Hit fantasy drama Merlin will come to an end this Christmas.
The TV programme will reach its final conclusion during its current fifth series, BBC, Shine Group and FremantleMedia Enterprises confirmed today.
A 'dramatic' two-part finale will premiere on BBC One this Christmas.
However, Shine and FME are in the early stages of exploring potential new spin-offs based on the characters within the magical Camelot universe.
FME is an investor in Merlin and hold the exclusive distribution (excluding UK), home entertainment and licensing rights to the property.
Merlin was broadcast to over 180 territories globally and peaked at 7.1 million viewers in its Saturday night slot. It debuted in 2008.
Co-creators and Executive Producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy said: “This is the series where the storylines truly reach their apex. We always felt the story of the legend was best told across five series, leading to a spectacular finale that draws on the best known elements of this much-loved story and brings to a conclusion the battle for Camelot.
"We’d like to thank the amazing cast and crew for their professionalism and dedication, the BBC, FME and all of our partners globally for their incredible support and encouragement across the last five series. But chiefly, our thanks go to Merlin’s remarkable and loyal audience around the world for their enthusiasm for the characters and Camelot universe.”
Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One, added: “I hope fans will tune in over the coming weeks to see the spectacularly dramatic final episodes, and we have ambitious plans for new drama in the Saturday evening slot in 2013."
David Ellender, Global CEO, FME added: “Merlin’s huge global success is a testament to everyone involved–the producers, the BBC, our global broadcast and licensing partners, and the truly amazing fan base around the world. We’re excited about possible spin-off opportunities inspired by the brilliant reimagining of Camelot.”
Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy are leaving Shine at the end of the year in order to start their own production company.
Capps said: “It has been a wonderful five years with Merlin and ten overall with Shine, but we have always had the ambition to branch out ourselves at some point and now feels the time to take that leap."
Shine Group CEO, Alex Mahon said: “Merlin has been an amazing success domestically and internationally, it goes out with an epic finale worthy of this amazing series and we are excited about potential future stories that could be told about the Camelot universe.”
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