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BY COLIN VICK­ERY

HOW Mer­lin changed. When fan­tasy-ad­ven­ture se­ries started in 2008 it was a Robin Hood-style kids’ romp filled with ac­tion and fire­breath­ing dragons.

Much like the Harry Pot­ter movies, Mer­lin has since be­come pro­gres­sively darker. The main char­ac­ters— Mer­lin (Colin Mor­gan), Arthur (Bradley James), Guin­e­vere (An­gel Coulby) and Mor­gana (Katie Mc­grath) — are grow­ing up.

A fifth se­ries of Mer­lin has just been com­mis­sioned. Did you ever think the show would be this suc­cess­ful? I don’t think any­one thought it would end up where it has. That’s not to say we didn’t be­lieve in the sto­ries. Five years is a hard thing to imag­ine for any com­mit­ment. The fan base is grow­ing big­ger right across the world. Howhas the Mer­lin char­ac­ter changed? It was al­ways go­ing to be a tale of grow­ing up for Mer­lin. How does he be­come the great wiz­ard that we know from the leg­ends? Mer­lin is the one who is most lost amongst ev­ery­one. That is be­cause the one thing he loves (magic) is the one thing he can­not do (be­cause it is out­lawed) in Camelot. We have seen him go from a naive boy who trusted in peo­ple a lit­tle bit too much to now hav­ing gained wis­dom, power and strength. We’re see­ing him grow into a young man. The same thing has hap­pened with Arthur, who has just be­come king. This is the big­gest step but it has hap­pened in the wrong way. Arthur’s fa­ther died by magic, which is not what Mer­lin wanted at all. Now there are has the higher stakes. Every­thing could be lost. The show cen­tres on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Mer­lin and Arthur. Howdo you get on with your costar Bradley James? We were all new when we started this show so we were all em­bark­ing on this ad­ven­ture to­gether. Bradley and I were al­ways go­ing to have a lot of scenes to­gether. We have a great rap­port. The tone of the show has changed, es­pe­cially in se­ries three­when Mor­gana (Katie Mc­grath) be­came a vil­lain. I think the se­ries is at its strong­est when it goes a lit­tle bit darker. It will al­ways have el­e­ments of humour but we’re en­ter­ing into se­ri­ous ter­ri­tory now. You see our char­ac­ters go­ing through these huge emo­tional things that are go­ing to change their lives for­ever. They are sto­ries that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’re not afraid to go in that di­rec­tion. Mor­gana seems to hate Camelot even more in the cur­rent se­ries. One of Mer­lin’s big things is us­ing your pow­ers for the right rea­sons. Mor­gana is the per­fect ex­am­ple of how things can go so badly wrong. It is a great shift for Katie’s char­ac­ter and she does it per­fectly. Mer­lin Chan­nel 10, Sun­day, 6.30pm

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