It has been announced today that Merlin’s current series will be its last. For the last five years Merlin has been BBC One’s alternate Saturday evening family drama, successfully filling the slot between Doctor Who’s series and Christmas special.
Despite rumours that the show was axed by the BBC, the decision to conclude the series at the end of its fifth series was made by Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, the series co-creators and executive producers.
Capps and Murphy issued a statement saying; "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."
They continue, "We'd like to thank the amazing cast and crew for their professionalism and dedication, the BBC, FME 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."
Programmers at BBC One add, "Merlin's mix of magic, adventure and humour quickly became a hit with BBC One audiences and has continued to thrill families over the last 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."
Members of the cast had the following to say;
Colin Morgan (Merlin): "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 (King Arthur): "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 (Morgana): "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 (Guinevere): "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 (Gaius): "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!"
In a Saturday tea time slot that is overfilled with reality TV and “Talent” shows, it was refreshing that original family drama such as Merlin found an audience off of the back of Doctor Who’s success and while many have come and gone (with mixed results) on both BBC One and ITV, hopefully there will be other shows like this to take its place and stand alongside The Doctor!
Merlin’s two-part finale will be shown on BBC One at Christmas.
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