Outlander author Diana Gabaldon: it would be “interesting” to write an episode of Doctor Who

The woman behind the smash hit time travel drama wouldn't rule out a date with The Doctor, whose companion inspired the show in the first place!

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Diana Gabaldon has eight Outlander novels and one smash hit TV adaptation of the time travel saga under her belt already but could she see herself writing an episode of Doctor Who, the show that gave birth to her beloved Jamie Fraser?

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“That would be interesting. Yes, I probably could” says Gabaldon as we discuss the inspiration for Sam Heughan’s highland heartthrob, who was based on kilt wearing Doctor Who companion Jamie McCrimmon.

“It would be a different approach though, a different endeavour because Doctor Who is not drawn from original source material which means that the episodes are straight out of the writer’s imagination, not needing to be adapted from an existing body of stuff, where you have to say ‘I must include this and I must include that’, which in a way is much easier but in another way, you’ve nothing to go on.”

Gabaldon enjoys telling RadioTimes.com the tale of the day Jamie McCrimmon brought the concept of “Scottish male pig-headed gallantry” into her mind.

The then historical researcher had intended on “writing a book for practice” and was searching for a time in which to set it when she spotted Frazer Hines’ character, Jamie McCrimmon in an old episode of Doctor Who – sixth Doctor Patrick Troughton’s War Games.

Gabaldon was struck by the image of the man in the kilt and went on to create Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. When she had completed her first novel she decided to send Hines a copy: “His manager/PR person at the time very kindly wrote back and sent me a signed photo of him. Then the manager wrote again a few months later and said “you know Frazer does these charity things, would you mind sending him a couple of signed books?’

“And I said yes, of course, so we kept in touch in this indirect way and in 2009 when they had that Gathering thing in Scotland [a two-day event celebrating Scottish culture], I know the organiser of that who had invited me to come and take part so I did and much to my surprise Frazer came along to the Gathering and that’s where we met in person for the first time,” she continues.

“We did a joint interview for the BBC about our respective works in conjunction and all that so we kept in closer touch after that, via email and so forth. I didn’t talk to him all the time, just periodically.

Then along came Outlander and Gabaldon suggested that Hines make an appearance in the Starz adaptation “just to tie back into the beginning, so to speak.” The show’s producers agreed and he was cast as the Governor of Wentworth Prison. “He was fabulous,” recalls the author. 

So if Gabaldon was to pen a Doctor Who story, who would she cast? Hines, or Heughan – who incidentally has already informed RadioTimes.com how keen he is for a role in the long-running BBC series.

“I love Doctor Who – I’d love to do sci-fi,” he told us earlier this year, revealing that he’d been trying to persuade his friend and Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss to get him a part. 

“Maybe there’s a crossover there as well,” he added, suggesting that Outlander and Doctor Who could easily combine. “It would work. I could come out of the Tardis – that’d be awesome. Let’s make this happen! If we could do that, that’d be great.”

Over to you Team Doctor Who…

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Outlander Season 1 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD