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Outlander: Critics in US praise new £50m TV drama

CRITICS have praised a new £50 million time travel-themed television series that was filmed in Scotland.

POTENTIAL: The filming of the time travel-themed TV series.
POTENTIAL: The filming of the time travel-themed TV series.

The first reviews of the drama Outlander appeared in the American press this weekend and journalists in the main gave the episodes glowing write-ups, with particular praise for the Scottish landscape.

"All but the most jaded viewer can probably find something to relish or even gasp at," wrote Nancy Dewolf Smith in the Wall Street Journal.

"There is beauty here, alongside much suffering and injustice, and the story of the man and woman at the centre of it all is so strong that it blinds the eye to the oddities like time travel.

"The depiction of daily life among the clans of Scotland fighting to preserve their independence from English encroachment circa 1743 is equally vivid. All that scenery, all those kilts."

Laura Prudom, in Variety, concluded: "Outlander has a clear sense of identity and a willingness to push boundaries in a way that's certain to leave a mark...[It] has already set itself apart with a story as unique and confident as the woman at its centre."

But columnist Brian Lowry, also writing in ­Variety, said that, although Scotland provided a "bonny backdrop", the rest of the show was a "bit of a snooze".

He said: "While the period touches have been assembled with care (and filmed in Scotland), long speeches in untranslated Gaelic have a way of yielding diminishing returns."

The series was filmed across 16 Scottish locations including Glasgow's George Square and Pollok Park, and also shot in a purpose-built studio in a warehouse in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

It stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as the main characters and is adapted from Diana Gabaldon's books of the same name.

The story follows Claire Randell, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is swept back in time to 1743 when she is caught in the magic of standing stones in the Scottish Highlands.

She is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a young warrior.

Sixteen episodes will be shown this summer on the Starz network in the US.

Its co-producers, Sony Pictures Television, are in talks with numerous networks around the world, although no deal has yet been struck for it to be shown in the UK.

The seven-book series of novels has sold more than 20 million copies and been in the New York Times best-seller list six times.

Tourism bosses hope the series will lead to an increase in holidaymakers coming to Scotland, and will run campaigns.

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