The BBC is to launch a TV and cinema advertising campaign to support the launch of Merlin, BBC1's autumn fantasy drama featuring veteran actor John Hurt and Bionic Woman star Michelle Ryan.
Launching this weekend, the campaign will run in cinemas nationwide as well as on BBC TV channels and radio stations. The promotional ad campaign has been created by agency Red Bee Media.
The 13-part series aims to update the King Arthur legend for a modern audience and will be broadcast from September in the BBC1 early Saturday evening family drama slot previously occupied by Doctor Who and Robin Hood.
In the series Ryan, the former EastEnders star, plays the role of wicked sorceress Nimueh, while Hurt provides the voice of the Great Dragon, the young Merlin's mythological mentor.
Santiago Cabrera, who played Isaac Mendez in the US drama Heroes, will appear as Lancelot, joining an all-star cast that also includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Anthony Head and One Foot in the Grave's Richard Wilson.
The three main parts of the young Merlin, Arthur and Guinevere will be played by a trio of newcomers.
Colin Morgan, 22, will take on the role of Merlin. Morgan has appeared in Doctor Who and The Catherine Tate Christmas special. He played Esteban in a production of All About My Mother at London's Old Vic last year.
Bradley James, 23, who plays the young Arthur, has appeared in an episode of ITV1's detective drama Lewis, while Angel Coulby, who plays Guinevere, has appeared in Doctor Who and ITV1 police drama Vincent.
Merlin is being made by Elisabeth Murdoch's independent production company Shine through BBC Wales, which also makes Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Julie Gardner, the head of drama at BBC Wales, said that working with Doctor Who show runner Russell T Davies informed the development of Merlin.
"I learned so much about the 7pm slot from Russell T Davies' Doctor Who scripts and from his approach as an executive producer to that particular slot," she said.
"Russell's been a huge supporter of Merlin. He immediately saw its potential and proved invaluable in early discussions about how to shape the series for Saturday night."
Shine producers Julian Murphy and Johnny Caps, who came up with the idea after working on BSkyB's teen horror show Hex, said that Merlin was also influenced by US show Smallville, about the early years of Superman.
Smallville helped provide the idea that Merlin would see a "Camelot that existed before its golden age".
"Just as in Smallville we wanted to subvert expectations," said Capps. "Camelot is a land where magic is banned [and] Merlin ... is a young boy who works as Arthur's manservant and has to hide his abilities."
The series has already been sold to a number of international broadcasters by distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises, including NBC in the US and CTV in Canada.
The trailer can be seen here (sorry, it won't embed).