lillian said that the assistant director had told them that Sam Heughan would come over to meet them after the filming. Ooooh, that sounded promising!
We were in good spirits, despite the rain, cold temperatures and gusty winds that almost knocked us over at times! It was fun to meet Lillian and Chris and experience more of that great Outlander fan camaraderie. They had been to many filming locations and a fun couple with lots of Outlander stories to tell. Turns out Chris is a talented photographer, as you can clearly see from his images here. They filled us in on all the action that had occurred so far that day, and where scenes on the waterfront were filmed with Sam and Caitriona Balfe.
We watched them film scenes with Sam over and over, in and around the old ruin. Again, what impressed me is the sheer stamina of the actors, having to do scenes repeatedly, until the director is satisfied. In all the action, we spotted Anne Kenney, Outlander executive producer and writer. She was rugged up against the cold.
Anne Kenney was on set
Sadly, we did end our time there with disappointment because Sam Heughan didn’t come over to meet us. He was whisked away by his driver, Davie Stewart. But you can’t win ‘em all, eh? Even from a distance we could see that he looked wrung out after what was probably a long and grueling day in extremely adverse conditions. He probably didn’t feel up to chit chat. Fair enough, we thought, and went our separate ways feeling pleased that we had made the effort to go there.
Sabrina and I had already said goodbyes… but wait, another opportunity popped up! We knew Midhope Castle (Lallybroch) was closed to the public for filming, but Sabrina saw that someone had posted a picture on Instagram saying they had just been there. Maybe there was a chance it was open again? We decided to give it a go.
When we got to Midhope, we found that it was indeed closed to the public (disappointment!). But by that time, the weather had cleared so we decided on a walk through the Hopetoun Estate. There are many forest paths that take you out into a gorgeous rural setting with expansive hayfields. It was very beautiful, so we decided to stretch our legs.
An idyllic walk in the countryside
We were walking along happily, just chatting away, when we came across a man in the middle of the path struggling to get reception on his mobile phone. We asked him if it was okay for us to keep going and he waved us on with a smile. Hmm, we were intrigued so kept on going. We were walking alongside an idyllic place, a little creek (stream, brook or more correctly, a burn in the local parlance, right?), when we spotted some action ahead – a couple of workmen building “something.” We asked them if they were building a cave and they said, no – they were making a tree house (wink, wink).
They were more than happy for us to keep walking, which we did, until we came out onto the road near Midhope… surprise, surprise! The friendly security folks said it was no-go from here, so we turned back onto the woodland path to return to our car. We had a beautiful walk back through the forest. It had been a good day, a verra good day indeed.
Arriving at Lallybroch – photo by Dora
Photo courtesy of STARZ
Claire returns to Lallybroch – photo by Dora
Photo courtesy of STARZ
Sabrina and I said our goodbyes (again), but that wasn’t the end for us. We stayed in regular contact with our newfound friends from that first day in Glasgow, keeping in touch and making plans. Sabrina had shared her great personal achievements from participating in Sam Heughan’s My Peak Challenge, and that got us thinking about forming an international team to participate in 2017. That evolved into the newglasgowgirls, and we’ve gone on to share lots of adventures together, even though we are now spread out all over the world. A chance meeting with strangers who formed an instant bond over a shared passion – Outlander.
Or, as Geillis Duncan once said…
It seems that so many groups form around the theme of Outlander. Have you found yourself on an unexpected path? Did it lead you to a bonny place? Would love to hear of your experiences in the discussion below.
(*title image by Chris Saint-Martin)
Outlander Action around Scotland – On the Hunt for Season 3 Filming
Usually, Outlander shooting locations are a well-guarded secret. But, of late, it’s been hard to hide when scenes were recently shot along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and in the well-traveled closes (or alleys) along the Capital City’s main drag. It is rare Outlander fans get wind of upcoming film sites. Therefore, it was somewhat surprising when Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper announced several weeks ago that Outlander would be filming some Season 3 scenes along the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. Specifically, it mentioned that Dunure and Dunure Harbour would be used.
As we wait for filming to begin, we thought you might enjoy learning a bit about this tiny town and its equally tiny harbour. There is much fascinating history along this rocky outcrop overlooking the Firth of Clyde. Come along with us as we set the scene and get ready to see what Outlander has in store for this small hamlet…
As ruins go, the castle at Dunure is in fairly decent shape — especially when you consider the castle was estimated to have been originally built in the late 13th century. When my Scottish friends suggested we take a drive along the west coast last year during my visit to bonnie Scotland, I was oblivious to the presence, let alone significance, of the tiny village of Dunure and the castle bearing the same name. The Celtic name “Dunure” or “Donoure” is derived from the “hill” or “fort of the yew tree.” The castle literally juts off a rocky outcropping and dominates the landscape above the village. When I visited, we ventured down the single-track road and amazingly found one of only half a dozen parking spaces near the harbor. We walked along the beach towards the castle. It was thrilling to see the towers rising above the crashing waves below and even more fascinating to be allowed to climb and wander throughout the ruins. Despite its decrepit appearance, some portions of the castle have been reinforced and stairs and ladders have been added to make it partly accessible to visitors. But, it’s the early history of the castle and the neighboring harbour town that bring to mind visions of its tumultuous and bloody past.
Photo by Anne Gavin
Photo by Anne Gavin
Several months ago, multiple production trailers and set dressers were seen milling about the castle grounds and nearby Kennedy Park. Local newspapers and sharp-eyed Outlander fans recognized the familiar red-coated actors of Outlander fame involved in filming at the castle and in boats surrounding the hilltop upon which the castle sits. Eagle eye fans spied actor David Berry, slated to portray beloved character, Lord John Grey, acting in a number of scenes filmed there. It’s unclear exactly which scenes from Season 3 were being filmed, but it’s evidence that Outlander production finds Dunure and Dunure Castle a hospitable place suited to their needs. The production’s desire to return this month then is understandable — whether that is to continue previously shot scenes or new, unrelated ones.
Courtesy Daily Record
As noted, the edifice of the castle itself is as majestic as the setting upon which it sits. The castle was the main fortress of the Kennedys of Carrick (a.k.a. the Earls of Cassilis) who ruled over much of southwest Scotland. The Kennedy family is much more closely associated with Culzean Castle, less than four miles down the coast, but for many centuries Dunure Castle was the more important of the two.
The Kennedy family prospered with several family members marrying into wealth and nobility while others becoming prominent church members — one becoming Bishop of St. Andrews. With their growing wealth, the family expanded the castle grounds adding a chapel, great hall, a prison and living accommodations. Sitting beside the castle is a unique building described as the doocot or dove cot. It’s a conical shaped stone building that houses over 200 nesting boxes and likely dates to the 15th century. It would have been an essential building for housing supplementary sources of food for the castle inhabitants, providing eggs and meat during the winter months. As mentioned, Dunure Castle is an open access site. However, you must be reasonably fit to climb the somewhat steep stairs and ladders and scamper across what is left of the castle’s stone walls. However, the views from atop the castle are spectacular and on a clear day you can easily see the shores of the Isle of Arran and the small mysterious Ailsa Craig island in the distance.
Photo by Anne Gavin
Photo by Anne Gavin
Among many footnotes in history, Dunure Castle was the site of a fateful meeting that took place in 1429 when a representative of King James I of Scotland met with John Mor MacDonald, representing the Lord of the Isles. The meeting did not go well and MacDonald was killed. In an effort to contain the outrage, King James ordered his representative to be killed as punishment. However, this did not prevent a subsequent uprising by the Isles.
Also, not surprisingly, since the lady seemingly got around, Mary Queen of Scots spent three days in residence at Dunure Castle during one of her walk-abouts throughout her short reign. Thus, Dunure Castle joins a long list of locations in Scotland to display a “Mary slept here” plaque!
But, perhaps the most famous dispute at Dunure Castle arose between Gilbert Kennedy, the Fourth Earl of Cassilis, and Alan Stewart, the administrator of nearby Crossraguel Abbey. With the arrival of the Reformation in Scotland in the mid-1500s, it seems that Gilbert Kennedy and other secular land-owners became quite obsessed with a land-grab of nearby properties held by religious orders. The Fourth Earl successfully gained control of the lands of Glenluce Abbey in Galloway but not after paying a monk associated with the Abbey to forge signatures on a charter to cede the lands to Kennedy. Kennedy later had the monk killed. Kennedy then set his sights on the Abbey at Crossraguel, which did not come quite as easily.
Gilbert Kennedy, Fourth Earl of Cassilis
The Earl used traditional medieval Scottish “diplomacy” to persuade Mr. Stewart, the administrator at Crossraguel, to consign his lands to the Kennedy Clan by roasting him alive in a dungeon of Dunure Castle. If you visit the Castle today, you can walk inside that dark dungeon and see where Alan Stewart suffered that cruel act of persuasion. It was said that Stewart signed the charter ceding the lands after two turns on the spit. Ouch! This incident was heretofore known as the “Roasting of the Abbot.” The episode, however, set off a chain of events that led to a civil war between Kennedy cousins and multiple assaults upon the castle causing considerable damage to the main castle and surrounding buildings. The Castle had outlived its days as a military fortress by the 1700s and gradually fell into decay. Remarkably, Kennedy descendants have retained ownership of Castle Dunure to this day.
Photo courtesy of DunureHarbour.com
The village and Harbour of Dunure lies just to the north of the castle — a short walk up the beach. While it’s likely some sort of settlement existed during the hay day of Dunure Castle, most of what can be seen today along the harbour and neighboring village was established in the early 19th century shortly after improvements were made to the local harbour. The harbour is a square basin with a breakwater and topped off by a striking cylindrical stone lighthouse at the harbour’s entrance from the Clyde of Firth. The Kennedy family made improvements to the harbour to the tune of 50,000 pounds to make it more attractive for fishing. The depth at the harbour is only 12 feet but can be artificially increased to up to 30 feet. As recently as the 1960s, Dunure Harbour was the home base for fishing vessels of up to 50 feet in length. But, as fishing vessels became larger and demanded a deeper depth of water, the fishing fleet declined substantially. In modern day, the harbour is now home to an active leisure fleet and smaller fishing boats.
