Interview with Merlin’s Bradley James
The highly anticipated fifth season of Merlinhas arrived on DIVA Universal. The latest season picks up three years later when Camelot is at the height of its golden age and Arthur has never felt stronger. But even in moments of prosperity, dark forces are gathering to destroy Camelot forever.
Bradley James, who plays Arthur, tells us about some of the dangers facing the King of Camelot this season.
Q: What is going on at the beginning of season 5?
Bradley James: There has been a three-year gap since the last season, and Arthur has had four years as King. He has a very good relationship with his new Queen Guinevere and has settled into the role. The land is prosperous and in a good place. But of course, harmony doesn't make for good drama, so in this season we tell the story of how Morgana suddenly turns up and starts rocking the boat.
Q: How does the relationship between Arthur and Morgana unfold?
Bradley James: They have the relationship of a brother and sister who have seriously fallen out. He used to look out for her, but now she has turned to the dark side in the most dramatic fashion. If he could save Morgana, he would jump at the opportunity. But he can't because she's gone little bit psychotic and passed the point of no return. So as always, Arthur must concentrate on his primary responsibility, which is to defend Camelot.
Q: Where is Arthur's relationship with Merlin at the moment?
Bradley James: In Merlin, Arthur has a very loyal friend who keeps him on his toes. Arthur enjoys those challenges, and there is a lot of great banter between them. Meanwhile, in Arthur, Merlin has a friend he can really rely on. Merlin knows that when it comes to the crunch Arthur will always do the right thing. Arthur is a great man to have by your side in a crisis. They also have a great rapport and enjoy each other's company – despite not admitting that! People really identify with their relationship. They think, "If I had someone like that in my life, I'd be very happy indeed.”
Q: Why has Merlin struck a chord with audiences all over the world?
Bradley James: The Arthurian legend relates to all nations, not just our own. The stories translate wherever you are in the world – as long as the dubbing is good! I've seen a few versions in different languages, and some of them are quite funny. In Italian, we all sound like characters from The Godfather, while in the French version we all sound rather effeminate. And I sound really quite angry in Japanese!
Q: What element of the series have you most enjoyed?
Bradley James: My favourite part of filming is the stunts. We have just filmed a battle scene with 10 stuntmen, and that was a lot of fun. You know all these stuntmen could beat you up without batting an eyelid. But when we do these scenes, you pull out all these flashy moves and they conveniently take a dive, and you come out of it looking brilliant! I've always been into athletics – that's a big part of who I am. So it's such a bonus to have these stunts as a major aspect of playing Arthur.
Q: Finally, how do you reflect on the experience of playing King Arthur thus far?
Bradley James: This is the role I have been waiting for all my life. Because of the nature of King Arthur and the resonance he has not only with within the UK, but right around the world, I have found it a huge honour to play the part. I will look back on it very fondly and be very proud to have been King Arthur when I finally hang up the chain mail!
Catch Merlin Every Sunday @ 8pm / 7pm Thai-Jkt