Merlin series 5 confirmed to be its last

News Louisa Mellor 25 Nov 2012 - 00:01

It's official: the BBC's Merlin will draw to a close at the end of the current series...

After five succesful series, it would be unfair to use the word 'cancellation' to describe the end of Merlin, so let's say the BBC's magical family fantasy has come to a close.

In a press release confirming that the current fifth season (read our reviews here) will be its last, co-creators and head writers Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps thank Merlin's loyal audience for their support, and tease a spectacular ending for the Arthurian series. Here's what they, and the rest of the cast, had to say:

“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” 

Colin Morgan (Merlin) said, “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) said, “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) said, "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) said, "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) said, “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!"

Read our reviews of Merlin's final series, here.

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In our house, we're avid viewers of Merlin, and we'd assumed that this was how it would pan out, from the tone of the earlier episodes to the speculation about a movie spin-off. A consistently good family series, and truly the best to come out of the Saturday night drama resurgence (barring Who, of course)- hoping that 2013 brings something just as good...

This makes me unbelievably sad, but not at all surprised. The guys have always said it was a five year show, fair play to them for sticking with that. I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing the last few eps. And, I assume, sobbing through a fair percentage of the finale.

I've enjoyed the BBC's recent Saturday night alternatives to Doctor Who (much more than ITV's attempts - such as Demons & Primeval) and although I am sad to see this end, I expected it and I am rather looking forward to their new Saturday tea time show based on The Three Musketeers.

Merlin or Doctor Who.......can't say the prospect of either fills me with any joy. Three musketeers, very original. Christ I wish game of Thrones or Sherlock was back on TV, still..at least we have the Walking Dead to look forward to.

Sad Very Sad news i have enjoyed the Ride that the cast and Crew have Given us Fans. its been truly one of the best i could have asked for. wishing everyone on the show in front and behind the camera all the best in life and careers

i so think this is wrong. I think we as fans needed to start series 5 knowing it was the end. announcing mid season is both wrong and hurtful to fans. I( think one more season would have been great.

My main gripe is not the fact we have had had no reveal. But more on how Arthur views Merlin. Yeah he is probably his best friend if truth be told but i still feel Arthur respects is knights more than Merlin. Yeah he respects more, nut as a friend i would say he prefers Merlin to knights, yet as respecting them it is the other way around.

I feel the big reveal should be in a season finale with the following season to wrap up all reactionss and developments from the big reveal.

Series 5 should have ended with the reveal and series 6 to end the show showing how Arthur grows to accpet and love Merlin the Sorcerer and not Merlin the servant.

Series 6 should have been a definate. If not then series 4 should have ended with the reveal and series 5 could have shown the outcome of such reveal.

You say " I think we as fans needed to start series 5 knowing it was the end." but it's been no secret. When Merlin started in 2008 the makers said it would be a 5 year run.

Come on!!! 5 bloody series of Arthur being knocked out so Merlin can finally used his powers and its over before we can get a run with a 'proper' Merlin.

Sad news as i feel despite a strong opening two episodes, so far season 5 has been a bit of a chore to watch which makes the end a waste of a series. The last few episodes feel like a retread of early series. Gwen has replaced Morgana for the shifty grins and assination attempts on the king, now Arthur instead of Uther whilst we get the same ole Merlin knowing full well but doing nowt about it. His reveal should have been a few episodes ago so we can now go on adventures with them and Merlin can do his thing without Arthur being knocked out. (It got tired in Smallville and it's silly now in Merlin) This show could have been so much better this series.

"The show has grown and grown each year and now we've arrived at its strongest point"

Couldn't disagree more, -the show is hardly any further forward than it was 5 years ago.
Apart from Uther dying and Arthur becoming King there has been no character development for the main characters (ok so Morgana became a Pantomime evil witch but that's hardly character development - and don't get me started on 'evil' Gwen...one minute she loves Arthur, next she wants him dead...crap).

Merlin is no further forward at all and his powerful magic has developed to no more than flinging people into walls or trees or moving small objects (same as Morgana's 'poweful' magic, which is lame considering he is supposed to be a Warlock and her a High Priestess).

They have such good source material and have just ruined it (Why kill of Lancelot in such a lame way when he's an integral character? And what about Excalibur, Lady in the Lake, Avalon, Holy Grail etc....barely mentioned)...Arthurian Legend deserves better.

