Season 1 Episode 0

What is Merlin About?

Aired Unknown Unknown on BBC
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Episode Summary

What is Merlin About?
This especial feature goes behind the scenes for 10 minutes to offer an insight to the show by means of exclusive backstage footage, production details and on-set cast and crew interviews which help recreate the magic and reveal some secrets behind the making of Merlin.

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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (3)

    • QUOTES (26)

      • Colin Morgan: I think Merlin is the next biggest series to hit the screens and I think everyone is gonna love it.

      • Angel Coulby: I would describe this series as a sparkling magical adventure.

      • Johnny Capps: I think Merlin is fantastic family viewing. It's the best thing on television.

      • Bradley James: It's certainly the hugest event in my life, it's got all the ingredients to be something quite special and hopefully it'll be. I certainly think kids are gonna love it.

      • Anthony Head: A truly universal show.

      • Will Cohen: Watching a series come together in front of your eyes is a real privilege.

      • Jeremy Webb: There's fun and wit and fantastic action set pieces that I think are gonna keep people just glued to their seats.

      • Holly Grainger: The appeal to such a broad audience cause it's like great action sequences for the kids but some of the stories are quite deep, quite dark.

      • Julian Jones: Merlin is a chance to see something magical and heroic in a world that is not.

      • Johnny Capps: I am the producer of Merlin alongside Julian Murphy and also one of the co-creators of the show. I think the think that's different is that it's quite an original take. What we wanted to do is ask the question: 'What would have been like if Merlin and Arthur would be young contemporaries?' So it's starting the story of Merlin and Arthur really before the legend that we all know starts.

      • Johnny Capps: With a high concept drama you are creating a whole world with its rules and its characters so as a producer that's hugely challenging. We have Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michelle Ryan, the make up department were particularly excited to be meeting Santiago first thing in the morning and then in the prosthetics side we used Mark Coulier who is an absolute genious. Julian [Murphy] and I always wanted to work with him but he's always been busy doing the Harry Potter films and so when Merlin came along we were: 'Right, let's call him up and stalk him' (Laughs).

      • Johnny Capps: The dragon was something that we always talked about being in the script but it was something that Julian [Murphy] and I were worried about. We really wanted it to move so were thinking: 'How the hell do we achieve this?' So we had very early discussions with The Mill. We've worked with The Mill on other shows so we've got a very good working relationship with them.

      • Will Cohen: The Mill is a visual effects house and post production house. It's won an Oscar for its work in Gladiator in 2001 and the other big show we work on is Doctor Who. They asked us doing a talking dragon and we said yes because if you work in this business that's the kind of thing you really wanna be doing. It's an extremely difficult challenge to make a dragon talk because while we've done other talking characters with an facial tracking system that we've invented over the last few years they've normally been sort of human like figures. You can make a chimpanzee talk because you can track the facial expressions of an actor onto a chimpanzee or monkey because it looks very human like but a dragon has a more, it's quite a hard to make talk. John Hurt has one of the best voices in the acting profession today, it really helps us to have a slight exaggeration on the facial performance cause it translates very well onto the model of the dragon so his performance is always amazing in whatever he says so the dragon is another of John Hurt's performances.

      • Will Cohen: Throughout the series of Merlin there is a cast of mythological creatures that Arthur and Merlin have to face: there are spiders, there's a Griffin that attacks Camelot and the villages outside, we have a Cockatrice, we have a Questing Beast, we have snakes in the second episode that come alive out of a shield so there's a lot for people to work in and for us to have fun with.

      • Colin Morgan: There's certainly a lot of parallels between me doing this job and me in real life. I think for myself coming from Armagh in Northern Ireland this small town and coming somewhere like London for example it parallels between Merlin and myself. This certainly is a big, big challenge: CGI, stunts to do, full of dramatic scenes, full of talking to a green board… As in terms of which the scripts are going we have no idea, it's as much as a surprise to us as to the audience but certainly the writing is fantastic and we get like it's Christmas when a new episode comes through because you are getting to see it for the first time so we are very excited about where all this is gonna go.

