Outlander boosts Cumbernauld’s film hopes

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Hit fantasy-history drama Outlander is back in Cumbernauld, where the whole of the second series will be filmed - adding further strength to the town’s bid to become home to Scotland’s national film studio.

As reported over recent weeks in the News, and our sister newspaper The Scotsman, the new town has been tipped as hot favourite to serve as the main base for a growing Scottish film industry.

This is despite a strong challenge from a Glasgow bid, which failed to attract Scottish Government backing because it relied heavily on government subsidy.

The success of Outlander in the US has guaranteed a second series, and Cumbernauld will again serve as the production hub from which excursions to historic locations will be planned (while most of the indoors action will happen in the town studio).

Meanwhile a call for extras for the new series met an overwhelming response, with capacity reached after just two days.

That sort of job advertisement could become more commonplace if Cumbernauld does clinch the film studio honour.

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, the lead actors in the £50 million series, which premiered in the United States last August, have been confirmed for the premiere on Monday, March 23.

It is being held three days before the series is made available on Amazon Prime Instant Video, the streaming service which last month confirmed a deal after months of speculation.

Balfe plays the main protagonist, Claire Randall, a Second World War nurse, who is propelled back in time to the 18th century Highlands, where she falls for a young warrior, Jamie Fraser.

The two stars of the show - set and shot entirely in Scotland, from its Cumbernauld base - will be taking part in a Q&A session with fans after the screening of the opening episode, which is based on the best-selling novels of American author Diana Gabaldon.

The premiere is at the White Rabbit studios in Shoreditch, London, with a Q&A session which will be streamed live to the Grosvenor cinema, in Glasgow’s West End (where the first episode will also be screened).