Merlin (2008-2014) BBC
Starring: Colin Morgan, Bradley James and John Hurt
Merlin is a popular adventure, fantasy family show. Produced by the BBC, the series revisits the saga of King Arthur and his wizard Merlin who discovers that magic is his destiny as a teenager.
Merlin has had the beauty of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley as backdrops including Raglan Castle, Cannop Ponds, Speech House and Puzzlewood.
Merlin was the very first TV series to showcase the mystery and wonder of Puzzlewood across all five series of the show as it told the story of how young wizard Merlin found his kind of magic, amidst the company of friends and foes. In the series, Albion is a nation where magic is a part of everyday life and Puzzlewood certainly enhanced this feeling of otherworldliness.
In the very last episode of the Merlin TV series The Diamond of the Day, there are scenes featuring Morgana and Mordred that were filmed in Puzzlewood. In The Diamond of the Day, Part 1, their mission to the Valley sees Merlin and Gwaine travel there to renew Merlin’s powers at The Crystal Cave. In The Crystal Cave, Merlin encounters Morgana who traps Merlin there. In Diamond of the Day Part 2, Gaius and Merlin attend to Arthur who has been wounded by Mordred. Under the cover of Puzzlewood’s trees and rocks, Merlin reveals his magic powers to the wounded Arthur.
Series 1 and Series 2 of the BBC fantasy TV series Merlin were filmed at Raglan Castle and episodes were also filmed at the striking sandstone structure of the Wye Valley’s Goodrich Castle, situated on high ground from where it looms down on the River Wye.
The castle in all of its battle-hardened glory features in the episode Sins of the Father. In this episode Goodrich Castle sets just the right tone for the appearance of a great enemy of Merlin and his allies: the warrior and sorceress, Morgause.
In several series 5 episodes of Merlin, Clearwell Caves feature in all of their red rock glory; notably in episode 5 entitled The Disir, in which Merlin ventures to meet with three soothsayer women. The caves also feature in series 5, episode 1, entitled Arthur’s Bane as the setting for the caves below Morgana Pendragon’s citadel. Visual effects enhance the natural mystique and fascination of the caves.
Also in Merlin series 5, the crew filmed part of an episode titled Another Sorrow at Cannop Ponds for a scene in which Merlin finds Mithian’s message about Morgana by the stream.
In the episode The Gates of Avalon, Speech House Lake becomes the mythic lake of Avalon where Merlin witnesses a magical encounter. Some shots of Speech House Lake in the Merlin series enhance the natural beauty of the setting with visual effects elements that show Castle Camelot towering in the background over the placid water.