I've watched the show from the beginning hoping it would become something which it ultimately hasn't...at least we've got Game of Thrones...

I wonder know, what will be the next alternative to Doctor Who? I never really got into Merlin, but I would be intrigued to what BBC do next.

Sadface indeed, as I will miss Gaius' wigs and one-liners, but this means that this series might continue and even end on the darker note it's currently been set to.

The Three Muskehounds you mean, surely?

I think they should resurrect Dick Turpin seeing as the trend is more towards English Legends and Folklore rather than literary classics.

Turpin would be good. Something Piratey maybe too?

Never mind Excalibur, The Lady In The Lake, Lancelot's betrayal etc. Angel Coulby's cleavage steadily got more impressive as the seasons rolled by. Theres still the unanswered question of how big could it go?

I'm personally glad given how awful this season has been, it's constant repetition filled with the worst attempts at making original story lines I've ever seen, everyone I know has literally bashed their heads in at the sheer stupidity this season has taken.

I couldn´t agree more. The series got actually worse year after year, when it became clear that the writers were unable to come up with more than the same three plots again and again, at times written so badly that it hurt to watch. Even the handful of fantastic plot ideas, like Uther´s return as a ghost, got drenched in the same old treatment. Sometimes the characters were forced to act as stupid as possible so that a desired plot could even work. At times, I felt really sorry for the actors, who were the only reason to watch this, because they gave all their heart to breath some life into this lifeless, cliché-ridden excuse for an arthurian retelling.

I also totally agree with you. Its pants. I am sick of it. And its hardly changed as stated above. Morgana is a Pantomime evil witch. And Merlin is no further forward. Arthur should know about him by now. What happens in the last episode? Does he finally find out 10 minutes before the end credits? Or will Arthur die in the last one, without ever knowing? You know what? I no longer care. Its just so repetitive. Dear BBC....can you please stop doing guff like this AND PUT DOCTOR WHO ON FOR A FULL SEASON AGAIN!!! Save the money, dont do another filler crap fest like Robin Hood, Three Muskateers ( If they do this, who is going to bet that the politicallay correct BBC will do something stupid, like make it the five muskateers, one of them as a woman, one of them will be black, the other a muslim etc etc..) or Merlin. Save the cash, put on Doctor Who and STOP MESSING ABOUT!

Totally, agree. I had high hopes for this to begin with and even stuck with it out of some small hope that it would pick itself up. But no, it's been treading water for 5 years and now it's going to drown in it's own mounting effluence. How the hell can they ever hope to resolve a storyline this epic with the episodes remaining ?

And then their was the great dither during the last two years, so nobody was 100% sure anymore.

Well, fair so's to sticking to the five season rule, but I really can't see how they're going to wrap this up in the episodes we've got left. We've spent a long period of the series... well, pissing around with fillers really. Come on, we've waited five years for this big reveal, we need more than to episodes on this!

exactly i remember seeing an interview with Katie Mcgrath where she said she and the production company thought there may be a sixth season. Knowing this now i wish season 4 had ended with the reveal and season 5 to show how Arthur and Merlin moved on from this. I don't want episode 12 cliffhanger reveal with a single episode to cover such a monumental reveal. Which lets face it has been hanging over Merlin for 4.5 seasons so far

Game of Thrones handles an amount of plot ten times as big in far less time, so it is possible. Which reminds me of that interview the producers gave this year, about how GoT impressed them and how they would try to go a bit more in that direction. I have no idea how I could even think about getting my hopes up when I read that. I should have known better. Seriously, GRR Martin (and the two producers over there) handle a dozen and more plots with greater care and skill than those four guys have been able to do with just one. So you might have a point there, in the end. You´re right, I don´t think the end will be satisfying. At all.

That was a bit of a surprise for me; I wasn't expecting this series to be the last. Okay so in the remaining episodes of this series they need to reveal Merlin's magic, snap Gwen out of Morgana's control, kill Morgana after she's learned that Merlin is Emrys, have Mordred kill Arthur or at least badly wound him (we didn't actually see how serious the injury was in Merlin's vision in Arthur's Bane), have Merlin kill Mordred or possibly save Arthur or both, have a fight between Kilgharrah and Aithusa and I really hope that Freya appears too even if it's only a cameo appearance.
I have to admit I have been feeling that the series has been going down hill since series 4. Series 4 was basically a rewrite of Series three. The only important things that happened in that series were Uthers death, Arthur officially becoming king (although he was basically king already due to Uther's condition), Arthur's marriage to Guinevere and Merlin hatching Aithusa. I did enjoy the series, but the overall storyline was not very imaginative. I will be sad when the series ends; it's not as good as Doctor Who, but it is enjoyable, albeit rather predictable. One of the things I would be most upset about is if Freya does not appear at least one more time; she was one of my favourite characters and it's a shame that she's only appeared in two episodes. I hope she appears in the finale like she did in The Coming of Arthur; if she doesn't I'll be very disappointed. Unfortunately I'm not expecting her to return so I'm preparing myself for the likely disappointment.

