Is it just me or have certain elements in the current series of the BBC’s Merlin been, for want of a better expression, pumped?
Augmented? Inflated? Swelled?
And this isn’t a complaint – really it isn’t – but I can’t help wondering if the makers of Merlin are subconsciously trying to compete with the rather more adult telling of the King Arthur legend that appeared on our tellies earlier this year under the shockingly original title, Camelot.
‘Cos suddenly Gwenevere’s bosom (donated unselfishly by Angel Coulby) – hardly an insignificant landmark at the best of times – has suddenly grown into planet colliding proportions. It o’erspills. Her cups runneth over. She has gone from wanting to merely catch Arthur’s eye to attempting to skewer both of them out with a two-pronged attack. Run into this girl on a cold morning and you’ll end up with broken ribs on both sides.
I daresay Arthur (Bradley James) will consider that a jolly decent way to go but in terms of courtly love, isn’t it he who is meant to be running the good lady through?
I like Merlin. I liked it from the start though I will admit the first two series were a little too fairytale for me. Thing have got blacker and darker though since series 3 and this present series – the fourth – has seen things getting blacker still. Uther was bumped off in the second episode and Arthur is at last king. Morgana (Katie McGrath) has finally been converted to the dark side and has now (alas) spurned her usual neck plunging dresses and taken to concealing her own otherworldly décolletage behind charred sackcloth and a hairdo redolent of Amy Winehouse battling uphill towards an off-license against a force ten gale in Barnsley (going to wizard rehab? I say no, no, no).
I kind of miss Morgana’s finery. Her off-the-shoulder numbers. Her sneery lipped looks over a forkful of venison. Her twirly earrings that caught the candlelight just before she did someone a particularly bad turn. The show’s writer’s need to be careful that they don’t completely lose her va-va-voom amongst her recently acquired hovel paraphernalia and the pickled frogs she keeps in her medicine cabinet. Morgana’s appeal was always that she was a vamp. She was cold hearted and icy but she was nevertheless, undoubtedly, undeniably, a black hearted vamp. And a tease. The kind that lead a man to his doom without ever actually “putting out”.
Now she’s in danger of becoming a tramp. And not in a good way either. There needs to be some curve and some bosom mixed in with that eye of newt and tongue of lizard. After all the lady is a fox not an old bat.
But maybe this is why the show’s producers are building up Gwen’s part(s)? It kind of makes sense to have Gwen as Camelot’s ye olde pin-up girl. She is, after all, the legendary heroine who attracts all the knights of Camelot from far and wide to come and sup from the warm bounteousness of her round table, not Morgana. The balance of feminine power needs to be shifted – and not just in terms of a well fortified cross-your-heart bra.
Let’s just hope Arthur has got what it takes to locate her Holy Grail... keeping both these femme fatales from tearing out each other’s throats is likely to be very thirsty work indeed.
And I'll be more than happy to drink to that.