Merlin has been recommissioned for a fourth series by the BBC, following strong ratings against ITV's X Factor on Saturday nights, where it's been drawing nearly 6m viewers most weeks. However, series 4 will only contain 10 episodes instead of the usual 13, and isn't likely to be broadcast until 2012 because Doctor Who's sixth series is being split across 2011.
Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning:
"Merlin continues to perform outstandingly well against The X Factor and offers audiences an alternative treat on Saturday nights."Johnny Capps & Julian Murphy, Executive Producers for Shine TV:
"We are both delighted with the continuing success of Merlin, and relish the chance to take the series to the next level with the long-awaited arrival of the Knights of the Round Table."What do you make of this news? Frustrated there won't be new episodes until 2012, in all likelihood? Excited by the hint that series 4 will feature the Knights of the Round Table at last? Or do you think that, despite its amazing performance against X Factor, Merlin has actually hit a creative slump and it's all downhill from here?