Catching Up With the ‘Outlander’ Lads for ‘Men in Kilts’

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Imagine the pitch meeting. Two fun-loving superstars from your biggest hit series — Outlander — tell you about a project they developed, where they travel around in a camper van, engaged in witty banter, while exploring the scenery, culture, cuisine and people that make Scotland amazing. The meeting took all of about 30 minutes and the answer was an immediate yes. For Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (Heughan plays 18th-century Highlander Jamie Fraser; McTavish was his now-dear-departed uncle, Dougal MacKenzie), their adventures were amazing and are chronicled in Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip With Sam and Graham (Starz, Sundays 9/8c). Here the lads share some highlights.

So how did Sam get to be the designated driver for this?
Graham McTavish: That was really the result of a night before with Duncan Lacroix [he plays Murtagh Fraser], staying out far too late, feeling wretched, literally feeling wretched in the car park. As I walked toward the van. And we had never discussed who was going to drive. And I just said, well, why don’t you drive? And I didn’t realize until too late that Sam had never driven a camper van before.
Sam Heughan: I wouldn’t let him do any driving because I wanted to do it because I enjoy it. However, as soon as I got into the camper van, I realized, “Oh, I’ve actually never driven one of these before” or driven manual for a number of years. So it was trial by fire.

One of your episodes [Sunday, March 7] covers Scotland’s superstitions — tell us about that.
Scots are extremely superstitious, and we have this very dark history, especially around witchcraft. We found out ways they would make a witch admit to being a witch. Graham was a willing, I guess, volunteer.
Graham: I’m very superstitious about being in graveyards with Sam Heughan, that’s for sure, as a result of that episode. He did his very best to terrify me.

What do you hope viewers walk away with?
Sam: I hope people feel that they can go on their own road trips and adventures, and Scotland is certainly a place that’s made for that. You can literally go out the door and go up the road and you’re already there. You go past ruined castles or battlefields or lochs or mountains, and there’s so much history just there. I know other countries have theirs, but there’s something about Scotland — it’s very tangible. You can feel it, and hopefully it’ll inspire other people to go on their own road trips. And obviously you need to find a willing companion.

Graham: Graham: I think there’s a real beautiful melancholy about Scotland, but that really sets it apart in some ways. It’s not sad so much as it’s just got this underlying note of beautiful melancholy is the only way I can describe it.|

Heughan: It’s hard [to describe] and it’s bleak, isn’t it in places? And in that is beauty. And I think, the lives that have lived here and they’re all so vibrant, but also heavy and dark, as well. Some of the stories and some of the things that happened, its incredible. And it’s only a few generations ago, really, that all this was happening. I’ve always thought it really interesting that Americans or Canadians or people [in general], they sort of say, “oh I’m Scottish.” And before I did Outlander, I kind of questioned that, I’m like, “are you?” But then I realized doing the show, that actually it is only a couple of generations ago. So there is something inherent inside them, it does call to them. We make them yearn for their homeland, for Scotland. And I think it’s really interesting thing to explore.

Witchcraft & Superstition
Sunday, March 7
Sam and Graham take a deep dive into old superstitions, witch trials and their imprint on the country. Plus, Sam spends the episode trying to scare Graham at every turn.

Sunday, March 14
Few countries on the planet rival Scotland when it comes to proud tradition. Sam and Graham roll their sleeves up and take part in some of these traditions that continue in remote rural communities including craft, language and storytelling.

Scotland by Land, Air and Sea
Sunday, March 28
This duo is beyond proud of their heritage and their majestic homeland. Sam and Graham show off the beauty of Scotland — the rolling hills, epic mountain ranges and jagged shorelines — in this jaw-dropping journey.

Clans & Tartans
Sunday, April 4
Scotland’s feudal clan system defined the country and still plays a massive part in the modern culture and identity of its people. Sam and Graham set out to discover how they (and their Outlander characters) fit into a system forged through war and peace.

The Battle of Culloden
Sunday, April 11
No moment in Scottish history helped shape the country more than the Battle of Culloden. In this final episode, Sam and Graham will discover how a single hour on the battlefield forever changed a nation and its people.