One notable change in this series of Merlin has been the scarcity of big name guest stars. In earlier years, scarcely a week would go by without someone from another high profile BBC show turning up. And remember when Isaac from Heroes was cast as Lancelot? Good times.
This year, however, the guest names have been scarce, apart from the recurring villainy of Emilia Fox. But this week it all changes, as an actor from the biggest movie franchise of our time stops by. Who could it be?
Harry Melling: You’ve Heard Of Him, Right?
Our big time guest star is Harry Melling, better known as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films. You might not recognise him, as he’s lost considerable weight since then. In fact, my research tells me he had to wear a fat suit to reprise the role in the latest effort, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.
Also, he gets a more substantial part, with fight scenes, a dilemma and suchlike, and is very good. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him a lot more in the future elsewhere. Also, Merlin gets to exercise a bit more conflict than usual, and I wasn’t entirely sure where the plot was going for a while. This pleases me.
The Pendragons: All In The Family
Proudly on display this week were the many sides of Anthony Head’s Uther Pendragon, a character who can appear borderline schizophrenic, and I’ve always enjoyed it when he gets a bit more material than just ranting and raving. Although for a man so obsessed with the destruction of magic, he seems oddly oblivious when it’s used right in front of him.
His big scene with Arthur was also played well, with some serious acting moments from Bradley James, who didn’t even take his top off this week. Actually, he hasn’t been doing that much recently; maybe he complained to his union after the first few episodes.
Oh, and Evil Morgana subtly influences events without being blatantly smirking and homicidal. If they’d played the storyline this skilfully from the beginning, I might not have spent ten reviews talking about it. But next week is two-part finale time, and I suspect she may not be hanging around Camelot by the time that’s over.
This, then, was a dramatic, straight yet exciting episode of Merlin before the inevitable drama starts. Watch it on iPlayer, let us know any thoughts, not to mention whether you think Morgana will survive the series ending.