The anticipation is building among Outlander fans looking forward to the second half of season 7, which is due to be streamed worldwide later this year.

And the prequel, Blood of My Blood, has also been whetting appetites, with filming underway and all the major roles now filled. As well as the four main actors who will play the parents of Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall, we’ve also had Tony Curran unveiled as the Jacobite clan chief, Lord Lovat.

And the flurry of casting announcements has turned minds back more than 10 years, to the heady summer of 2013 when Starz and Sony Pictures were starting work on the very first series of Outlander. Sam Heughan was announced as Jamie Fraser on July 9…. much to the evident delight of author Diana Gabaldon.

In a quote that turned out to be 100% accurate, she said: “Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart. Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters.”

And Executive Producer Ronald D Moore, who first developed Diana’s books for the screen and is still involved with the show, said: ”
“From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast. I had no one in mind for the part. I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser. And that’s what Sam did.”

Two months later, on September 11, 2013, “after a very lengthy search and multiple screen tests”, Caitriona Balfe was unveiled as the actress to play Claire Randall, the married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743.

Once again, Gabaldon was delighted with the choice. “Hard to believe lightning can strike twice, but it surely did,” she said. “The moment Caitriona Balfe came on screen, I sat up straight and said, ‘There she is!’ She and Sam Heughan absolutely lit up the screen with fireworks.”

Moore explained that Claire’s casting was “crucial to the success of our show” because “the story is told from her point of view and we experience the entire story through her eyes”. He continued: “Caitriona wasn’t on anyone’s radar, she wasn’t on any list, but when we saw her audition tape, we immediately knew she was someone special. Then, after we had her read with Sam, we knew we’d found our Claire.”


By Ivaylo Angelov

Ivaylo Angelov born in Bulgaria, Varna graduated School Geo Milev is Tvserieswelove's Soaps Editor and oversees all of the section's news, features, spoilers and interviews.