THE makers of the TV series Outlander - the cult time-travelling Scottish bodice-ripper - have confirmed they are in talks with broadcasters and internet streaming platforms to find the "right home" for the show to be viewed in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
The move comes as tourism bosses in Scotland said they hope Outlander can do for Scotland what Game of Thrones did for Northern Ireland and turn the country into a magnet for fans of the show, based on the bestselling novels by author Diana Gabaldon.
The £50 million fantasy blockbuster, which was filmed in Scotland and has already been dubbed the new Game of Thrones, made its global debut in the US and Australia last week, with the maker and entertainment channel Starz announcing a second series after it drew more than five million viewers in the US. However, there have been no plans announced for the series to be shown on TV in the UK.
A spokesman for Outlander, which is licensed by Sony, told the Sunday Herald: "We are in discussions with UK broadcasters and platforms to find the right home for the show." He added the screening date would be down to whichever broadcaster picked the show up.
Yesterday, VisitScotland announced it is staging a summer promotional drive for Scotland in Australia and New Zealand which aims to capitalise on the boost from the Commonwealth Games as well as the screening of the Outlander TV series.
It has created an online map showing locations featured in the novels. Game of Thrones, which saw much of the filming for the series done in and around Belfast, has given a much-needed boost to tourism in Northern Ireland. Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said the show had screened to "rave reviews" in the US.
He added: "Scotland really is the star of the show and a number of Outlander fans have been in touch via Twitter to express their desire to come here as a result of reading the novels or watching the show. Although it will take some time to truly gauge the "Outlander effect", the initial signs are very promising and there is no doubt that Scotland starring in what could prove a massive hit can only be good for Scottish tourism."
The news that a second series of Outlander has been given the green light will be also be welcome, with investment in the first series estimated to have brought around £20 million to the Scottish economy. Filming has taken place at purpose-built studios in Cumbernauld and on location in the Highlands and Glasgow's Pollok Country Park.
Starz announced on Friday the second series will be at least 13 episodes and based on the second of eight books in the Outlander series, entitled Dragonfly in Amber.
A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland, which gave £170,000 towards production development of Outlander, said: "It's great that Outlander has been so well received by both fans of Diana Gabaldon's novels and TV critics alike. The series showcases the talents of many Scottish and UK actors, as well as the work of the crew behind the camera, and the show's main star - Scotland's landscapes."
Gabaldon's eight-book series has sold more than 20 million copies and follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945, played by Irish star Caitriona Balfe, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is forced to marry a young Scottish warrior, played by Scottish actor Sam Heughan.