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Sam Heughan reveals why Outlander's upcoming short season is better than usual

The new season will only be eight episodes long

Outlander star Sam Heughan has revealed why the shorter upcoming season of eight episodes will be even better than the previous 12-episode series.

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Speaking at the launch of his new book The Clanlands Almanac: Seasonal Stories From Scotland, a joint venture with co-star Graham McTavish, the actor told the audience why the new series will return better than ever.

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He said: "It’s a shortened season of eight episodes, but the episodes are much longer – the first episode runs for around an hour and a half. That extra time spent with the characters means they are really strong episodes and there are a whole load of new characters coming in."

While chatting about the drama series at the book launch, Sam also revealed that the show has boosted both the Scottish tourism industry and his career. He said: "It’s been life-changing for the tourism industry and also for our careers. Scotland is always at the heart of Outlander – I’ve always said it’s like another character in the show."

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Sam and Graham were speaking at the launch of their new travel guidebook, a spinoff from their documentary show Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham.

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Sam and Graham spoke at their book launch event 

Chatting to the audience, Graham revealed what inspired the book and told of his long-standing interest in Scottish clans, saying: "I’ve always been very interested in Scottish history and, in particular, the clans. I had this great plan in 1991 that I was going to make a series of films about clans and then sell them on DVD to clan members living abroad, but nobody was interested at the time."

"It’s so lovely to be talking about something like that 30 years later that has actually come true…We’ve been terribly lucky. We were able to write the first book because of the lockdown we were experiencing."

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Outlander returns early next year

Sam added: "Men In Kilts was pretty much one of the first shows to start shooting with Covid protocols after the first lockdown. We were very fortunate in that we had a very small crew, we were up in the Highlands and we were outdoors a lot as well."

He continued: "We drew upon a lot of contacts I had from various photoshoots and we had a fantastic crew from Outlander. We have a great core group of people and because everyone had been locked up, we were all so excited to be outdoors and working together. We were like a travelling family."

The hit historical drama series is due to return with its sixth season early next year, with filming delays caused by the pandemic resulting in eight episodes rather than the usual 12 or 13.

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