One Day Murun Buchstansangur Was Repeated For The Last Time, And He Got Very Depressed Over It

Out of nowhere, I suddenly found myself wondering something - when was the final repeat of Murun Buchstansangur, Channel 4's almost uncategorizable miserabilist 1980s cartoon? (If you haven't a clue what the holy hell I'm talking about here, read this. It's worth it.) I decided to take a quick trip to the British Newspaper Archive's website, where I could search all the TV listings of various national and local papers.

So: the show's last air date (as far as I can tell) was on Tuesday July 30th 1996, at five minutes to six in the evening. That feels way too far into the nineties for such an incredibly eighties-ish show, and it was "eighties" in a very real life / lived experience way that's the polar opposite of yer usual vaporwave 'n' VHS nostalgia. (Not that I'm against that sort of thing, of course. It's just that living through it in real time as a kid was very different, particularly in the UK...)

Murun's final outing followed the airing of a Terrytoons cartoon, perhaps further emphasising that Channel 4 probably never bothered watching a single episode of it themselves. (See the entry for Episode Seven at the above link.) The mid-nineties also marked the point where you'd start to have a tough time arguing that Channel 4 was still "Channel 4", in the sense of it being a TV station that would do something in the spirit of the Red Triangle season of films from the previous decade. There would still be some notable highlights for a few more years, but the rot had set in by now. (Stuff like Jonathan Glazer's 2015 idents were a nice throwback, though ultimately didn't amount to much when they were used to introduce programmes like fucking Gogglebox.)

By this point the schedules were changing. Despite Murun being followed by a repeat of The Avengers (as in Mr Steed and Emma Peel, not Marvel), which also graced the fourth channel in 1982, another programme that had been on earlier was Ricki Lake's talk show. The following morning would feature Nickelodeon imports Rocko's Modern Life and The Secret World Of Alex Mack, plus of course The Big Breakfast.

And something else that blows my mind in a way very few people can understand or appreciate: Chris Morris's Brass Eye was in production during this time, originally due to air later that year (the first show got pushed back to 29th January 1997 due to legal concerns). The fact that the final repeat of Murun Buchstansangur and the first episode of Brass Eye are separated by a period of time just shy of six months feels impossible, but there you have it.

If you're still reading this, you may be interested to know that the first series can be streamed from here, albeit in a weird semi-official way that's intended for TV production companies to view as potential stock footage they can use. (There's a bloody great watermark in the corner of every available episode, and there seems to be no way to download any of it.)

They all seem to have production clocks at the start as well, which is more thrilling than sex. Spot the deliberate error by an exasperated IBA technician:

A VT clock, as viewed through a modern media player. You can just picture said techie throwing up their hands in despair after having to have checked the video tape reel label one too many times...
You can just imagine said techie throwing up their hands in despair after forgetting how the title of the show is spelt, and this after already having to check the video tape label one too many times...