Here’s a new interview of Sam Heughan with the Daily Record:
Sam Heughan, star of time-travelling smash Outlander, is on the verge of scooping the Radio Times TV Champion of Champions award, seeing off some of the biggest names in broadcasting.
The 35-year-old beat heart-throb Poldark actor Aidan Turner in the semi-finals of the online contest and now faces comedy hero Ricky Gervais in the final.
Voting for the award closes tomorrow but Sam’s hoping the worldwide fans of the American series – only available on Amazon Prime in the UK – will help him win the crown.
A delighted Sam, who has launched a charity fundraising drive called My Peak Challenge, said: “We’re not on
terrestrial television in the UK so it would be terrific to win. I’d have to challenge the Radio Times to put us on the front cover if we do. They would have to, wouldn’t they Maybe it proves to the rest of the industry that this show is worth watching.”
The former River City actor, who was filming the second series of Outlander in Glasgow’s Pollok Park last week, had already won the Radio Times sci-fi award before being pitted against other category winners for the overall title. But it became a battle of the beefcakes in the semi-final when Sam – who plays Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser – went head-to-head with housewives’ favourite Poldark, who won the drama prize.
Sam, who comes from New Galloway in Dumfriesshire, said: “Poldark is one of the biggest shows in the country but I think our fans are just so motivated. They team together because they love the show so much – as well as the books the series is based on. I heard I got 6.5million votes at one point and I don’t even know how that’s possible. It’s just wonderful that people get behind us.”
Sam has become an international celebrity on the success of Outlander, a historical series set in Scotland during the Jacobite uprising. He plays the romantic hero and devotees hang on every development of his relationship with time-travelling lover Claire, played by Dublin-born actress Caitriona Balfe.
The multi-million-pound series is filmed entirely in Scotland, using scenery around Fife, Perthshire and the Central Belt. Production is based at Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld. Tour parties of American fans have begun flocking to Outlander locations and Sam is proud to be showcasing his home country.
He said: “It really does show Scotland well. It’s as authentic as it can possibly be and it’s wonderful filming here. I’d been away from Scotland for 14 years so I’ve rediscovered my own country. I just love being outdoors and going up to the Highlands. I’m recognised a bit here but in America it can be quite crazy. I did the LA marathon and, when I was heading down Sunset Boulevard, I ran past a huge billboard of myself in Outlander. It was a surreal moment.”
But Sam isn’t about to let his new-found fame or the prospect of a Radio Times Champion of Champions Award distract him from the causes closest to his heart. He took time out from filming to help relaunch his favourite charity yesterday. A long-term supporter of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, he was helping publicise its name change to Bloodwise, a move designed to increase awareness and access to support services.
Sam said: “My family have been affected by cancer – lots of relatives of mine have suffered. Having started doing work with the charity, it’s amazing the number of lives that it has touched. I’m really inspired by all the stories of those battling blood cancer. It seems to be something we can beat, though, so I want to do whatever I can to help. I started a project called My Peak Challenge earlier this year, where people raised money for the charity by challenging themselves to do particular tasks. We raised more than £100,000 so we’re just about to launch details of the next one. I really want as many people to get involved as possible. If being Jamie in Outlander gives me the chance to help like this, I’m really happy.”