YOU can forget X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing — the real Saturday night treat is back.

Yes, Merlin has returned to our screens with its usual mix of magic, mirth and mythical beasts.

While poor old Doctor Who has finally lost the plot (what was that last episode about?), Merlin is a classic example of good family fare for a Saturday night.

Of course it’s complete nonsense but it’s great fun. The world’s most hapless monarch Uther has been reduced to a drooling wreck, while the evil Morgana looks like the lead singer of a Goth band who has just spent a fortune at the Mac counter. Quite how Arthur manages to control his kingdom with an ‘army’ of a dozen knights is another mystery, moreso when you consider that at least half a dozen of them get wiped out in every episode.

But the show’s essential ingredients remain intact. There’s a warmth and charm to it all, helped by some excellent performances from Colin Morgan as Merlin and Bradley James as Arthur, helped by the know-all Richard Wilson’s Gaius.

For the smallest of viewers some of the spooky special effects in the opener might have been a little scary but, considering what Doctor Who has been serving up for weeks, it was really nothing.

And the good news is we’ve still got dragons to come!