November 26th 2012–It was announced today that the current series of international hit drama Merlin will be the last with a dramatic finale premiering this Christmas.
Broadcast on BBC One and to over 180 territories globally, Shine Group and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) today confirmed this telling of the Arthurian legend reaches its natural and dramatic conclusion at the end of the current, and fifth, series.
Launched on BBC One last month, this series of Merlin depicts Camelot at the height of its ‘golden age’ and has to date peaked at 7.1 million viewers in its now-well-established Saturday night slot. The two-part finale premieres on BBC One this Christmas.
Originally debuting in 2008, Merlin stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby with Richard Wilson at Gaius and John Hurt as the voice of the Dragon. Merlin has regularly attracted an audience of over 6 million in the UK and rated successfully globally airing in territories including the US (SyFy), Germany (Super RTL), France (Canal +) and Australia (Network Ten).
With the conclusion of the series, Shine Group and FME are in the early stages of exploring potential new spin-offs based on the characters within the magical Camelot universe. Originally created and produced by Shine TV, FME are an investor in Merlin and hold the exclusive distribution (excluding UK), home entertainment and licensing rights to the property.
Co-creators and Executive Producers Johnny Capps and Julian 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, 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.”
Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One 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 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. 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”
David Ellender, Global CEO, FME added: “Merlin’s huge global success is a testament to everyone involved–the producers, the BBC, our global broadcast and licensing partners, and the truly amazing fan base around the world. We’re excited about possible spin-off opportunities inspired by the brilliant reimagining of Camelot and of course we will continue to support Merlin globally until it reaches its incredibly exciting finale in all territories.”
With Merlin concluding, it was also announced today that Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy are leaving Shine at the end of the year in order to start their own production company. The pair, who joined Shine TV in 2002, have been jointly responsible in their roles as Creative Directors, Shine Drama for shows including the Emmy-winning Sugar Rush (C4), Hex (Sky 1), Sinchronicity (BBC Three) and Demons (ITV). Any future Merlin spin-offs would be produced by fellow Shine Group company Kudos in partnership with FME.
Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy said: “It has been a wonderful five years with Merlin and ten overall with Shine, but we have always had the ambition to branch out ourselves at some point and now feels the time to take that leap. We do so with great memories, respect and best wishes for our Shine colleagues and in the knowledge that if there were to be any subsequent adventures, the world of Camelot is in safe hands.”
Shine Group CEO, Alex Mahon said: “Merlin has been an amazing success domestically and internationally, it goes out with an epic finale worthy of this amazing series and we are excited about potential future stories that could be told about the Camelot universe. We are also understanding of Johnny and Julian wanting to try something of their own at this juncture, they do so with everybody at Shine’s best wishes after a decade of being great colleagues.”
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Notes to Editors
Shine Group – Patrick Keegan Patrick.Keegan@shinegroup.tv + 44 7990 555305
FME – Belinda Thomas Belinda.Thomas@fremantlemedia.com + 44 7833 093351
BBC – Kyla Jardine firstname.lastname@example.org + 44 7718 69875