Merlin: Series Four

Bradley James and Colin Morgan as Prince Arthur and Merlin

MAGIC news today for fans of Merlin, which has been recommissioned for a fourth BBC1 series.

The current series is being watched by an average of over six million viewers, even though it has been pitched into direct battle with ITV1 ratings juggernaut The X Factor.

Ten new episodes will begin filming next March for screening in the UK later in 2011.

Featuring the arrival of the Knights of the Round Table.

Colin Morgan (Merlin), Bradley James (Prince Arthur) and the rest of the cast are now a global hit in 183 countries.

Quite aside from casting a spell in a range of merchandising spin-offs pushing the Merlin brand.

Including figurines, a publishing range and calendar.

The new series will be three episodes shorter than the 13 broadcast in each of the previous seasons of the fantasy drama.

BBC Drama boss Ben Stephenson, Controller Drama Commissioning, said: “Merlin continues to perform outstandingly well against The X Factor and offers audiences an alternative treat on Saturday nights.

“I’m pleased to confirm that the magical world of Camelot will be returning next year for a fourth series of this fresh and modern retelling of a classic British legend.”

Richard Wilson as Gaius

Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, Executive Producers for Shine TV, which makes the series, said: “We are both delighted with the continuing success of Merlin and relish the chance to take the series to the next level with the long-awaited arrival of the Knights of the Round Table.”

Here’s the rest of the BBC press release:

“Series three has seen a host of high-profile guest-stars including Emilia Fox, Tom Ellis, Miriam Margoyles, Warwick Davies and Pauline Collins. Series three will continue on Saturday evenings on BBC One until the nail biting finale on the 4th of December.

“Loyal friends and exciting newcomers arrive to rescue Camelot as Morgana’s careful plotting is about to reach a potentially devastating and dramatic climax.

“Merlin is made for BBC Cymru Wales by award-winning executive producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy from Shine TV, with Bethan Jones as executive producer for the BBC.”

Merlin continues on BBC1 at 7:55pm next Saturday (October 30)

Official BBC Merlin Site

Official USA Syfy Merlin Site

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Merlin Series Three Trailer: