Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe reveal what’s in store for Outlander Season 4

The stars preview what life will be like as Jamie and Claire head to America
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There’s not a kilt or castle in sight when Outlander makes its much-anticipated return. But never fear, fans, our beloved Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) will still leave us swooning as we follow their epic love story in the new setting of North Carolina in America.

The hit show, inspired by US author Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling novels, has had us hooked from the moment English World War II nurse Claire Randall was magically transported back to 1743 Scotland and found her true love, Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser.

Based on Diana’s fourth book, Drums Of Autumn, season four follows Jamie and Claire to Wilmington, North Carolina.

At the end of season three, the duo left the Caribbean, bound for Scotland, but were caught in a storm and washed up on a beach in Georgia.

In a twist of fate, they’ve arrived in the country that time-traveller Claire will call home 200 years in the future.

When TV WEEK met Caitriona and Sam recently, they delved into the motivation behind the location shift.

“A big part of the reason they decide they want to stay in America is that emotional bond,” Caitriona, 39, explains. “Claire raised her daughter [Brianna, played by Sophie Skelton] in America and knows what’s to come in that country.

“For Jamie, it’s the idea this is the land that will become his daughter’s land, and if he could [help] shape the politics of that country, then he’d want to do that for her.

“It’s a beautiful tie they both have to America.”

Can Jamie and Claire start over in a foreign land?

The immigrant experience was one the Irish actress could relate to.

“I moved to America when I was in my early 20s,” Caitriona says. “And there’s a beautiful thing about when you arrive in a new country and you embrace it so much, yet you retain so much of what you brought with you.

“It was gorgeous to watch Jamie and Claire never abandon their Scottish-ness, but, at the same time, embrace America as an opportunity to build a new home.”

Meanwhile, Sam revealed that while he was excited about the new setting, he was initially sceptical about the North Carolina locations being shot in Scotland.

“I asked Diana for a list of places from the book and went to see them for myself,” Sam, 38, says.

“I went to Wilmington and near Asheville, and I couldn’t get over how similar the forests and mountain ranges are between America and Scotland.

“It explains why so many Scots settled there around that time.”

Jamie and Claire have big plans for their new home.

Claire and Jamie’s first task is to find a new home with their extended family – Jamie’s nephew Young Ian (John Bell), adopted son Fergus (César Domboy) and Fergus’ wife, Marsali (Lauren Lyle).

Naturally, things don’t go smoothly.

In the opening episode, a kind gesture by the couple leads to an act of violence against them when new villain Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) steals a cherished memento from Claire and leaves Jamie beaten up and penniless.

Of course, the first episode also features another passionate love scene between the couple, and that means Sam is shirtless – again!

“Do I enjoy it? No, I don’t, but it’s just a part of Outlander,” Sam says good-naturedly. “I enjoy working out and getting a six-pack, but I just wish I could be unbuttoned maybe only three or four buttons for those scenes.”

Caitriona adds they both pride themselves on remaining professional while filming the intimate scenes.

“Sam and I are close and we have each other’s backs,” she explains. “I think you have to go into any scene putting your character first. When ‘action’ is called, it’s Claire and Jamie in the scene, so it’s important to go forward with what the characters’ needs are first.”

Fans can expect more steamy scenes from the lovers.

For more from our interview with Sam and Caitriona pick up a copy of this week’s issue of TV WEEK.

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