Photo by Anne Gavin
Charles Rennie Mackintosh, celebrated Scottish architect, designer, and artist was known to rent a cottage in Dunure during the summer months. Mackintosh and his famous friends known as the “The Immortals” would holiday frequently in Dunure often bringing talented students from the Glasgow School of Art together to collaborate on what would become known as the “Glasgow Style.” Mackintosh’s most famous architectural work was his design for The Glasgow School of Art. The building was radically modern but practical, functional, and artistic. Its simplistic aesthetic became a model for many future architectural designs. There is a plaque on the side of a building adjacent to the Dunure Harbour marking Mackintosh’s frequent presence and that of “The Immortals.”
The harbour is where we see the latest evidence of Outlander goings-on. An entire side of the harbour quay has been dressed as an 18th century fishing village. Speculation is that this may serve as filming site for the days preceding Jamie and Claire’s voyage to the Caribbean. It is truly amazing the details of some of the set dressing. Locals and Outlander fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the show’s now famous cast. Outlander will soon descend on this small village once again to begin shooting some of the final Scotland-based scenes of Season 3.
Photo courtesy of Peter Clark
Rumors have shooting set to commence on or around the 30th of January. The good news is that the Outlander Cast Blog will have a Special Correspondent reporting from Dunure about all the excitement surrounding the Outlander film sets!Written by the fans, for the fans, we hope to bring you some revelations from the set and maybe a photo or two. Stay tuned but in the meantime, consider making a trip to Dunure when next in bonnie Scotland. It’s a wee day trip from Glasgow and surrounded by some other wonderful historic sites and nearby castles in addition to what you’ll find in Dunure. And, perhaps, you’ll even walk where the stars of Outlander did during the making of Season 3!
What scenes do you think they will film in Dunure Harbour? Have you ever traveled to Scotland’s west coast? If so, tell us about it!
Outlander in Ayrshire: Season 3 Filming & a little Scottish History
In New England, where I live, we have a saying about someone (usually a sports figure) who can do no wrong in your eyes, and who you support no matter what. We call that person a “binky.” For example, Tom Brady is totally my binky.
Well, I can honestly tell you that Tobias Menzies is definitely my Outlander binky.
Most of our listeners from Outlander Cast are already well aware of my love for Menzies and his characters in Outlander – Frank and Black Jack Randall.
Despite my (self-admitted) overwhelmingly biased love of his acting and how well I think his characters in Outlander are written, I truly do believe Menzies plays an amazing antagonist in this show. In fact, I would argue that Black Jack is the perfect antagonist for Outlander and the show would be nowhere near as entertaining, or engaging, without him. Better yet, Outlander would NOT be a success without Black Jack.
But before you click off this page and dismiss all of my credibility, please allow me to give you an honest and educated opinion on why the show needs BJR. And fittingly enough, why it’s also time for the show to move on from him after season 3…
Ok – you’ve made it. Thanks for sticking with me.
To begin, I’ve always felt the show was at its most electric when BJR or Frank were on screen. Need I remind you of the excellence on display in Claire’s interrogation scene from “The Garrison Commander”? Or when Frank finds out Claire’s baby isn’t his? How about every interaction between our beloved Jamie and Claire with BJR at Wentworth? You may not have liked the imagery (and I get it if you don’t), but every scene Menzies is in just happens to be some of the most riveting dramatic work Outlander has produced so far.
In the interest of transparency, I will admit:
1. I am just a show watcher. Never have read the books, and never will.
2. This analysis is relatively subjective – I have always been a fan of the bad guy, whether it’s Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs), Walter White (Breaking Bad), Michael Corelone (The Godfather), Loki (The Avengers), Darth Vader (Star Wars), Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver), Dexter, Negan (The Walking Dead) and so on and so on.
So, yes, both of these subjective preferences certainly color my joy in watching Black Jack Randall talk about how he made a “masterpiece” with Jamie at Fort William. (Yes, rough imagery again, but absolutely VISCERAL television.)
Recently, though, my subjectivity was proven a little more objective when I saw a mini documentary about The Joker as played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. The film’s purpose was to make a case for why he was the perfect antagonist for Batman in Christopher Nolan’s iteration of the famed DC character. That SPECTACULAR video – which you can watch here – surmised that The Joker essentially turned Batman from being a guy in a rubber suit into a force of nature inhabiting The Dark Knight persona as we all know him.
It was at this point I had my “aha” moment when I realized why I loved the bad guy, and more importantly, why I have come to love BJR the character.
Suffice it to say, I realized that my “feeling” about him wasn’t just me being in love with the writing or the actor, or the fact BJR is totally my binky. Rather, there were legitimate story reasons for my preferences.
