Outlander’s JAMIE AND CLAIRE begin a new life in a North Carolina colony
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Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are trying to make a new life in America as the historical drama returns.
AS Tv&satellite Week arrives on set to watch the new season of Outlander being filmed, dozens of extras are milling around the corridors of a Glasgow studio. But unusually for the Scottish drama series, there’s not a kilt in sight.
Instead, the extras are dressed in 18th-century Native American clothes, with some of the men sporting grisly accessories. One has what looks like a fatal neck wound, while another appears to have been scalped to reveal some impressive prosthetic bits of skull.
As fans of the historical drama will know, season three ended with Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and his 20th-century wife, Claire (Caitriona Balfe), washed up on an American beach following a shipwreck.
Now, as the fourth season starts, we find them trying to make a new life in the wilds of North Carolina.
‘This season is really about establishing a home and a family,’ says Heughan.‘this is the first time we see Jamie and Claire acting as a family. Up until now there has always been some kind of drama, but now they finally get to rest.’
While Claire and Jamie may now be living in the New World, the show’s production team haven’t relocated to the US to film the new series. Instead, the sets – such as the Southern plantation that belongs to Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta (new cast member Maria Doyle Kennedy) – have been built in Glasgow, with the Highlands doubling for the Carolina landscape where the couple build a settlement called Fraser’s Ridge.
‘On the advice of [Outlander author] Diana Gabaldon, I went to North Carolina and it was remarkable how similar it was to Scotland,’ says Heughan. ‘You look out and see the mist come off the hills and these great Fraser firs everywhere, and you realise that’s why Scottish people settled there as it really does feel the same.’
Of course, it wouldn’t be Outlander without some major drama for Jamie and Claire. They arrive at a tumultuous time for America in 1766, less than a decade before the American War of Independence.
‘Being on the frontier is not without its dangers,’ says Balfe. ‘They’re settling on land that is inhabited by Cherokee tribes, and it is beautiful to see how this couple end up forging friendships with them. But there are wild animals, slavery, and other things that cause the couple some trouble.’
Claire also has to cope with the fact that she left her and Jamie’s daughter, Brianna (Sophie Skelton), behind in 1960s Boston.
‘Claire never stops worrying about Brianna, but she is able to tell Jamie stories about her, which gives him a connection to the daughter he has never met.’
Could Brianna possibly follow her mother back to 1766, and meet her biological father? The cast’s lips are sealed, although Heughan does hint that there are some unexpected twists and turns to come for the family.
‘The intrigue of knowing the real history and how it will affect Jamie and Claire is part of the fun, and we certainly played on that last season using more time travel,’ he says with a smile. ‘And I think there may be more of that to come.’
‘Being on the frontier is not without its
SAM HEUGHAN AND CAITRIONA BALFE AS JAMIE AND CLAIRE
MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY (LEFT) AS AUNT JOCASTA