      • Colin Morgan: As an actor you never can stop learning anyway but Richard Wilson is a good teacher to have. In the scenes you can't help but rub off and half pick up on his kind of technique as well.

      • Colin Morgan: I was very excited to get to do my first stunt because it was my first stunt on the show, first stunt ever so I was well excited about that.

      • Jeremy Webb: This is a very different take on the story, this is before they were famous, this is Merlin and Arthur when they were young. Arthur is a prince and Merlin is yet to be the famous wizard that we all know and love. I've never been involved in such a vast project, to give you an example today I've been shooting on stage here in Cardiff, overseeing a second unit with Merlin on a big CGI cave set, yesterday we had an evil fairy elder being photographed against a green screen flying through the air, a couple of weeks ago I was in France fighting an evil zombie type character with a gang full of stunt men with lots of swords and explosions it truly is an enormous canvas to play with and hopefully thrilling to watch, in fact we'll be thrilling to watch.

      • Bradley James: We see Camelot at a time that's pre this familiar myth, pre the familiar stories everyone is aware of cause they've grown up knowing. We start with Merlin and Arthur in their younger years where we sort of see the process of what they go through to become the men that we know that they are going to become.

      • Anthony Head: (About his character, Uther Pendragon) He is what opposes Merlin and Gaius and all forces of magic that are trying to bring magic back into the kingdom and Uther is not having any of it.

      • Anthony Head: (About Pierrefonds castle) You walk through the gates and you are in this courtyard that it's got the vibe that it's lived in and it's the any Medieval castle that I've been in that it's not got great chunks of stone within so to all intense and purposes it is a working castle.

      • Santiago Cabrera: Lancelot and Merlin meet at the very beginning of episode 6 when Merlin is being chased by a huge Griffin and suddenly we see someone save his life and that someone is Lancelot so it's great that he starts off as a hero already. You can see there's a real loyalty there in Merlin who is extremely appreciative towards Lancelot and then things turn around when Merlin ends up helping Lancelot up himself. I think it's a show that has a huge potential, it looks great, has great characters, great storyline, lot of action, full of adventures that should really have a big attraction for worldwide audiences. I think there's great surprises to come.

      • Katie McGrath: The main thing that it's gonna set it apart from everything is that the extra character in the show is magic, it's thin unknown quantity, you never know what's gonna happen in each episode and how it's gonna play out and alongside that this version of King Arthur is more about the relationship between all the characters and it's very much following the characters as they grow. It is a huge project, we film for eight months and we are on location for some ot that and we are on the studio, we film in France in the most fantastic chateau. When we all first came up to it as a cast collectively stopped and in aww because this was exactly how we thought Camelot should look and we you see that I guarantee you are gonna think it's CGI because you can't imagine that something that beautiful actually exists. It's special, it's different and it's excting.

      • Jeremy Webb: (About Pierrefonds castle) I was completely blown away.

      • Colin Morgan: I think by the time you've finished watching episode one you think: 'What is gonna happen next?'

      • Colin Morgan: (About Pierrefonds castle) Absolutely amazing, it is Camelot, when you up there, it is Camelot.

    • NOTES (2)

      • This especial behind the scenes look at Merlin has been made and released in exclusive for Channel 10 in Australia.

      • A shortened version of this feature was released on NBC under the title On Set of Merlin and even a shorter one was released in Channel 10 Australia under the title Merlin: Meet the Cast.

    • ALLUSIONS (3)

      • Johnny Capps: Julian [Murphy] and I always wanted to work with him but he's always been busy doing the Harry Potter films.

        Harry Potter is a series of 7 novels by British author J. K. Rowling. The books depict the adventures of an adolescent wizard called Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of them students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They have adapted for the big screen.

      • Will Cohen: The other big show we work on is Doctor Who.

        Doctor Who is a British sci-fi show that features the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known as "the Doctor" who uses what appears to be the exterior of a blue 19950's police box to travel through time, face various foes and right some wrongs.

      • Will Cohen: The Mill is a visual effects house and post production house. It's won an Oscar for its work in Gladiator in 2001.

        Gladiator is a 2000 epic movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe. It won five Oscars including Best Picture.