For three unsuspecting librarians, it was meant to be a quiet first day on the job. But little did they know that a medieval battle of epic proportions was about to unfold in front of them – as if lifted from the pages of a George RR Martin novel.

The newly hired employees turned up for work at a quiet public library in South London, where they were shown into the main lending room to begin returning books to the shelves. They thought they were simply being left alone with the books...but it wasn't long before some extraordinary events started to unfold around them.

Flaming arrows shooting through the air, books exploding off the shelves and two medieval knights slashing at each other with their swords were just the start of what turned out to be no ordinary first day on the job.

The wacky scene was staged to celebrate the launch of new TV series, The Librarians, on Monday 8 December at 8pm on Syfy. The three unaware librarians were really walking into an elaborately rigged set, dreamed up by 12 special effects professionals and an undercover video team. The goal was to create a prank culminating in a gripping sword fight staged by stunt men who have appeared in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Avengers.

Nicky Douglas, Managing Director, UK, Universal Networks International, said: "We wanted to bring the magic and action of our new show The Librarians to a quiet, ordinary Public Library in South London. We set up three unsuspecting library assistants who found themselves enthralled in a medieval battle between two knights. We certainly gave them a first day to remember!"

The Librarians centres on an ancient organisation hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library in New York dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. Together, the group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artefacts from around the world.