OUTLANDER author Diana Gabaldon has said the BBC phoned her before an interview to ensure she did not make any “inflammatory” comments on Scottish independence.

Speaking to The National, the best-selling writer revealed that in 2014 the broadcaster had “cautiously” contacted her to ensure she “didn’t inflame the controversy” around the 2014 referendum “any more than unavoidable”.

The American made the comments while in Scotland for the Edinburgh International Book Festival after releasing the ninth addition to her series that has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and inspired the hit TV show of the same name.

She said during the interview, where she was accompanied by Tom Devine and another guest, she stayed “studiously neutral” which “didn’t get me in trouble with the BBC”.

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The 70-year-old said the BBC was worried about being seen to be taking a side over the referendum.

During the 2014 vote, the American came out as a “mibby”, saying while she was sympathetic to self-determination, she knew friends on both sides and ultimately it wasn’t her country.

Asked if she is still on the fence over Scotland’s constitutional future, Gabaldon said: “I’d say so yeah. My son-in-law is Scots and he was anti-independence for good reasons, according to him.

“It was quite a deal last time I came to the book fair. In fact, this was during that year [2014].

“The BBC called me up to interview me cautiously beforehand and made sure I would not make any inflammatory statements about independence during the interview.

The National: Diana Gabaldon said her comments 'did not upset the BBC'Diana Gabaldon said her comments 'did not upset the BBC'

“As it is, I was on the interview with Tom Devine, who is vigorously pro-independence. And another gentleman whose name I forget, he was also pro-independence, but a little more wishy-washy about it.

“So I was just sitting there being studiously neutral. And, of course, the interviewer asked, ‘what do you think about this?’, and I gave him a modified answer along the lines of what I put there [in The Telegraph].

“I said, ‘that said, I am an American and so you know, in principle, we're sort of in favour of people being independent of England’.

“That caused people to laugh and didn’t get me in trouble with the BBC.”

Asked for further clarification, Gabaldon said: “They did not want me to say anything inflammatory, they very much did not want me to say that.”

Asked why the broadcaster would make such an enquiry pre-interview, Gabaldon said: “I think they didn’t want to inflame the controversy anymore than unavoidable because they couldn’t be seen to be taking sides one way or another.”

Gabaldon said Scottish independence wasn’t a topic she had consistently thought about since 2014 but added that since things have changed, pointing to Brexit, she would want to take a deeper look at the issue before deciding if she had changed her mind.

“I figured if the question rose again then I'd see what the circumstances were,” she said.

“They have changed because of Brexit but I’d want to go back and look into it very carefully to see, is there a chance of Scotland actually being able to be self-supporting?

The National: Outlander follows the story of a 20th-centry English nurse who time travels to 18th-century Scotland. From left: Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser Outlander follows the story of a 20th-centry English nurse who time travels to 18th-century Scotland. From left: Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser

“I mean, I don't know whether tourism alone could do it. But you know, have they other resources? Will they be able to join the EU, for example, since I know, that's one of the things they would like to do.

“And how would that alliance affect things? So, these are all things that I don't know and have not had a chance to investigate.

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“I want to do that before I give you any sort of an answer.”

The BBC has been approached for comment.

Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish are just two of the show’s stars to come out in favour of independence.

Heughan, who stars as Jamie Fraser in Outlander, said the show made him appreciate “resource-rich” Scotland while McTavish said a second independence referendum would give Scotland chance to "shape one’s own destiny as a nation”.