There’s sad news today for fans of the BBC’s Merlin and ITV’s Downton Abbey as it’s been revealed that Merlin is being axed, having “run its course,” and that Dan Stevens – who plays Matthew Crawley – is leaving Downton Abbey.
More about Dan’s decision to leave Downton in a moment, but first, of the decision to end the hugely popular Merlin, actor Colin Morgan, who plays Merlin, told TV Biz, “I think the show has run its natural course.”
He added, “It has grown and grown each year and now we’ve arrived at its strongest point and we’ve achieved what we set out to do.”
The BBC added that the series will come to a “natural and dramatic end” with a two-part finale at Christmas.
The paper adds, “Merlin has been a staple of BBC1’s Saturday schedule since launching four years ago and at the weekend its audience peaked at 7.6million viewers.”
Former One Foot In The Grave star Richard Wilson, who plays Gaius, added, “I’m extremely sad Merlin has come to an end.
“Speaking as Gaius, I feel I have mentored the young wizard as far as I can.
“He is much smarter and greater than me now and I am simply exhausted.”
BBC1 executive Danny Cohen said, “I admire the creators’ decision to end Merlin on a high but also know that we will miss it in the BBC1 schedule.
“We have ambitious plans for new drama in the Saturday evening slot in 2013.”
Back now to Dan Stevens’ decision to leave Downton Abbey and his role as newlywed Matthew Crawley…
And though it hasn’t been revealed if he’ll be killed off (or not) in series four – which will go into production early next year and air in the autumn – it has been suggested that he will feature in the first episode of the new series, then exit.
A show insider told the Express, “Dan Stevens isn’t returning to the series. He will probably do the first episode of the fourth series, but that will be it.”
Yikes! I’m going to miss him as Matthew but I have to say, I kind of hope that the writers do kill him off rather than just have him leave Downton, because that might mean that Michelle Dockery – who plays Matthew’s wife Lady Mary – has to go too!
Here’s a reminder of the Matthew and Mary love story…
How do you feel about Merlin ending and Dan leaving Downton?