|Genre|| Serial drama |
|Created by||Julian Jones|
|Starring|| Colin Morgan |
|Theme music composer||Rob Lane|
|Opening theme||"Merlin's Arrival at Camelot"|
|Ending theme||"The Call of Destiny"|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers|| Julie Gardner |
|Production locations|| Wales, Kent and |
|Running time||45–50 minutes|
|Production company||Shine TV|
|Distributor||Endemol Shine UK|
|Original network|| BBC One |
BBC One HD (Series 4 – Series 5)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||20 September 2008 –|
24 December 2012
|Related shows||Merlin: Secrets and Magic|
Merlin (also known as The Adventures of Merlin) is a British fantasy-adventure drama television programme, loosely based on the Arthurian legends regarding the close relations of Merlin and King Arthur. Created by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy for the BBC, it was broadcast for five series on BBC One, between 20 September 2008 to 24 December 2012. The programme starred Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Richard Wilson, Angel Coulby, Katie McGrath and John Hurt.
The programme is a reimagining of the traditional legend, in which a skilled young sorcerer called Merlin is sent to the bustling kingdom of Camelot by his mother, and becomes personal servant to Prince Arthur Pendragon, the (slightly arrogant) son of the tyrannical King Uther. During his time in the city, Merlin forms a close friendship with the prince and the pair experience a handful of thrilling, often life threatening, adventures. However, Merlin must hide his magic from everyone in Camelot (apart from wise and trustworthy court physician Gaius) as Uther has outlawed the use of magic in the land and anyone caught practising it is executed. Despite this, Merlin is determined to keep Arthur safe from any harm and does his best to influence the latter into becoming the mighty king he is destined to be, unaware of what his actions will do in shaping this destiny, as well as the future of Albion.
Merlin received mixed reviews when it premiered, but gained good ratings which improved as the story progressed, becoming the most popular programme to watch on the BBC's digital catch-up service iPlayer. During its time it was nominated for several awards, winning the 2011 British Academy Film Awards for best visual effects. Broadcasting rights were sold to over 180 countries, becoming a mainstay on digital network platform Netflix in both the US and the UK.
Merlin (Colin Morgan) is a young and powerful warlock who arrives in the kingdom of Camelot after his mother arranges for him to stay with the court physician, Gaius (Richard Wilson). He discovers that the king, Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head), outlawed magic twenty years earlier in an event known as the Great Purge and imprisoned the last Dragon deep under the castle. After hearing a mysterious voice inside his head, Merlin makes his way to the cavern beneath the keep to find that he was hearing the dragon's voice. The Great Dragon (voice of John Hurt) tells Merlin that he has an important destiny: To protect Uther's son, Arthur, who is destined to unite the land of Albion as ‘the greatest king Camelot will ever have.’
When Merlin meets Arthur, he believes that he is nothing more than an arrogant bully and Arthur (Bradley James), likewise, has a less than stellar opinion of Merlin. However, the pair end up stuck with each other when Uther appoints Merlin as personal servant to his son. Despite their rocky introduction, the two experience many wild and wacky adventures, over the course of which, they form a close friendship and begin to respect and trust one another. Along the way, Merlin meets a whole bunch of characters that each play their role in Camelot’s tale, like the courageous warriors that eventually become the legendary Knights of the Round Table under Arthur’s reign (Tom Hopper, Rupert Young, Eoin Macken and Adetomiwa Edun) as well as the lovely Guinevere (Angel Coulby) who, over the course of the story, wins Arthur’s heart and eventually becomes his queen. However, everything changes when Uther's actions cause his ward, the magic-wielding Morgana (Katie McGrath), to turn against Camelot and form a plan to destroy the kingdom. Now, Merlin and Arthur must unite the whole of Albion and band together with friends, old and new, in order to save their home and fulfill their destinies.
