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Love is . . . just magic for Merlin star Colin

By Maureen Coleman

Merlin star Colin Morgan has revealed that love is in the air for his character this series.

But just as the young sorcerer keeps his magic powers secret, the Armagh actor is giving nothing away about the mysterious beauty who casts a spell over him.

Morgan, who returned to our television screens in the award-winning family fantasy show last weekend, said he was excited about the developments in the forthcoming episodes.

“We're delighted to be back, bigger and bolder than before,” he said.

“This series we have some great guest stars and the special effects are pretty amazing too.

“And yes, there is a love interest for Merlin, which is about time too, but that's all I can say. I can't give too much away about it, but there is some romance in line for him.”

There are currently two female leads in the show, Morgana, the orphaned ward of King Arthur, played by Dubliner Katie McGrath and Guinevere, her maid servant and friend, played by Angel Coulby. The character Morgana shares an affinity with Merlin, as she too has magic powers which she must keep secret.

The second series kicked off last Saturday night, with a guest appearance by MacKenzie Crook as the sneaky con man Cedric, who tries to drive a wedge between Merlin and Prince Arthur (Bradley James).

“Mackenzie was brilliant to work with,” he said.

“When we were filming our close-ups, he would throw in a few things that he hadn't done before, just to get me more annoyed with his character.”

Also guest-starring soon is Sarah Parish from Mistresses and Cutting It, although it is unlikely Merlin will be drawn to her character.

“She'd be dressed as a troll, standing in the queue in the canteen beside me, and I still found her strangely cute,” he joked.

Another possibility for Merlin’s romantic interest is actress Emilia Fox, who also makes a guest appearance later in the series.

Morgan said the new series was a lot darker then the first one, but that it would still appeal across the board.

“I think Merlin is so popular because it mixes humour and charm. The kids like the slapstick, while the darker undercurrents appeal to the adults,” he said.

“There are also a lot of morals in there too about friendship and loyalty.”

The 23-year-old, who also stars in a new film called The Sea Change, said he hoped to be back in Northern Ireland at Halloween.

And he said his Armagh roots would always keep him grounded.

“I haven't been back home for a while but after Merlin is finished filming in three weeks time I intend to come over to see my family,” he said.

“The great thing about the people back home is that you'll never get above yourself. Not when you have people shouting ‘Merlin, tell us your secret' at you in the street.”

And he also revealed why he had adopted an English accent for the role.

“I was using my own accent for all the auditions and at the last stage they were like, ‘Well, we want to try you with an English accent'.

“And I think it was a good decision in the end, because I think it's quite a bold decision already to do a show about a young Merlin, and a young Arthur, so making Merlin from Northern Ireland as well was probably pushing the boat out a bit far.”

Merlin is up for two awards at the National TV Awards — Best Drama and Best Actor (Morgan). Voting is online.

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