I know! Season 1 was great , season 2 was awesome, season 3 was positively phenomenal, and season 4 was..............cataclysmic.

Recycled plots, mushy Arthur/Merlin scenes, corny asassination attempts; I was so completely disappointed. Then Season 5 came along. I had hoped it would be awesome, and it is much more exciting and less mushy, but still leaves much to be desired!

Merlin went from an amazing family show, to a corny oversweet, look-at-these-men-aren't-they-sexy-show. Really, I think the knights and Arthur and Merlin are very good-looking, but that doesn't mean I want them to take their shirts off for half an episode, EVERY episode. And the potty jokes were neither funny nor neccessary. Merlin needs to shape up soon. Maybe the finale episodes will be good. (They better be, as I'm planning on crying through the whole thing anyway:P)

MERLIN I LOVE YOU! I WANT THE OLD SHOW THAT I LOVED BACK!!!!!

Thank god for that , Hated this series , mabey the Spinn Off will be good

Thank God for that! It was no Michael Praed "Robin Hood" as far as period fantasy went.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m literally in tears!!! I love Merlin!!! Its my fav show (well equal to doctor who!) I really thought they would do one more series for us fans! Why??? I wouldn't have hurt to give us just one more series!!! I want to find out more about the knights and Morgana!! We can't find out all that in the remaining 5 eps!! And Gwaine! My fav character of all time in anything!! I can't live without know i will get to see more of his amazingness!!! There is still so many unaswered things they can't just end it now!!!! I really don't think they realize how many hearts they have just shattered! :( :( :( :( :( :(

it has left a gapping hole in my heart. i never want it to end. it has made my staurday nights what they are now.(i also love Sherlock)
I LOVE MERLIN!!!!!!!!
PLZ DON'T END!!!!

At last. I know people will say "Don't like it, don't watch it" but I pay my license fee and resent it going to nonsense like this.

absolutely right!! The reveal should have been last season and we should have seen a full season of Arthur's and Merlin's adventures together with Merlin revealed in all his full glory and accorded the respect he deserves. What a shattering disappointment! Season five feels as if it has been stretched out with boring episodes when it could have been so much more entertaining! SAD!!

dude they said that the 5th series was going to be the last at the end of the 4th series, their just officially saying it now, as if this is even a surprise to anyone

I m only 10 years old and i was reading this this morning and i am crying because it is the best progamme ever and the only thing i watch and really enjoy ;-(

I have always wanted to act on the show if you ever needed any more people. I am just asking you one thing please do not end the show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if the show does end im saying a massive thank you and well done to everybody!!!

I would like to say something to Colin Morgan My mum lives in Ireland and every year she goes to the church at christmas shes saw you once!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ill miss everybody
Bye ;-(

PLZ PLZ PLZ :'( :'( don't close merlin...... its like my life is over... I feel so low, its like my life is over.... there is so much more u can get on with seriously.

This is one of the most flawed decisions the BBC has made in a long time. Merlin was one of the most successful series they had made and could have spent a series on the great battle alone. Instead, they chose to wrap it up in 20 minutes in the last episode, leaving many fans and watchers feeling disappointed. Another failure on the BBC's behalf to realise the popularity of a series, leaving many unanswered questions that could have been answered had they extended the story over a few more series instead of compacting it into the last couple of episodes. An error on their behalf. Let us hope they learn from this when they next produce a great series that the entirety of the British public enjoy.

this grandmother would like to see Series 6 of Merlin as the storyline has been left unfinished. Arthur and Merlin need to establish their bond in future episodes or in a full length movie.

Please...please...please...reconsider! I think that a "happy medium" here could be making one or two tv films a year about the many adventures of King Arthur and Merlin, centering on how strong their friendship grows. It will certainly have great support from fans and big audience...and everybody will be happy!

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