| Series 1 |
| Series 2 |
| Series 3 |
| Series 4 |
| Series 5 |
|Arthur Pendragon||Bradley James||Main|
|Morgana Pendragon||Katie McGrath||Main|
|Uther Pendragon||Anthony Head||Main||Guest|
|Agravaine de Bois||Nathaniel Parker||Main|
|The Great Dragon / Kilgharrah||John Hurt||Recurring|
|Geoffrey of Monmouth||Michael Cronin||Recurring|
|Sir Gregory||Gary Oliver||Recurring|
|Sir Lancelot||Santiago Cabrera||Guest||Recurring|
|Mordred|| Asa Butterfield |
|Sidhe Elder||Michael Jenn||Guest||Guest|
|Sir Leon||Rupert Young||Recurring|
|Ygraine Pendragon||Alice Patten||Guest||Recurring|
|Sir Gwaine||Eoin Macken||Recurring|
|Sir Elyan||Adetomiwa Edun||Recurring|
|Sir Percival||Tom Hopper||Guest||Recurring|
|Queen Annis||Lindsay Duncan||Guest|
|The Dorchraid||Maureen Carr||Guest|
|Princess Mithian||Janet Montgomery||Guest|
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Ave. UK viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||20 September 2008||13 December 2008||6.32|
|2||13||19 September 2009||19 December 2009||5.99|
|3||13||11 September 2010||4 December 2010||6.78|
|4||13||1 October 2011||24 December 2011||7.17|
|5||13||6 October 2012||24 December 2012||7.13|
The programme was conceived by Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps.The BBC had been keen on showing a drama based on the character of Merlin for some time; a year before the Shine series was initiated, writer and producer Chris Chibnall had been developing a project aimed at a BBC One Sunday night slot, but this was ultimately not commissioned. The Shine version of the project was put into development in late 2006, commissioned by Controller of BBC One Peter Fincham and BBC Head of Fiction Jane Tranter, with Fincham keen on having more series on his channel which embodied "three generation TV – that's TV you can watch with your grandparents and children. There's not enough of that about."
The series went into production in March 2008, 's chief writer Russell T Davies had been an important influence on the tone and style of Merlin. CGI special effects for the series were provided by The Mill. The Old English for spells was written by university scholar and medievalist Dr. Mark Faulkner, and later by the script editing team. An initial series of 13 episodes, Merlin began transmission in the UK on 20 September 2008. A trailer was prepared in advance for television, cinemas, and online.with filming in Wales and France (at the Château de Pierrefonds). Two Kent locations were also used: The Barons Hall and Garden Tower at Penshurst Place, and Chislehurst Caves for the first series. The series was produced by Shine in association with BBC Wales, whose Head of Drama Julie Gardner was executive producer for the BBC. Doctor Who
US broadcaster NBC began airing Merlin on 21 June 2009; but, after a decline in viewers, it was moved to cable network Syfy, where it began broadcasting series 2 on 2 April 2010. On 19 September 2009, series 2 began airing on BBC One.On 5 September 2010, BFI Southbank in London previewed Episodes 1 and 2 of series 3 for its September Film Funday programme. A ten-episode fourth series was confirmed on 2 October 2010 (though it was rumoured to air in early 2012, later than its usual slot in autumn) so that it would not clash with the BBC's other primetime drama Doctor Who which would possibly run during the same period. In March 2011, this was revised, and the fourth series was extended to the standard 13 episodes. The fourth series was broadcast in the United States on the Syfy Channel "in early 2012." In UK, the fourth series began on Saturday 1 October 2011.
Capps and Murphy confirmed on 24 July that BBC had commissioned a fifth series.Filming for the fifth series began March 2012 in Pierrefonds, France and near Cardiff, Wales. 13 episodes were ordered. Series 5 started broadcasting on 6 October 2012. On 26 November 2012, it was announced that the series 5 of Merlin would be the last, with a two-part special concluding the series over Christmas.
A documentary series called Merlin: Secrets and Magic explains how the series was created. Apart from the initial 50-minute special, which was broadcast directly after the series two premiere, and the first episode, shown first on the Sunday repeat, all new 50-minute episodes were shown after each Merlin episode repeat on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Friday evening on BBC Three.
In April 2008, United States broadcasting rights were purchased by NBC,where it was shown on Sundays at 8 pm (EST), starting 21 June 2009. This made it the first British drama in over 30 years to be shown on US network television, as opposed to PBS or cable. The programme moved to Syfy, a cable channel also owned by NBC, for the second series, which premiered on 2 April 2010. Syfy aired the third series in early 2011, after the conclusion of the initial broadcast on BBC. It was later announced the series would air after WWE SmackDown beginning 7 January 2011 at 10 pm (9 pm Central). The distributor, FremantleMedia Enterprises, also sold broadcast rights to CTV in Canada, Network Ten in Australia and Prime in New Zealand. Currently airing on Choice TV. The series was broadcast in 183 countries and is now streaming on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Series one and two were released on DVD in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia. Series three is available in the United Kingdom, and was released in Australia on 4 August 2011. Accompanying box sets are featurettes, video diaries, and commentaries.Behind the Magic, a two-part overview of making Merlin is included with the UK series one box set, while the documentary series, Secrets and Magic, is included with series two. In Australia "The Complete Collection" boxset (23-Discs, Seasons 1-5) was released on May 13, 2015.