Before we go any further – no, I do not condone whipping someone nearly to death. No, Randall’s constant need to dominate and, in turn, rape people is not something I’m into either. The man commits horrible acts, and he is almost one hundred percent abhorrent. But, on the other hand, this is a fictional world, with fictional acts – and one has to interpret his actions as fictional and, thereby, analyze them through the lens of what his acts do to help dramatize the fictional world he inhabits.
In other words, how does Randall benefit the story being told?
If filtered through that guise, regardless of whatever horrible acts Randall does, what is his function as the antagonist of Outlander and does he enhance the overall story experience?
My contention is, yes… and it’s by a landslide.
So what was my “aha” moment? Why was I vindicated? Why is Diana Gabaldon’s character of Black Jack Randall the perfect antagonist for Ron Moore’s vision of Outlander? Well, with a little guidance from the aforementioned film, here is why:
Is it easy to argue, predicated upon the impact Randall has made on him, that our protagonist is James Fraser? Yes. But BJR becomes infinitely more interesting when you shift focus to Claire Fraser as being Randall’s foe, and the battle they share together. The stakes become far more personal because it’s not just about lust, or getting revenge for being embarrassed during a public beating as it would be between Jamie and Randall.
No, when the battle is between Claire and Black Jack, it becomes more about control and dominance – something we can all relate to. But let’s dive in a little further and see why this is the case, shall we? 1. BJR attacks Claire’s greatest weaknesses.
In his book, STORY, Robert McKee suggests, “a protagonist and his (or her) story can only be as intellectually and emotionally compelling as the forces of antagonism make them.” In other words, our protagonist, Claire, and her story, can only stand out as far as our antagonist, Black Jack, pushes her.
Logically then, the harder they fight, the more personal it becomes, which results in more drama, and so we feel more attachment to either side. More attachment means a more compelling struggle. If we have a highly compelling struggle, then we are privy to a highly entertaining show.
So how does BJR fight Claire? How does he push her? How do they create a compelling struggle?
From the moment we see her in France in 1945, we recognize Claire as a strong, intellectually capable, fiercely independent, sexually driven, modern woman. She’s quick on her feet, self-reliant, and she loves the idea of control over her patients with the knowledge she can heal them. But most of all – she loves the idea of a home. She stares at that blue vase in the shop window yearning for the moment when she feels like she belongs. These are all admirable traits and we are proud of Claire for achieving them.
It is with great pleasure, however, that BJR takes these traits and turns them against Claire to make them her greatest weakness.
Just like us, when Randall sees Claire for the first time, he witnesses a woman that he has not quite seen before. He takes her confidence and self-reliance, and transforms them into insecurity and desperation because he, too, is a dominating force. She is physically weaker than he, so he forces himself on her both mentally and physically.
In “The Garrison Commander,” Randall allows Claire all of her inherent traits. He even goes as far as to apologize for his actions when they first met to set her at ease, giving the guise of control back to Claire. His trap was set when her independent streak pushes Dougal outside of the meeting, and when her confidence in healing is stoked by a conversation to convert BJR to the light. She thinks she’s using her wits to describe her long-lost husband, all while Randall crafts a portrait of the “beautiful liar” in her visage. Then, as he will do so for the remainder of their time together, he physically dominates her, allowing a stranger to even beat her to a pulp.
This reason alone is why Garrison Commander works so well, because all we know and like about Claire – wits, independence, control, even sexual confidence – are completely turned asunder, and set against her. Essentially, Randall’s prerogative, as well as delight, is to make Claire feel out of control and small. In just one single scene, we get to see almost everything we need to know about the two going forward in the story, without actually having to tell you.
They are opposites, whose very nature creates a fundamental and built-in conflict without the need of exposition. They exist and, thereby, oppose.
And while this is all well and good for a few scenes, the next bit BJR accomplishes is where things become truly interesting for he and Claire.
2. Randall forces Claire to make harder and harder choices.
To further build on her strengths turning against her, Claire, despite her independence and wit, is finally devalued to the point where Dougal must rescue her from Black Jack’s clutches. As bad as that may be for our heroine, and for our confidence in her ability to fend off her foes, it’s at this point Outlander finally kicks into high gear because Randall demands Claire be delivered to Fort William the next day.
From here on out, because of this interrogation and subsequent rescue, Claire and Randall become inexorably linked, and Claire knows she cannot escape him unless she has help. She wants to go to her original home in the forties, but it’s BJR that pushes her to make decisions that will affect the rest of her life in immeasurable ways.
Claire’s independence, her self-preservation, her confidence, all become her enemies – enemies that push her helplessly into the arms of a reluctant Scottish clan. And if she has any intent to stay alive in her harsh setting, she must succumb to those enemies and marry Jamie Fraser to stay alive.
While we all like to think that this decision is for the better, think of it in terms of Claire at that very moment in time – she has to abandon her actual husband, she has to go further away from what she believes to be her home in the forties, and she also has to succumb to the foreign world around her.
Everything she is, was, and what we believe her to be as viewers, is gone. By virtue of BJR’s threat, and each choice she makes therein, she separates herself from the character we originally met in post-war France. She loses herself. We lose our protagonist.
