Outlander producer addresses book-to-TV changes and reveals how Beast from the East stopped filming

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has made a successful transition to the small screen, but fans of the original novels will have spotted that there are differences.

Director, producer and writer of the show Matthew B Roberts spoke to Digital Spy about these when we visited the Outlander team on-set, opening up about the series and books’ sometimes-difficult relationship.

Despite their obvious similarities, Roberts has insisted that he views his onscreen Outlander stories as “a separate thing”. “I see it that the books are the parents and the show is the children,” he told us.

“They have the same DNA but it is a different being, a different personality and if you let that thing grow you can enjoy it as a separate thing. The challenge for every season is to get it right for the TV show.”

Matthew detailed one of those challenges during season four’s filming of the Battle of Culloden, the epic proportions of which called for some restraint off the page.

“We produced [it] over 9 or 10 days and we knew we couldn’t do a whole battle, we had to structure it in a way that we could do it in little vignettes with hundreds of extras and crew out in a field, and we feel we did it right,” he said.

Having to adapt from source material isn’t the only problem Outlander was forced to tackle during filming either; the recent bad weather caused a few hiccups too. Typical.

Referencing the ‘Beast from the East’ that gripped the UK earlier this month, Roberts called the storm “one of the biggest things [we] had to deal with…since we started filming”.

“In over 500 days of shooting we had only cancelled once prior to this,” he added, “but this snow was too heavy – we just couldn’t get the crew here. We could have filmed if we could have got to the studio but we couldn’t get anywhere near. The roads were impassable.”

Season four of the hit fantasy series is expected to air later this autumn; as long as the weather stays on-side, that is.

Season 3 of Outlander is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.

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