'Outlander' casting: Jamie Fraser to be played by Sam Heughan

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Starz announced on Tuesday (July 9) that Sam Heughan will play the male lead, Jamie Fraser, in " Outlander." Adapted from a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, the TV series will premiere in 2014.

Heughan's character of Jamie is a Scottish warrior living in the mid-18th century. He begins a passionate affair with Claire Randall, a combat nurse from 1945 England who is mysteriously transported back in time to 1743. The character of Jamie is described as "intelligent, principled, and, by 18th century standards, educated and worldly, with a tenderness and compassion that stands out in contrast to his contemporaries." A man with a price on his head, Jamie wants nothing more than to return to his family's farm.

"Oh. My. God. That man is a Scot to the bone and Jamie Fraser to the heart," author Diana Gabaldon said of the casting choice. "Having seen Sam Heughan not just act, but be Jamie, I feel immensely grateful to the production team for their painstaking attention to the soul of the story and characters."

"From the very beginning, I knew the part of Jamie Fraser would be difficult to cast," executive producer Ronald D. Moore ( "Battlestar Galactica"). "I had no one in mind for the part. I knew that someone would just come into the audition and be Jamie Fraser. And that's what Sam did."

An actor known for both theater and TV work in Britain, Heughan was nominated for a British Soap Award for his role of Scott Neilson in BBC's " Doctors." Other credits include " River City," "Island at War," "The Wild West," "Midsomer Murders" and " Any Human Heart."

This is the first major casting announcement for "Outlander." Does it work? Who should play Claire opposite Heughan's Jamie?

Photo/Video credit: Diana Gabaldon/Facebook, Sam Heughan fan page
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