Hit fantasy Merlin is recommissioned for BBC One
Merlin, BBC One's new hit Saturday night fantasy drama has been re-commissioned for a second series by Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, and BBC One Controller Jay Hunt, it was confirmed today.
Starring Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head and Richard Wilson, Merlin has enchanted family audiences in one of the most competitive slots on TV since the transmission of the first episode on 20 September 2008, averaging an audience of 6.2 million viewers for the first eight episodes, with a 28% average share.
Merlin also has an average audience of 1.8 million viewers for the narrative repeat on Sundays.
Julie Gardner, Head of Drama, BBC Wales, said: "We are thrilled that audiences have entered into the magical world of Camelot and Merlin has been such a big hit on Saturday nights. It has performed outstandingly well.
"The cast have entertained and enchanted a whole new generation with this fresh and modern retelling of a classic British legend."
Merlin, produced by Shine Television, is set in the mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began.
It follows the unlikely friendship of Merlin (Colin Morgan) as a wizard on the cusp of adulthood and his ongoing clashes with a young King Arthur (Bradley James).
Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy, Producers, Shine Television, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be returning for a second series. All the principal characters are destined to experience more magical adventures next year.
"The story of Merlin is a much loved tale and it's so exciting that our updated version has captured the hearts of audiences and brought the magic and myth of Camelot alive."
Also returning are Richard Wilson as court physician Gaius, Anthony Head as King Uther Pendragon, Angel Coulby as Gwen, Katie McGrath as Morgana and John Hurt as the voice of The Great Dragon.
Guest stars are still to be announced but series one featured brilliant names including Michelle Ryan, Santiago Cabrea, Eve Myles, Will Mellor and Julian Rhind-Tutt.
Spectacular CGI effects are created by The Mill, the Oscar-winning visual and special effects team behind Gladiator and Doctor Who.
Merlin is executive produced by Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy for Shine Television and BBC executive producers are Julie Gardner and Bethan Jones.
The second series will begin filming next year on location in Wales and France.
Latest drama commissions for BBC One in 2009 include Spooks, Ashes To Ashes and Waking The Dead alongside new dramas Hope Springs and All The Small Things.