All five series are available on DVD (and some on Blu-ray) in North America.
Complete Box Set
Complete Box Set
|Volume 1||Volume 2||Complete Box Set|
|Release date||Discs||Release date||Discs||Release date||Discs||Release date||Discs||Release date||Discs|
|1st||24 November 2008||3||9 February 2009||3||5 October 2009||6||20 April 2010||6||30 July 2009||4|
|2nd||23 November 2009||3||8 February 2010||3||8 February 2010||6||18 January 2011||6||22 July 2010||4|
|3rd||15 November 2010||3||24 January 2011||3||24 January 2011||5||17 January 2012||5||2 August 2011||5|
|4th||28 November 2011||3||23 January 2012||3||23 January 2012||5||15 January 2013||4||1 March 2012||5|
|5th||26 November 2012||3||21 January 2013||3||21 January 2013||5||23 April 2013||4||13 February 2013||5|
|1st–5th||—||—||—||—||28 October 2013, 17 September 2018||27||4 November 2014||27||?||?|
A soundtrack for the first two series featuring music from selected episodes was released on the MovieScore Media record label.Merlin composer Robert Lane was nominated for Best Original Score for Television for the 10th annual Movie Music UK Awards (2008), the 8th edition GoldSpirit Awards (2008), and the 5th annual International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) Awards (2008). In early October 2012 MovieScore Media released the soundtrack from the third and fourth series along with that from the start of the fifth series.
|Series||Release Date||Catalog Number|
|Merlin series 1||4 November 2008||MMS08021|
|Merlin series 2||17 November 2009||MMS09027|
|Merlin series 3||2 October 2012 (digital) / 12 November 2012 (CD)||MMS12010|
|Merlin series 3 & 4, Best of||2& October 2012 (digital) / 12 November 2012 (CD)||MMS12011|
UK publisher Attic Brand Media launched an official magazine for the show in September 2011 featuring articles, puzzles and a comic strip written by Damian Kelleher and drawn by Lee Carey.The monthly magazine cost £3.20 per issue and was distributed in UK newsagents.
A Merlin attraction was created at Warwick Castle entitled Merlin: The Dragon Tower, which featured a walkthrough, a projection of Kilgharrah the dragon, Merlin from the BBC TV Series Merlin , or at least a true-to-life wax model-which was created with over 300 measurements—and a catalogue of reference shots of Colin Morgan. Upon seeing his wax work, Morgan said, "Little did I think that when I visited Madame Tussauds as a kid that I would have the honour of having the same fantastic team making a wax figure of myself. It’s truly amazing and I can’t praise their hard work enough in creating such a brilliant life-like me."
The wax model cost £150,000, and the entire castle experience was part of a £3 million investment by the Merlin Entertainment Group to promote the show.The attraction closed in 2014 and is now the site of the Warwick Castle Time Tower.
The BBC released two small Merlin-themed video games on the BBC website: a tower defense game called 'Camelot Defence', and an adventure puzzle game named 'Quest for the Mortaeus'.In 2012, a 'real-time cooperative' video game adaptation named 'Merlin: The Game' was announced and launched on Facebook. It has since been taken offline.
Uther Pendragon, also known as King Uther, is a legendary king of sub-Roman Britain and the father of King Arthur. A few minor references to Uther appear in Old Welsh poems, but his biography was first written down by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, and Geoffrey's account of the character was used in most later versions. He is a fairly ambiguous individual throughout the literature, but is described as a strong king and a defender of his people.
The Lady of the Lake is a name or a title used by several fairy-like enchantresses in the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature and mythology associated with the legend of King Arthur. They play pivotal roles in many stories, including providing Arthur with the sword Excalibur, eliminating Merlin, raising Lancelot after the death of his father, and helping to take the dying Arthur to Avalon. Different sorceresses known as the Lady of the Lake appear concurrently as separate characters in some versions of the legend since at least the Post-Vulgate Cycle and consequently the seminal Le Morte d'Arthur, with the latter describing them as a hierarchical group, while some texts also give this title to either Morgan or her sister.
Excalibur is a 1981 American epic medieval fantasy film directed, produced, and co-written by John Boorman that retells the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, based on the 15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory. It stars Nigel Terry as Arthur, Nicol Williamson as Merlin, Nicholas Clay as Lancelot, Cherie Lunghi as Guenevere, Helen Mirren as Morgana, Liam Neeson as Gawain, Gabriel Byrne as Uther Pendragon, Corin Redgrave as Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, and Patrick Stewart as Leondegrance. The film is named after the legendary sword of King Arthur that features prominently in Arthurian literature. The film's soundtrack features the music of Richard Wagner and Carl Orff, along with an original score by Trevor Jones.
