SCOTTISH actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish told an American audience why they believe in independence during an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper, which is the US’s biggest metropolitan daily newspaper boasting a readership of 1.3 million people, featured the interview about the pair’s new show Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham.

The new series, airing on Starz, follows the Outlander cast members as they explore their homeland and delve into its culture and history. The programme is a companion to the pair’s 2020 book Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other.

While the show is not outwardly political, it touches on Scotland’s links to Europe – highlighting the country’s dislike of Brexit, for which 62% of people voted against.

The pair, who were both vocal independence campaigners in 2014, also hope to get across their feelings about Scotland in the docu-series in a more subtle way.

“I think, hopefully, the stories that we tell and the love letter that we give to Scotland with the show speaks to our own views on independence without banging a drum about it,” McTavish told the newspaper.

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“Scotland is a place to be celebrated if you’re Scottish or if you’re not Scottish, and somewhere to be very proud of.

“I’m not nationalistic in the sense that I think we’re better than someone else. I just think it’s about having a pride in your own country and where you come from, and having a feeling of connection to that. That was really what Sam and I wanted to get across, was our own personal feelings of pride and wanting to share the story of Scotland and what it has to offer.”

Meanwhile Heughan – who in December shared The National’s front page on the First Minister’s work making the case for independence to a global audience, adding: “Time to escape being dictated to by buffoons” – said Scottish independence is about “being open to the rest of the world”.

He told the LA Times: “I’m not a politician … I’m wary of actors being asked of their politics or their stance — but also, why not?

“Especially when we’re doing a show about Scotland and Scottish heritage and culture. It’s something to be proud of …

“Nationalism, I think, is not a good thing and we’ve seen the rise of it in America. But actually Scottish nationalism is slightly different. It’s not about closing borders, it’s about being open to the rest of the world and not being insular.”

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McTavish added that calls for a new vote on independence are Scotland being “given the chance to shape one’s own destiny as a nation”.

The National:

Men in Kilts was shot over three weeks during August last year, when domestic travel was allowed. The show was one of the first to start production under Scotland’s new Covid-19 protocols.  

The series launched on Sunday on Starz, however there is not yet a release date for the UK.

To read the full story, visit the LA Times.