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Merlin's Bradley James wants Gary Oldman as a guest star
Bradley James as King Arthur in Merlin
Where do we find Arthur at the beginning of series five?
He's pretty chilled out. Life is good, he's been king for almost four years - he's settled into it.
Your show consistently performs well against the X Factor - what's the secret of its success?
I think what Merlin is able to do... it's a combination of things. People can relate to the show, to the material and to the relationships within the show. It's a revelation to a lot of people, viewers that maybe watch it by accident find themselves surprised by it and taken in.
What do you think about X Factor anyway? - Do you ever watch?
I don't, no. I don't really get much enjoyment out of watching those shows so it's not the kind of thing I catch. But they're obviously doing something right because they bring in a great deal of viewers. We've been very fortunate that we've been able to compete and hold our own on Merlin.
How strong is the friendship between Arthur and Merlin in this fifth series?
It's something Merlin has always benefited from - it's the core, driving force of what the show's trying to achieve with regards to the realising of Arthur's destiny. Luckily, they get on famously; they're there for each other in those times if anything goes wrong for one, the other will always be there for him and that continues in series five. It's been at the heart of the show for a while so the friendship will always be there.
Merlin is blessed with passionate fans who've even written fanfic - have you ever been tempted to read any of it?
No. No. God, no. I stay the hell away from that. You can take it as flattery that people feel passionate about the show, but it's making Merlin into something that it's not so I'm very happy to stay well away.
Merlin has attracted some amazing guest stars, which A-lister would you love to act alongside of in the show? And why?
Wow - that is a huge question. I've always been a huge fan of Gary Oldman and if he suddenly turned up on Merlin, I'd be a very silent person. He'd find himself acting opposite a pair of eyes trying to watch everything he does and learn from him.
Merlin is a hit on both sides of the Atlantic so do you think you'd like to capitalise on your fame and make a TV series over there?
The exciting unknown tends to happen as an actor, you find yourself not really knowing what's coming around the corner. Variety is the spice of life and I'd be looking for a varied range of projects to sink my teeth into when Merlin's done and dusted.
What's got you buzzing about series five?
This series will perhaps be the most surprising for fans. I myself have been pleasantly surprised by things that have come up and I imagine that will be the same for fans. Keep your eyes peeled on this series, I'd say.
Merlin continues on Saturdays on BBC1
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