Merlin To End After Current SeriesBookmark and Share

Monday, 26 November 2012 - Reported by John Bowman
The current series of Merlin will be the show's last, the BBC announced today.

Created by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Julian Murphy, and Johnny Capps, the first series began airing on BBC One on 20th September 2008, with a new series shown every year since. Now on its fifth season, the fantasy drama is scheduled to bow out on Saturday 29th December with the promise of "a spectacular finale".

Starring Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Arthur Pendragon, Katie McGrath as Morgana, Angel Coulby as Guinevere, Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon, Richard Wilson as Gaius, and John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon, viewing figures over the years have ranged between 5.37 million (series 1, episode 5: Lancelot) and 8.39 million (series 4, episode 12: Sword In The Stone, Part I). The current series average is 6.94 million. Since 2008, the show has been sold to more than 50 broadcasters in 183 countries.

Guest stars across the series have included Michelle Ryan, Santiago Cabrera, Emilia Fox, Asa Butterfield, Mackenzie Crook, Adrian Lester, Warwick Davis, Miriam Margolyes, Eddie Marsan, Will Mellor, James Cosmo, Lindsay Duncan, Janet Montgomery, James Fox, Tom Ellis, Nathaniel Parker, Michael Cronin, Charles Dance, Gemma Jones, Sarah Parish, Miranda Raison, Ben Daniels, and John Lynch.

At the San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, Capps said that a trilogy of films may be made after the fifth series of Merlin, but nothing more has been said about that in the wake of today's announcement. In a joint statement today, he and Murphy said:
This is the series where the storylines truly reach their apex. We always felt the story of the legend was best told across five series, leading to a spectacular finale that draws on the best-known elements of this much-loved story and brings to a conclusion the battle for Camelot.

We'd like to thank the amazing cast and crew for their professionalism and dedication, the BBC, [investor] Fremantle Media Enterprises, and all of our partners globally for their incredible support and encouragement across the last five series. But chiefly, our thanks go to Merlin's remarkable and loyal audience around the world for their enthusiasm for the characters and Camelot universe.

The series was made by Shine TV for BBC Cymru Wales, and BBC One controller Danny Cohen said:
Merlin's mix of magic, adventure, and humour quickly became a hit with BBC One audiences and has continued to thrill families over the past five years on Saturday nights. I admire the creators' decision to end Merlin on a high, but also know that we will miss it in the BBC One schedule.

On behalf of BBC One I would like to thank Shine and all those involved in the making of the show both on and off screen. I hope fans will tune in over the coming weeks to see the spectacularly dramatic final episodes, and we have ambitious plans for new drama in the Saturday evening slot in 2013.

Members of the main cast have each had something to say about the show coming to an end.

Colin Morgan:
From the beginning this was always going to be a five-year journey that we embarked on and I think the show has run its natural course. The show has grown and grown each year and now we've arrived at its strongest point and we've achieved what we set out to do. I know this is the end, and I know this is goodbye, but thank you for being there on the journey with us because it has been a lot of fun!

Bradley James:
The Merlin years have provided me with fond memories, great experiences, and beloved friends, and all the while we were supported by a devoted fan base who made the show a unique, surreal, and special experience. My words won't do justice to the honour of being King Arthur, so I shall just say that it has been an exceptional one and that knowing the show has been a part of so many people's lives has been humbling.

Katie McGrath:
I have always said the success of the show has stemmed from our audience being able to relate to the characters on different levels. Being based on the universally-loved Arthurian legend is only a tiny part of its success - it's a story about acceptance and growing up. The breathtaking finale of this series leaves you with no doubt that characters have been on their journeys and had their stories told - it's completely the right time to draw our telling of the story to a close.

Angel Coulby:
It has been a very special and memorable five years making Merlin. I feel extremely proud to have been part of such a brilliant show and such a great team. I think we've told the story we set out to tell, which ends with the fantastic two-part finale by the way! I believe the key to any successful show is making sure you leave people wanting more!

Richard Wilson:
Firstly, I would like to say that I'm extremely sad that Merlin has come to an end. Speaking as Gaius, I feel I have mentored the young wizard as far as I can - he is much smarter and greater than me now and I am simply exhausted!