We’re Scot­land’s most Out­landish fam­ily...

Mum, dad and 2 sons star in hit drama... now Lana, 4, is set for her de­but!

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Ash­lie McA­nally

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’

FAM­ILY AF­FAIR: An­drew, Ana-Mar­ija, Daniel and Pa­trick McAlin­don are all ex­tras on Out­lander – and hope daugh­ter Lana, far left, will soon join the cast

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