The Scottish Mail on Sunday
We’re Scotland’s most Outlandish family...
Mum, dad and 2 sons star in hit drama... now Lana, 4, is set for her debut!
FOR its millions of fans worldwide, the time-travel drama Outlander is must-see TV.
But for the McAlindon family, the award-winning series set in the Highlands amid the Jacobite rebellion of the 1740s is much more than entertainment, it is their job.
Andrew McAlindon, his wife AnaMarija and sons Daniel and Patrick are all extras on the show.
The family think nothing of donning the rough plaid of 18th Century warriors and wielding swords in muddy fields, or of dressing as British ‘Redcoat’ soldiers with scarlet tunics, tricorn hats and muskets.
Between them they have played a variety of roles in several series of the show, including villagers, students and town guards.
As part of their work, they have travelled around the landmarks and castles which are a backdrop for the series, which jumps between the 20th and 18th Centuries.
Paid for the privilege of appearing in their favourite programme, they return to their home in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, and settle down – like five million other viewers around the world – to watch themselves on screen.
It is a dream come true for fatherof-three Mr McAlindon, who is hoping his four-year-old daughter, Lana, can soon join her parents and brothers on the programme.
He said: ‘It truly has changed our lives. I have to pinch myself – I’m all over Scotland in the most stunning locations and working at historic castles and in little towns.
‘[Lana] is not on it, she’s only four, but she has been involved in other filming, so we shall see. Fingers crossed she’ll get on season six.
‘I very much hope she does, it would round it off beautifully.’
Outlander is based on the timetravel books of Diana Gabaldon and filmed at studios in Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, and at iconic locations across Scotland. Mr McAlinPatrick, don, 42, became an extra in 2015 and has played a Highlander, a British soldier and even a leg double for leading man Sam Heughan, who plays heroic Jamie Fraser.
His wife Mrs McAlindon, 41, then followed suit, as did Daniel, 19, and seven. The family are signed up with a Glasgow-based acting agency, which has been their pathway to the big screen.
It all began when Mr McAlindon, an electrician, decided to change career following the death of his father in 2009.
He joined the Kilmacolm Dramatic Society and later the acting agency where he met his Croatian wife – his mistress in a play.
When he received a ‘generic text’ asking if he was free to film Outlander, he ‘jumped at the chance’.
Mr McAlindon said: ‘I had already seen some of the show and fell in love with it straight away – the scenery and time period.
‘The studio is less than an hour away and, initially, it was a week’s worth of filming. That turned in to 35 days on season two, throughout all of which I was a Highlander.’
In season three he played a Redcoat, a Highlander, Jamie’s leg double and a town guard.
He said: ‘We were trained for the battle scenes and I fought at the Battle of Prestonpans and then the Battle of Culloden in season three.
‘It’s been an absolutely amazing adventure and life-changing time.’
While filming season three, Daniel became involved. The following season his wife joined the cast and, during that season, she and Daniel had small speaking parts.
To their delight Patrick became an extra the following season, filming with main cast members.
Mr McAlindon said Outlander is a definite improvement on being an electrician and spending his days being stuck in a loft or under floorboards. He said: ‘My office is the Highlands – what’s not to love?’
Since joining Outlander, Mr McAlindon has started his own company, Highlander Tours, and dresses in period clothing.
He said: ‘I’m not a normal tour guide, I like to stand out. We get clients dressed in the full 18th Century plaid.
‘I have an 18th Century waistcoat that laces up the back, a jacket the same as Jamie’s, the hand-sewn kilt hose and Jacobite buckle shoes made by a historian.’
He was unable to do as much filming for seasons four and five of the show because his tour company was inundated with work.
Mr McAlindon said: ‘I’ve done talks at school and universities about the “Outlander effect” and how Outlander changed my life.
‘Lana has started Highland dancing, so I would love when she’s older to come on tours with me – and maybe Patrick can learn the bagpipes. Daniel has been on tours with me, also in the full outfit.’
‘It’s changed our lives. I have to pinch myself’