The Outlander cast took a break from filming season five to appear at BAFTA Scotland.
Sam Heughan (Jamie), Catriona Balfe (Claire), and Sophie Skelton (Brianna) spoke with press before the big event and discussed final weeks of filming as well as what it’s like for Balfe and Heughan who now serve as executive producers on the show.
BAFTA Scotland—the British Academy awards celebrating Scottish film, television, and video games—did not nominate Outlander for any awards this year, but the cast appeared to show their support for the Scottish entertainment industry.
The first question posed to the trio was whether BAFTA Scotland offered them a respite from filming in the wild. As we all know, Jamie and Claire have often found themselves in the middle of the forest, whether they’re in Scotland or America. Across all four previous seasons, the element of survival in nature has been a major theme.
“They [BAFTA] allowed us in from the rain. We’re not used to that, being indoors,” Heughan admitted. Pointing to the red carpet, he added: “Can we at least get some mud with some straw down here? That would be more appropriate.”
“More at home,” Skelton agreed. Her character, Brianna, spent the last season traveling from 1700’s Scotland to America (North Carolina) to find her mother, and she did so almost entirely by herself. This combined with some other awful, unmentionable experiences made Season 4 traumatic for Brianna. So, we especially feel for her.
Balfe commented even recently during filming she found herself stuck in the wilderness.
“I was literally lying in a, on a, on a forest floor all day Friday in the rain,” Balfe said. “But it wasn’t raining enough to register, so we had a rain machine with the rain. That was just, that was my Friday.”
The conversation quickly moved from filming to producing. When asked about his new roles a producer, Heughan cracked a joke.
“We’re considering firing a few people that don’t, uh, don’t work hard enough,” Heughan said as he very pointedly stared at Skelton.
Almost in line with their characters, Balfe had a much more serious answer than her on-screen husband.
“We’ve learned a lot this year,” Balfe relayed. “It’s been really great to sort of have a seat at the table with the grownups and have a voice.”
The news that Balfe and Heughan ended up as producers on the show isn’t surprising. Back in 2018, Balfe expressed her interest to become more involved in production during an interview with Bazaar. Balfe specifically noted the importance of being involved and having a say and even joked she wanted Heughan to take on more and boss her around on set sometimes. In January 2019, Heughan told Bazaar something similar about wanting more creative control.
“We’re hoping next season to have a lot more influence in the characters and the storyline,” he said in the interview. “We’ve always wanted to be a part of it and to help influence the journey and the story and also to be the guardians of our characters and protect that.”
Heughan shared the news with fans on his producer status back in April by posting a nametag listing him as producer/cast.
It’s been confirmed that season five will follow book fives in the Diana Gabaldon series, but we know from the season four finale with Murtagh events have turned in a very different direction from the books. From a history of lower ratings—season one had an average of only 0.721 million viewers live per episode—fans don’t seem to mind the show’s deviation from the novels. The first episode of season four premiered with 1.082 million people tuning in, confirming Outlander fans of the show have only increased over its history.
Fortunately, the show has already been renewed for season five and six, so we’re guaranteed at least two more seasons. Perhaps with Heughan and Balfe on as producers, we’re in store for even more heart from the characters who fans have grown to love.
At the moment, we’re all stuck in the middle of Droughtlander, waiting for February 16th, 2020—the premier of Outlander season five on Starz. In the meantime, be sure to check out the interview the cast gave on the red carpet at Scotland’s BAFTA’s, and you can also check out Gabaldon’s books for more (and extra) Outlander story!