Julian Murphy (‘Merlin’) interview – Part 1

A fourth series of BBC One’s fantasy drama Merlin is currently filming and is set to air later this year.

> Read our exclusive interview with Colin Morgan, who plays Merlin in the show.

> Buy the Series 3 boxset on Amazon.

Watch the Series 3 trailer…

CultBox caught up with Merlin‘s producer Julian Murphy and asked him questions sent in to us by fans on Twitter…

@Ysatis_S asks: Is it true that Series 4 is going to be darker?

“We have what I think is genuinely a huge move forward in the series. There’s probably more of the legend than there’s been before, lots of new characters, we’ve got the Knights Of The Round Table as I’m sure people have guessed. And we’ve got the usual array of guests coming in, but I can’t really announce them yet as we’ve only filmed the first few episodes. Emilia Fox is back, Santiago Cabrera back as Lancelot, all of the Knights are back, the dragon’s back…

“I think as a show it’s growing up – partly because the cast are growing up with it and partly because I think the confidence and identity of the show is stronger. I wouldn’t say it’s darker – there’s still lots of humour – but it’s probably a richer and more sophisticated series, yes.”

@IanMcArdell asks: Has the initial commission of 10 episodes and the subsequent increase to 13 episodes had an impact on the pacing of the series?

“No, it was just nice; the controller rang us and said “I need 13”. We weren’t in a situation where we couldn’t deal with that. Had it been any later, there would’ve been a problem, but it was in time. It’s helped us greatly. We have a lot of story to tell and a big journey to go on this year.”

@Ysatis_S asks: Is there more bromance between Merlin and Arthur?

“Yeah, their relationship grows up, as they do. They’re on a long journey to becoming the characters of the legend and we get further down that road each series. Merlin’s far more mature than he was in the first couple of series, but what doesn’t change is the bond between them. Deep down their play and their banter is based on a mutual respect.”

@IanMcArdell asks: Given the increase of stakes and tension between characters, will we still be seeing lighter, non-arc, episodes?

“Yeah, there’s definitely still lots of humour and there are episodes with more humour. I think bringing in the group of young Knights has added a new type of humour and we’re having a lot of fun with that. There’s probably more action with them too though! We’re never going to let this programme get too serious, I think the humour is a big part of what appeals to the audience.”

@CamelotCast asks: Gwen is the only ‘good’ female character in the main cast. How do you feel about the portrayal of women in the show?

“We’re sort of conscious of that actually, although it’s not entirely our fault, it’s partly the legend’s fault! It’s certainly not anything sexist; we do consciously try to bring in a couple of guest female characters who are not baddies and also rounded characters who are really part of the action. There’s a big female lead in one episode and a couple of others further down the line. It’s an interesting question because it is something we’re trying to address.”

@hannahXmusic asks: Will we see more interaction and development between Gwen and her brother Elyan in Series 4?

“Yeah, Elyan is now part of it with the Knights and there are stories that touch on and build on their relationship, yes. It’s something we’re always interested in. We’ll see more of Gwen on the journey to becoming Queen Guinevere too.”

> Read the second half of our interview, including answers about Anthony Head’s role in Series 4, Comic-Con, Series 5 and a possible Merlin spin-off.

> Follow us on Twitter to get the latest Merlin news first.