producers: Timothy Forder and
Bevanfield Films Ltd for C4 animation:
cel animation episodes: 52 x 5mins
Murun Buchstansangur is an odd fellow. He's
a small grey onion-shaped man
with a mop of hair and big clog shoes and
he lives in a crack under the dirty
kitchen sink of an end-terrace house in a
rather dreary, rain-swept suburb.
And in here, this odd man with an odd home-within-a-home
squaring off against a series of everyday problems,
irks and points of view that
need to be pondered, prioritised and rationilsed.
If Murun has any encounters with
the wider world at all, they usually involve his
blonde neighbour who pops over
to share her own everyday matters of the heart,
but usually only helps to
fuel the general melancholia. Or a chap called
Nigel Clarke who brings
his own fresh dilemmas in to Murun's life.
Murun muses and mooches. A lot. And that musing
and mooching serves to
confine him within that dreary little crack
in the world. He spends a whole
Sunday, looking for a small piece of navy blue
raincoat lining. He becomes
convinced that his eyes are too close together.
He has to work his way through
a list of precise actions before he can go
to sleep... Oh, Murun..
Here then, is a curious, grey series, with
esoteric ideas - something for
the mind, perhaps, rather than the heart.
It strives for something to say
about the world, in a Kafka-esque way. Is
Murun actually our narrator in an
existensialised form? Are we looking at this odd
life through the eyes of
someone incapacitated in some way, working through the
days with an
inbalance that puts them at odds with everyone
and thing. Well, that's the
point here. Timothy Forder's creation is surely
representative of the quirks,
worries and niggles that manifest in us all.
And Murun's quirks obviously meant something to
Channel Four, back in the
day, because they commissioned 52 episodes, and
they were still being
broadcast well into the 1990s.
Bevanfield Films went on to bring us an animated
version of Bill the Minder.
and adapted Frank Muir's What-a-Mess.
In the 1990s they produced several
animated specials, including adaptations of "Aladdin"
and "Little Red Riding
Hood". As well as these series and specials
Timothy Forder also directed the
1993 live-action feature "The Mystery of Edwin
Murun Buchstansangur remains fascinating and
oblique. And memorable,
because its specific oddness lingers long
in the mind of folks who've
Come the second series, Murun's miniature
home within a crack in the world
is established in the opening sequence via
two slow pans. The layouts are very
Lowry-like, except there aren't any people
or cars or - well - there's no life here
at all, just that bleak run of bricks and
mortar in the first, and greying kitchen
walls in the second. Compare this to say,
Mr Benn's residence in Festive
Road which is a riot of cars and dogs and people
and bustling social
activity. Murun's sense of retreat and isolation
is inescapable. As is Channel
Four's desire to commission a series that's
deliberately at odds with the
bright childrens toon diets of the BBC and
produced by Bevanfield Films for Channel Four
Mary Swindale director: Timothy
Timothy Forder prod co-ord: Steve
Lys Flowerday, Anne Whitford paint & trace
Hawkins b'grounds: Lys
Flowerday artwork: Hierographics
Skeggs sound: Trevor
Barber editors: Mike
Murray, Keith Brookshaw narrator: Timothy