This is when the relationship between BJR and Claire becomes most interesting.
As McKee points out in STORY, “true character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.” So Claire’s true nature is revealed by her choices that Jonathan Randall forces on her.
Every time Claire reacts, Black Jack has a counter move – for the most part, he is always ahead of her. When he realizes she is married to Jamie, then his plans become more personal than ever. The man he created a masterpiece with, the man who got away, the man he so lusts after is now Claire’s greatest weakness. He uses her, degrades her, and minimizes her – just to attract Jamie on multiple occasions. And when he has Jamie in Wentworth, he makes Jamie choose his own life, or Claire’s –further diminishing Claire’s independence, and thus splitting apart the relationship in which we, and she, have finally harbored our collective comfort.
Here is why this choice is so vitally important – because BJR forces Jamie to choose and pits our lovers against each other’s self interests. He takes the intrinsic characteristics of our title couple we love, and turns them inside out – once again, making them weaknesses. He knows Jamie cannot sacrifice Claire, and Claire isn’t strong enough to force Jamie out of Wentworth alone.
In essence, Randall allows Claire to live because he takes away her love. He takes away Jamie and, consequently, in one final act of using her choices against her, Randall manipulates the most sensitive of all Claire’s weaknesses – he eradicates the home she finally uncovered in a time to which she doesn’t belong.
As fate has it, Jamie is rescued but, like her home, he is not the same. They have been ravaged by Randall, and Jamie is humiliated to the point of near suicide. In order to flee Randall’s grasp, and motivated to change their own fortune, Claire is forced out of Scotland into the clutches of an even more foreign environment, France.
But this is not the end of Randall’s influence. In fact, his reach becomes ever more apparent while the Frasers reside in France. Yes, Jamie is ruined physically and mentally which, of course, stresses our title couple’s relationship. But, yet again, Claire’s strength of wits obstruct her overall vision when she tries to out-think history by forcing Mary Hawkins away from Alex Randall only to serve her up to his brother, Jonathan Randall. Claire knowingly pushes a helpless little girl into her enemy’s arms. But as bad as that is, Claire’s choices become even more convoluted when Black Jack arrives at her doorstep.
Of course, one would think that Claire could allow Jamie to seek out his well-due revenge on Randall from Wentworth when they meet in France. But as if it were a cruel joke, Black Jack inadvertently strikes again because Claire cannot allow his lineage to be extinguished due to her love of Frank, the man to whom she was originally married and who also just happens (she thinks) to be related to BJR.
She chooses Frank over Jamie, her home.
She chooses Black Jack Randall over Jamie, her home.
She chooses herself over Jamie, her home.
Yes, our Claire we know and love has also knowingly chosen the very antithesis of what makes her herself – she chooses against home.
Jonathan Randall forces Claire to make these choices, and it shows who she really is on the inside.
Is Claire tough, resilient and independent? Or is she selfish and helpless? Does she have a home in Scotland, or does she belong in he forties? What does this say about a woman whose original trajectory as a character was was to find a home? What is her motivation in the show at this point? Or is she rudderless, going where the tidal forces of Black Jack and Jamie take her?
What’s worse about it all is that Randall also forces Jamie to choose him over Claire at the duel. In spite of his promise not to fight Black Jack, Jamie goes against his word to Claire further denigrating their trust in each other. Additionally, it prevents Jamie from being at her side during the tragic birth of Faith, and it starts eroding the satisfaction, as well as excitement, we have in a rescued Jamie. Not only does Claire question her relationship – now Randall has forced us to question it too.
Here’s another thought – do the choices Randall forces Claire to make, and resulting pressures she is subjected to, help contribute to the tragedy of Faith? There may not be a correlation, but there is enough there, I believe, to make one at least consider the possibility – especially due to the fragility of pregnancy and birth during the 18th century.
While I don’t think we can answer the aforementioned questions fully quite yet (based on what’s transpired in the television show), I do believe that these questions are what makes Claire’s conflict so compelling. This strong, independent character is now drifting without ANY of her traits, or husband, that made her the protagonist to begin with. Her choices make her strengths weaknesses.
We see Claire’s resolve in trying to rescue Jamie, but we also see the limit to her resolve in what it takes to rid herself completely of Black Jack Randall. Her true character, as dictated by the choices she’s made, namely preventing Jamie from killing Randall, are still very much up for debate – which makes her experience, pressure, revelation, and character so fascinating.
It is BJR’s conflict with Claire, not Jamie, that enriches the story.
Which brings me to my next point…
3. BJR and Claire actually compete for the same thing.
Randall is the perfect fit for Outlander because he and Claire are the perfect fit for each other. As John Truby states in his book, The Anatomy of Story, “it is only by competing for the same goal that the hero and the opponent are forced to come into direct conflict and to do so again and again throughout the story.” Whether it be in Scotland, England, or even France, they will always compete over Jamie.
But it’s not exactly what you think. Yes, Jamie is Claire’s husband and she wants him. She tries to protect him from Black Jack who lusts after the boy that got away all those years ago in Fort William.
