Bradley James and Katie McGrath give their final Merlin interview
With ‘Merlin’ coming to a close, we took this chance to look back on this series with two of its stars, Bradley James and Katie McGrath.
Even though I no longer review Merlin on the regular, being a fan of and blogger about Merlin has been one of the most truly rewarding experiences of my life, which is why I couldn’t say no to an opportunity to interview Bradley James (Arthur) and Katie McGrath (Morgana) one last time.
Alright, well, first of all, I just wanted to say thank you to you guys. This is my second time interviewing both of you, and as a fan you guys have been amazing and wonderful to interview, so thank you so much.
KM: Thank you so much!
Anyways, now for the harder questions …
KM: You were just buttering us up there so we’ll give you good answers, aren’t you?
A little bit! I did really want to thank you, but I had to butter you up a little bit.
KM: [laughs] No, that’s fine, we’re all actors, we like that.
Alright, so first question. Are we going to finish this series without a magic reveal at all?
BJ: Can’t tell you! Not telling you.
What, you can’t – come on!
BJ: That’s what watching the show’s all about!
KM: If you’re a fan — and you tell me that you are — and you’ve invested the last four years in the show, we are not going to ruin it now for you. But I will say the last two episodes answered all the questions that the series posed so …
BJ: No, Katie will tell you everything. Don’t worry; just stay on the line and Katie will sort it all out for you, yeah? Cool. Go on, Katie, why don’t you talk through the episode, yeah?
What if I told Katie how pretty she was, would she tell me even more things?
BJ: Oh, Katie heard you say that. Katie heard you say that, and she’s about to tell you everything. Go on.
KM: [laughs] I’m going to be quiet, now.
Alright, well then that leads to my next question, which is when you were filming the last couple episodes, did you know they were the last episodes of the series?
BJ: Yes. We were very aware of the time length of the show. But for political reasons you can’t kind of advertise that fact. But I think in ourselves we all had an idea of what we wanted to do, what we wanted to achieve, but that culminated at the end of series five quite nicely.
What or who will you miss the most about filming Merlin?
KM: I think I’ll actually miss the crew. We’ve been with the same crew for five years, so it’s been a very comfortable and nice environment, and the fact that I won’t get to see them every day is sad.
BJ: Catering! The catering is very good.
[laughs] It’s not good on every show?
BJ: No, not from what I hear.
So what’s the most valuable thing you think you’ve learned working on Merlin?
KM: It was my first proper job. I hadn’t done much else and I hadn’t gone to drama school, so I guess I learned everything on it. I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am without it, so I can’t underestimate how much I owe the show.
BJ: I will say I’ve learned that much. And a lot of what we learn in life we learn subconsciously, and I think where I am as an actor and where I am as a person, really so much of that is the five years I’ve just spent — the very enjoyable five years I’ve spent doing Merlin.
Do you guys have a particular favorite episode that, looking back on the series, was your favorite to film?
BJ: You know, we’ve been asked that, and that’s a difficult one to answer because we film them all at the same time, you know, during all the shooting days we’ll be filming scenes from about eight different episodes. It’s a difficult one to answer in terms of filming it. But to watch, I really enjoyed, um, I’m not sure what it was called but it was an episode last year where Elyan is possessed by a dripping, soaking wet boy.
There are lots of wet people in Merlin.
BJ: Yes, and this one in particular had decided to – oh, I’ve got the name! “Herald of the New Age!”
BJ: Very cool, that was a good one.
That was a good one.
BJ: That was a good one. Elyan got himself possessed.
KM: My favorite was “Lancelot du Lac.” I thought it was the most balanced that we had that series between all four characters and we all got something to do. I thought it was a lovely story and very complete, and it had a real sense of sort of, I guess magic and sort of a fairytale feeling to it.
And by “magic” we mean Santiago coming out of the lake naked or magic, magic?
KM: There is always, you know, seeing Santiago as he is in many women’s dreams.
[sighs] So true.
KM: I have to say, Santiago wasn’t the only one topless in that scene. The entire crew behind the camera decided pretty much to take their tops off, so it was just me wearing, you know? So it wasn’t just the lovely Santiago but it was like 55 members of the crew all standing in the lake topless.
KM: In solidarity, let’s say that was the reason.
So what projects can we see you guys in after Merlin?
BJ: That’s a dangerous question to ask at the moment and it will burn up your interview time, but it’s a very boring answer.
Does that mean you can’t answer?
BJ: Pretty much, yes, but Christmas is coming up, so we’ve got that to look forward to.
Are you saying you’re going to come visit us all at Christmas?
KM: Well if that’s an invite…
BJ: Yeah, if an invite comes along, we’re there.
Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.
BJ: [laughs] That was not enthusiasm in your voice.
I’m Jewish, I don’t celebrate Christmas….
BJ: Oh, you’re Jewish!
….So I don’t have anything to invite you to.
BJ: Well, we all look forward to it, you can invite us for Hanukkah.
Yes, I’ll invite you to that, we can make latkes.
BJ: Fantastic, I look forward to it.
Well thank you guys so much, for everything, and good luck on your final episodes of Merlin.
BJ: Thank you!