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