FAMILY drama series Merlin is to be axed after five years, with the current BBC1 run to be its last.

The BBC said the series about the young King Arthur and his put-upon wizard servant will come to a natural and dramatic end when it bows out with a two-part finale.

The show, which features veteran stars such as Richard Wilson and John Hurt, pulls in almost seven million viewers but is being ended by its creators.

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Colin Morgan, who has played Merlin since the show's debut in 2008, said: "I think the show has run its natural course. The show 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."