For Claire, Jamie is far more than her partner in marriage – he is Claire’s purpose in life now. He is her love, her home. Jamie represents everything that Claire has longed for during the entirety of her life dating back to her time with her uncle in Egypt, all the way to being with Frank in Inverness –stability. Jamie challenges her, takes care of her and, most of all, loves her the way she needs.
For Black Jack, Jamie is the culmination of his domination. Jamie’s capitulation and near death are the tangible examples of how Black Jack chooses to operate his life. Why brand him? Why vow to kill him after he’s had his way? Why, in his own way, honor Jamie? Jamie signifies control to Black Jack Randall, and he will stop at nothing to have his control. What’s worse is that this control has allowed Randall to see Jamie in a way that Claire will NEVER see him. Let’s go back to the Joker in The Dark Knight for some context.
At about midway through The Dark Knight, Ledger’s Joker shares a scene with an officer, talking about his friends and why he chooses knives when he kills people. “Guns,” The Joker says, “are too quick. You can’t savor all the little emotions. You see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So, in a way, I knew your friends better than you ever did…would you like to know which of them were cowards?” As sad is it might be to admit, Randall sees Jamie in what they both think may be his last moments.
It’s at this point Jamie shows who he truly is – a man willing to do anything for Claire. But Claire never saw it, and can never see it. No matter what, Randall has seen something in Jamie that Claire never will. He has something on her that she cannot take away.
Black Jack Randall, because of this very reasoning, is the perfect antagonist for Outlander.
The struggle between control, dominance, love, and recognition from Jamie pushes the story FORWARD. Without BJR, Claire never has to be rescued by the MacKenzies, never has to marry Jamie, never has to rescue Jamie, never has to go to France, never feels the need to change history so the Scots win the battle of Culloden, never kills Dougal, and never has to go BACK to the forties with an unborn child.
But would any of this work with another antagonist or protagonist? Could you, perhaps, trade Jason Isaacs’ Colonel Tavington in The Patriot for BJR? Hell no, because Tavington was a careerist who only cared about himself. He had no time for dominating other men. Could you trade Claire for, let’s say, Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? The obvious answer is no.
The two work for each other because the stakes are personally tailored for each other.
This is also why the second season is, inherently, a less effective season than the first. In season 1, we are forced to bear witness to what it takes to survive a man like Black Jack Randall. We witness love, hate, disgust and disappointment. All human and raw emotions to which we can all relate. And when the finale airs, it’s not about a huge battle – it’s driving force is to rescue one man. One life. One love.
Whereas in the second season, Claire and Jamie are pitted against cartoonish villains like the Duke of Sandringham and the Comte. The Duke was a means to an end, and the Comte had no personal conflict with Claire – he was just mad that she ruined a shipment of his goods. What were the choices they made Claire undergo? How did they effectively change her? There’s no challenge there. There was also another odd villain. Time. Yes, there was a literal race against time itself.
In season 2, Jamie and Claire struggle to change the future – something we know as an audience cannot happen. Otherwise, the future from which Claire came cannot exist and, thus, we wouldn’t have a story.
Season 2 of Outlander had faults, whether it was paced oddly, or it set up its many characters with very little payoff. But season two’s most egregious offense? It was impersonal. We simply CANNOT relate to someone trying to kill us with poison because of a bad shipment of goods… or a goofy British Duke… or trying to literally change the course of time. It is impossible. So we’re not invested.
As we learned earlier, “the more personal it becomes, [this] results in more drama, and so we feel more attachment to either side. More attachment means a more compelling struggle. If we have a highly compelling struggle, then we are privy to a highly entertaining show.” So if we’re not invested, there’s no drama. If there’s no drama, there’s no show.
Season 2, however, did have its moments. What were those? When was season 2 most compelling? You got it – when the stakes and mettle of Jamie and Claire’s relationship were tested to its highest limits by the mere (admittedly shoe-horned) presence of one Jonathan Wolverton Randall.
But now we are brought back to our original question – what is the function of Black Jack Randall within the context of this story?
Everything he does – whether it’s raping women, raping men, forcing Claire to get married, pushing her to leave Scotland, or to come back to Scotland, nudging her to change history – forces Claire to see herself for who she really is, what she is capable of doing and what she is not capable of doing.
Whether we like it or not, BJR sets Claire on a course to fall in love with James Fraser and change the very fabric of her life. As such, we see her grow from being the fierce, independent woman who needs no man in her life, to a woman who finds her home, who cherishes her love, who becomes a mother and allows herself to be greater than just HERSELF. Eventually.
And through all these actions and choices that are made because of Black Jack Randall, we see a specific effect on Claire and the momentum of the story. We see Claire lose herself and we lose our antagonist but in the end, we see her become something else entirely. She begins one way, and ends in another.
We see Claire Randall transform into Claire Fraser.
And this why the show would not be successful without Black Jack. Because our protagonist, Claire, the one we love and for whom we watch this show, isn’t our protagonist without him. Without Black Jack, there is no arc and, thus, no story.
