This is what Frazer Hines looked like when he played 18th century Highlander Jamie McCrimmon, companion to the Second Doctor, in Doctor Who in 1966.
This is how he looks now.
Quite a bit different, given the almost-fifty years that have passed between photographs.
Well, I understand, from Scottish tailoring sources, that Frazer Hines is returning to the kilt later this year for an unnamed TV show.
Sadly I doubt he's playing Jamie McCrimmon in the new series of Doctor Who.
But, if I was a betting man, I'd be putting it on the new series, Outlander.
The author of the Outlander novels, Diana Gabaldon, says that the character Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan in the TV show, was inspired by Doctor Who's Jamie – as was the entire series. She writes,
After considerable thought, it seemed to me that perhaps a historical novel would be the easiest thing to try. I was a research professor, after all; I had a huge university library available, and I knew how to use it. I thought it seemed a little easier to look things up than to make them up-and if I turned out to have no imagination, I could steal things from the historical record.
Okay. Fine. Where to set this historical novel? I have no formal background in history; one time or place would do as well as another.
Enter another accident. I rarely watch TV, but at the time I was in the habit of viewing weekly PBS reruns of Doctor Who (a British science-fiction serial), because it gave me just enough time to do my nails. So, while pondering the setting for my hypothetical historical novel, I happened to see one very old episode of Doctor Who featuring a "companion" of the Doctor's-a young Scottish lad named Jamie MacCrimmon, whom the Doctor had picked up in 1745. This character wore a kilt, which I thought rather fetching, and demonstrated-in this particular episode-a form of pigheaded male gallantry that I've always found endearing: the strong urge on the part of a man to protect a woman, even though he may realize that she's plainly capable of looking after herself.
I was sitting in church the next day, thinking idly about this particular show (no, oddly enough, I don't remember what the sermon was about that day), when I said suddenly to myself, Well, heck. You want to write a book, you need a historical period, and it doesn't matter where or when. The important thing is just to start, somewhere. Okay. Fine. Scotland, eighteenth century.
So went out to my car after Mass, dug a scrap of paper out from under the front seat, and that's where I began to write Outlander; no outline, no plot, no characters-just a time and a place.
So what better way to pay tribute than to cast Frazer Hines in the show?
Because with Hines having a costume fitting, this feels like more than some fan-service cameo. Could this be the first recurring television role Hines has had since leaving Emmerdale in the Nineties – and the first recurring genre role since his last appearance as Jamie back in 1985?
Also, could there be an even greater cry for a UK broadcaster to pick the series up as a result? Maybe after the referendum?