You know how I’m always banging on about getting Irish sci-fi heroes at the forefront of the genre once again which is why Jacke is a Belfast girl in the Time Warriors series and there are quite a few Irish locations and times in there. We recently did an article on the legend that is Colm Meaney who has been at the helm of two Star Trek series over the years and became a true fan favourite. We have an Irish Jedi Knight in the form of Liam Neeson and Irishman Ciaran McMenamin headed the fight against anomalies and dinosaurs for one season in Primeval.
But we forgot about another Irishman that is firmly established in this genre, a young man that has been keeping the family audience alive alongside the Doctor in the battle for Saturday ratings.
Merlin is about to enter its fifth year and as hard as it is to believe, what started off as really a young Merlin and Arthur show has grown to be unmissable television. What helped make this show so good is the fact that Colin Morgan has been Merlin from day one. He looks like he could be a young wizard. Now, what you may not realize is that Merlin is really Irish. Young Colin was born and raised in Northern Ireland in Armagh. He attended the Belfast Metropolitan College where his picture hangs alongside all the other success stories from the college. He later attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Right before he got the part of Merlin, Colin appeared in Doctor Who opposite David Tennant in the classic episode Midnight.
Here, the Doctor and a group of passengers are trapped on a shuttle when it breaks down in the middle of nowhere before being attacked by an unseen force that begins taking over one of the passengers, Sky. It repeats everything a person says as they say it, gradually overtaking its victim until it achieves independent thought and motion. Colin played Jethro Cane in a story that remains a fan favourite and a stunning piece of television drama. It deals with mob hysteria and paranoia and the entire episode works like a stage play.
Now with both roles, Colin doesn’t use his natural accent but he manages to imbue Merlin with such a sparkling mischievous personality trying to live a dual life as a slave and secret master of magic. In this version, King Uther, played by Buffy’s Anthony Head, has forbidden the use of magic and anyone found using it is put to death. Under the guidance of his mentor Gaius, Richard Wilson, Merlin must protect the kingdom of Camelot from all variety of threats against the King and his family.
Over the course of the five years, the show has utilised the legends of King Arthur and shaped the legend in ways that Batman would be jealous of. And now the Knights of the Round Table are in full swing and Merlin and Arthur are young men about to embark on the true journey everyone knows of. Colin, together with the writing and entire cast, has made Merlin a sure fire hit but just once, just once, I would love him to slip into his natural accent.
After all, Merlin’s Irish don’t you know?