Morgaine le Fey is a fictional character, a comic book supervillainess published by DC Comics. She debuted in The Demon vol. 1 #1, and was created by Jack Kirby. The character is based on Morgan le Fay, the mythical sorceress and half-sister of King Arthur first made popular in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini.
Merlin is a three-part 1998 television miniseries which originally aired on NBC that retells the legend of King Arthur from the perspective of the wizard Merlin.
Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders is a 1995–1996 American comic fantasy-themed animated children's television series produced by Bohbot Productions and Hasbro in association with Hong Ying Animation Company Limited. It was internationally syndicated by Bohbot Entertainment. The series was primarily aimed at girls and had two seasons of thirteen episodes each in 1995–1996.
Colin Morgan is a Northern Irish actor. He is best known for playing the title character in the BBC fantasy series Merlin.
"The Dragon's Call" is the first episode of the first series of the British fantasy-adventure family television series Merlin. Written by Julian Jones and directed by James Hawes, the episode was first broadcast on BBC One on 20 September 2008.
The legendary wizard Merlin is featured as a character in numerous works of fiction, especially based on Arthurian legends.
Camelot is a fantasy historical drama television series created by Michael Hirst and Chris Chibnall for Starz. An Irish-Canadian co-production, the series is based on the Arthurian legend, and stars and ensemble cast led by Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Eva Green.
The first series of Merlin, a British fantasy television series, began on 20 September 2008 and ended on 13 December 2008. Regular cast members for the first series include Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, and John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon. The first series contained thirteen episodes, with 7.15 million tuning into the premier and 6.27 for the series finale. It was the only series to be comprised completely of stand-alone episodes. Before the series finale, the BBC confirmed that the series was renewed for a further 13 episode second series. Series 2 premiered on 19 September 2009.
The second series of Merlin, is a British fantasy television series which began on 19 September 2009 and ended on 19 December 2009. Series two regular cast members include Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, and John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon. Series two contains thirteen episodes and had 5.77 million viewers for the premiere with 6.64 million viewers for the series finale. Series 2 was the first series to have a two-parter and the only series to have a two-parter mid-series. BBC renewed the show for the third series which premiered on 11 September 2010.
The third series of Merlin began on 11 September 2010. Series three regular cast members include Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Anthony Head, and Richard Wilson, as well as Emilia Fox joining the regular cast. John Hurt took his previous role as the voice of the Great Dragon but was no longer one of the regular cast. Series three consists of 13 episodes. The series three premiere was watched by 6.49 million viewers.
The fourth series of the British drama series Merlin began on 1 October 2011 with the episode "The Darkest Hour - Part 1". It consists of 13 episodes originally shown on Saturday evenings on BBC One and BBC One HD. The series producer was Sara Hamill, and executive producers were Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy. The directors of the series include Alice Troughton, Alex Pillai, Justin Molotnikov and Jeremy Webb. Writers include Julian Jones, Howard Overman, Jake Michie, Lucy Watkins, and Richard McBrien.
The fifth and final series of the British fantasy drama series Merlin began broadcasting on 6 October 2012 with the episode "Arthur's Bane - Part 1" and ended on 24 December 2012 in the UK, with "The Diamond of the Day - Part 2". It consists of 13 episodes shown on Saturday evenings on BBC One and BBC One HD. Series producer is Sara Hamill and executive producers are Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy. Directors include Justin Molotnikov, Ashley Way, Alice Troughton and Declan O'Dwyer. Writers include Julian Jones, Howard Overman, Jake Michie and Richard McBrien.
The Matter of Britain character Morgan le Fay has been featured many times in various works of modern culture, often but not always appearing in villainous roles. Some modern stories merge Morgana's character with her sister Morgause or with aspects of Nimue. Her manifestations and the roles given to her by modern authors vary greatly, but typically she is being portrayed as a villainess associated with Mordred.
Artus - Excalibur is a musical loosely based on the legends of the 5th/6th-century British monarch, King Arthur and his fabled sword, Excalibur. The score is by Frank Wildhorn, with lyrics by Robin Lerner and book by Ivan Menchell. Arrangements and orchestrations by Koen Schoots. The musical had its world premiere at the Theater St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland on March 15, 2014. It is set to premiere in Korea in 2019 under the name “Xcalibur”
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