Which leads me to my last point… 4. Black Jack Randall has to go after season 3.
I worry about the rest of Outlander. I worry that the stakes will never be as personal as they were in the first two seasons.
The only option I see to keep the level of engagement and compelling drama is that Diana Gabaldon, Ron Moore and his staff of writers find a way to pit Jamie against Claire or vice versa.
But you cannot keep bringing back BJR to create that tension every season, because then it becomes forced. It was already somewhat forced by plot as it relates to season 2 when Claire and co. just happen upon Alex Randall, who just happens to be sick, and just happens to be visited by BJR.
Which proposes a huge conundrum – contrive less convincing ways to keep bringing back Randall, or let him go and be a little less personal. I’m afraid there isn’t a real answer here. We’ve seen what happens when the plot thickens too much (as it happened in season 2) but we’ve also seen what happens when you force personal stakes through coincidence.
The battle for Jamie Fraser – the inner divide that I believe truly fuels the drama of Outlander – must come to an end soon. Jamie must fight and kill Randall in order to be redeemed in his own eyes. Jamie cannot move forward with Claire if Randall still looms, even in his subconscious. Again, without Randall, there is no momentum.
But there is also only so much story to be told between Randall and the Frasers. Unlike the Joker and The Dark Knight, and it cannot go on forever. The Frasers and, most importantly, we the viewers must have closure on what happened in Wentworth. And that closure, to take advantage of its most dramatic impact, without stretching the story unnecessarily, must happen in season 3.
It kills me to say it, but it’s true.
Do you think Black Jack is the perfect antagonist for Outlander? Does he need to go?
Black Jack Randall: The Perfect Outlander Antagonist… But Why He Has To Go
It was 8:30 am on a crisp and sunny September morning in Glasgow. And there I was, at an Outlander film shoot. I could scarcely believe that all my planning, and a fair measure of good luck, had brought me here. I’d arrived in Scotland from Australia only two weeks before, and by now I was right into the swing of it, immersed in everything Scottish and yes, I could even understand the Glasgow accent! Handling the currency was another matter, but that’s a particular problem of mine.
I reflected back on my first two weeks, spent in the northern parts of Scotland. I had walked the Scottish Highlands, experiencing those landscapes that had me enthralled. I’d spent a week at the Findhorn Foundation, and visited the Outer Hebrides. At Findhorn, I spent a very engaging and open-minded week with people from all over the world – many of whom it turned out, shared my Outlander passions. But my northern Outlander experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a real live circle of standing stones, now would it? And by week three, I was ready for the real launch of my Outlandish adventures…
Through my twitter linkages, Facebook and Instagram radar, I’d been tracking all things Outlander since my arrival. I’d seen an advert for extras on the Outlander set and applied. I was almost the right age and almost the right size, so that was a good sign, right? It wouldn’t really matter if the shoes were a little weeny bit tight, would it? Sign me up! But, after much to-ing and fro-ing with the agency, it turned out that I was not the right person …. boo hoo … my first disappointment.
I’d seen on Facebook that Outlander was filming at Glasgow University, and also on a street in Glasgow’s west end. Driving down from the north, I was intent on checking out both those places before dark. I was on a mission… first stop, Glasgow University. I had never in my life been to Glasgow, but Siri was guiding me so what could go wrong? Right?!
Well, first I turned in to a park, which apparently was for foot traffic only. People were yelling and running after me – that was a dead giveaway! These helpful pedestrians, relieved that I hadn’t run them down, set me on the right path.
Just a tad frazzled now, I searched the university grounds looking for the place I’d seen on Facebook, and there it was. I approached a woman getting in to her car and asked if she knew of the Outlander filming. She said the filming seemed to be over now that the students were back. I was on the track but – oh no! – that track was a dead end. So, still hopeful, I set off for the west end.
photo courtesy Outlander STARZ
The beautiful Glasgow University – didn’t get there on time
My good friend, Siri, did her best, and even found me a nearby parking spot. There were signs everywhere telling people the street would be closed for filming tomorrow – eureka! I was in the right place at last! Back at my Airbnb, I planned the next day with military precision – very early rise, backpack, food, water, phone/camera, portable charger, all-weather gear, umbrella, first aid kit (kidding!). Basically, I was prepared for all contingencies. Je suis prêst.
It was a sign – I was in the right place at last
The next morning, I found myself back on that street to find it already humming by 8:30 am. Gary Steele (our idol of production design) was directing people on changes to make in the street and was taking photographs – don’t we just love the photographs he puts up on Instagram? His teasers of the sets and the exceptional architecture, interiors and fine details that inspire him – all eye candy for us! Later on, we heard from a person who lived on the street that all the curtains in the houses had been changed so that no ‘modern’ curtains could be glimpsed in the scenes. Talk about attention to detail.
Gary Steel surveying the scene and designing the street
I asked a security guy if it was okay to be a spectator, and he waved me across the street towards a woman saying, “go ask her.” It turned out that she was another spectator and she laughed that she had been mistaken for one of the crew. (Fun side note: that was Sabrina, and we made a connection that day and went on to have fun travels and more Outlandish escapades together). I did, however, eventually ask a crew member and they said it was okay as long as we didn’t get in the way of the filming. Cue some verra big smiles on our faces then!
