The BBC has announced a fifth series of medieval fantasy series Merlin will be produced in 2012.

The announcement was made at the Comic-Con in San Diego, USA, by a panel which included the principal cast members, Colin Morgan, Anthony Head, Bradley James and Katie McGrath.

Merlin has become a major international success for producers Shine TV, having been sold to more than 52 broadcasters in at least 183 countries.

David Ellender, CEO of co-producers Fremantle Media Entertainment, said: “With Merlin now in 183 countries and both a fourth and fifth series underway it is a truly global brand. Consistent audience figures in each territory, a strong international fan base and a fantastic cast further cement its cross generational appeal.”

The fourth series of the fantasy drama set in the mythical kingdom of Camerlot, which is currently being filmed in Pierrefonds, France and Cardiff, Wales, will screen this autumn on BBC One in the UK. The third series, which was broadcast in winter 2010 pulled in the highest UK ratings for the drama so far, with a weekly average of over six million viewers.

Series five of Merlin will begin filming in March 2012.