I’ve seen a few people asking about this on various other Merlin Fan Tumblrs, so I thought I’d help try to clear matters up a little!
Filming for each series usually starts around March and ends sometime in October. The cast and crew are generally in Pierrefonds three times during this eight month period: April, June, and September.
The studio sets are all closed to the public. We never know ahead of time when and where any filming will occur in Wales or England. We only hear about filming locations after the event. So while there’s a chance of you being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, it does indeed come down to luck. Or insider information that we’re not privy to!
The one real opportunity to watch the magic happen is at the Chateau de Pierrefonds in France. Filming has generally taken place in Pierrefonds during April, June and September and it only takes place on weekdays. The Chateau remains open during filming, though parts of it will be unavailable. Again, much of this comes down to luck, however. If they are filming an interior scene, then you won’t have access to that room, and you won’t be able to watch. If they are filming in the courtyard, in the carpark (the tournament ground) or in front of the Chateau, then chances are you’ll be able to see what’s going on.
You will of course be asked to respect the fact that our beloved cast and crew are all working hard! Silence is requested while the cameras are rolling (someone will call out to warn you). Our cast are generally friendly and approachable, but please be respectful enough to wait until they can spare you their time and attention. Being able to see them like this is a real privilege, and we’re sure you will treat it accordingly.
In 2010, filming took place at the Chateau from 8 to 21 April, from 3 to 17 June, and from 7 to 17 September. Both the June and September blocks were shortened compared to previous years because less footage on location was needed, due to the nature of the blocks’ storylines.
Please keep in mind that we only ever receive secondhand information, without any official confirmation. Thanks are due to various friends for the info and heads-up. It used to be worthwhile keeping an eye on the official website of the Chateau de Pierrefonds for more information, but they don’t seem to post the dates any more.
If official dates are posted, then keep in mind that the first and last days involve only the crew setting things up or packing them away. The cast are not there at all. And, in April 2010 at least, the crew started work a whole week earlier than the cast – presumably for the sake of fixing and redressing the town set, and so on.