It was soon evident that we were looking at a street in Boston in the late 1940s, Claire and Frank’s home – goose bumps. New street lamp fittings, fire hydrant, painted lines on the streets removed, new street signs – Furey St, right? And on and on, it was fascinating to watch those preparations. All the details and all the people involved. The side streets were lined with trucks filled with props and equipment. Bicycles, prams, pot plants, you name it.
the preparation of Furey St
During all this early action, we chatted with Gary and then with Davie Stewart, Sam Heughan’s very friendly driver. They even posed for pictures with us. Davie is also well known for his photography (yep, Instagram) of all the phases and moods of the moon and beautiful landscapes. Everyone was asking him about his camera, but that was all way above my pay grade, me being a humble iPhone photographer and all. There was a good, friendly vibe, and we were hyped.
By now, there were three of us standing together – me, Sabrina and Naomi. Little did I know at that point what a strong connection I would make with those two. There seemed to be a lull in proceedings, so we decided on a coffee break, and, a girl’s gotta pee, right? We were excited and we were definitely there for the duration. As long as it took.
Davie Stewart and Naomi
Me and Gary Steele
Preparations continued throughout the entire morning – setting up the street, and getting everything just right. By this stage, a larger group had assembled and we met up with Ren, Dora and Morag. There was such a good feeling of Outlander fan camaraderie. We took advice from the security gal as to when the filming would commence. She said they were at lunch so we decided it was that time for us too, and we headed off for food, coffee, phone charging and wifi. We really got chatting then and found out that we were from all over the world. Australia, Germany, England, China and Malaysia – what a mix, and all die hard Outlander fans who had tracked this event down in much the same way I had!
Before filming commenced we could wander through the street – Morag taking pictures with her iPad
When we returned, the street had been cordoned off, ready for action. We spotted a couple of other Outlander identities… none other than Matt Roberts, writer and producer extraordinaire. Swoon for his wonderful photographs too, eh? His remarkable black and white studies of people, landscapes, buildings and Outlander behind the scenes – all Instagram heaven. And also on the scene was Outlander language coach Carol Ann Crawford. Remember her cameo chatting with Roger, in “Dragonfly in Amber,” at the Reverend Wakefield’s wake?
Matt Roberts and Carol Ann Crawford at the location
The extras started to assemble in their gorgeous 1940s outfits and hairstyles. They were being primped and instructed and were practicing their moves, up and down the street. Then the cars started to arrive. Amazing 1940s cars in pristine condition were driven into the street. It really was beginning to feel like we had gone back in time.
the cars arrived
the extras getting ready for action
When Caitriona Balfe pulled up with her driver, Andy, there were squeals of delight from the assembled throng, about 20 strong by now. She waved and kept on going to her work, and we did hope that we might get up a little closer and more personal later in the day.
Caitriona Balfe arrives
Over the next several hours, we became aware of the grind that is part of the acting process. Caitriona had to repeatedly walk the length of the street, get into one of the cars and drive back… it was filmed over and over, to get it just as the director wanted. There were also scenes with Caitriona and another actress at the front of the house filmed over and over, seeking perfection.
filming sequences in Boston (Glasgow west end)
The weather had started to crack up a bit (no problem for me with my over-the-top Girl Guide preparations), but our spirits brightened when Caitriona walked up the street and started to chat with fans. She was lovely and good-humored (just as you would imagine) and happy to sign autographs and pose for fan pics. Oh, lucky day! Yours truly was in the wrong place at that moment (disappointment number two). “Oh well, there may be another day,” she (ahem, me) said hopefully.
Dora and Sabrina with Caitriona Balfe
Ren with Caitriona Balfe
There was a buzz when Tobias Menzies arrived in his dapper 1940s outfit.
Tobias Menzies chatting with Matt Roberts
Tobias Menzies leaves with Davie Stewart
As afternoon rolled in to evening, the crew went in to a whole new phase of action. Huge lights were brought into play, the street lamps were lit and the streetscape was changed, with bags of autumn leaves strewn around. Again, a small scene at the front of the house was filmed repeatedly getting things just right.
Preparing for night time filming
One thing which amazed me that day was the number of people involved and the time it took to film what may be a very short snippet on the show, or what may even end up on the cutting room floor. We hope not, though, because we REALLY want to see the scenes that we saw being filmed!
As night fell, we were tired, slightly damp and pretty cold, and we awarded ourselves medals for our stamina. We started to drift away one by one, saying our goodbyes and our ‘let’s keep in touches’. And we did, we became the newglasgowgirls. It had been a verra good day – one that I hope we have the opportunity to repeat another day in the not-too-distant future!
Have any of you had up close and personal experiences with the filming of Outlander or other TV shows? Would love to hear about that in the discussion below!
Outlander Action in Glasgow – the day I traveled back in time to the 1940s