The Murkum Show (2013-2017)

During the initial run of Arbitrary Stopframe, Doctor Murkum emerged as the most popular and most aired character, with starring roles in an unequalled three out of the overall thirteen episodes.  Around the time that Arbitrary Stopframe concluded, Tim suggested that Murkum should be given a show of his own - and after fifteen months of slow, false-start-littered development, The Murkum Show came into being in Spring 2013.

In the end, I decided that less would be more, and that each episode should comprise a single, short sketch culminating in some form of injury and/or embarrassment for Murkum.  The episodes are broadly similar to those of Arbitrary Stopframe in terms of their length and format, but there are some notable differences, mainly the custom-built all-Lego set, the recurrence of the same main character in all episodes, and the regular use of spoken dialogue throughout the series.

Behind the scenes, The Murkum Show has a lot in common with Papercuts, in that they are both divided into production blocks - groups of 2 or 3 episodes (3 in the case of The Murkum Show) which move through the production pipeline together - all of their voice work recorded in one go, then all of their stopmotion footage filmed in one go, etc.

Right from the start of the project, I planned that I would demolish the set after the conclusion of Series 1, and if/when Series 2 ever got made then it would take place in a different part of Murkum's fort; as it happened, multiple scripts for the second series had already been written before the first was finished; the second-season episodes take place in a new Staff Lounge, which is still being fitted out during the earlier episodes.  The second season went into production in February 2014, and was published between March and June.

Having gone to the trouble of adding a kitchen area at one end of the set, I was disappointed that it only ended up featuring significantly in one episode, so as the production of Series 2 was coming to an end I took the last-minute decision to make a short spin-off series in which Murkum's head cook Gonce Mulfidd attempts to host his own cookery show - Greasy Food with Gonce.

Series 3 moved the action out of Fort Murk and into the so-called 'Lord Murkum Nice Charity Station', Murkum's abysmal attempt at running a motorway service station about 30 miles west of the Fort.  The season aired at the same time of year as Series 1 (although I changed the broadcast date from Saturday to Thursday for practical reasons), and it follows the gradual disintegration of the NCS project, and Murkum's increasing frustration, leading up to his decision in Episode 45 that he will retire from the Murk Army.

Before fully demolishing the NCS set, I produced a second short spin-off series - The Lower Ranks - this time revolving around the Gamma-3 contingent, who have been banished to live at the Station a few months after Murkum's retirement.  The story took a while to fully develop, but ended up hinging around a string of blunders made by the Gammas in the wake of a communications breakdown with their boss.

Despite Murkum's apparent exit at the end of Series 3, the show did actually have a fourth season (albeit shorter in length at just 10 episodes instead of 15, and released in 2017 instead of 2016), which returned the action to Fort Murk and focussed on Murkum's efforts to regain control of his Army.  The new series featured some changes to the production workflow, with episodes now being shot and edited in the higher-resolution UHD (also known as 4K) format, and Fort Murk being represented by seven different small sets instead of using one large one as the previous seasons had done.

The fourth season finale was deliberately written to bring some ideas full-circle and to serve as a send-off for the entire show; there are no plans for a Series 5.


Doctor Murkum - Founder and Head of the Murk Army
Murkum is narcissistic, arrogant, violent, a kleptomaniac, a pathological liar, and not actually a doctor.  A spacewalk that went horribly wrong decades ago has left him with assorted bionic body parts including his voicebox and parts of all four limbs; he claims these give him superior abilities, but they really don't.  He terrified of mustaches (despite having one himself, somewhere under that visor), and of pebbles.
'Blue Gun' / 'Bluey' - Deputy Head of Division
Bluey first met Murkum in jail, and the pair co-founded the Murk Army thirteen years later.  Several defeats and disasters (and a few changes of planet) later, Bluey remains Murkum's right-hand man in the Murk Army's main division.  The name 'Bluey' might seem a little odd, since he usually dresses from head to toe in red, but the full version 'Agent Blue Gun' makes more sense when you see his trademark blue-lensed laser rifles.  He insists on going by 'Blue Gun' or 'Bluey' as his real name is so staggeringly embarrassing that he's never told his colleagues what it is.
'QSTG' / 'IRAM' - Pseudo-scientist
When the Murk Army arrived on planet Kadod after fleeing one of their worst defeats, Murkum hired a mercenary squad led by one G. Z. Fumster to refill his depleted ranks.  Since then, Fumster has changed his name several times, invariably to something long and ridiculous with an inaccurate title embedded in it; these names are usually contracted down to their initials by everyone else.  He is currently known as 'Intellectual Research Activist Mumbleforce' ('IRAM'), although Murkum accidentally calls him by the recently-discarded name 'QSTG'.
Mephnar Rosokiah Sr - Mercenary warlord
Mephnar is head of the House of Rosokiah, a nomadic bandit household who are the latest addition to Murkum's rabble, only taking the job because they were pushed out of their traditional desert territory.  The House are the most competent members of the Murk Army by a long way, and the only ones to pose any military threat to anyone other than themselves.
The Beta-2s - Fighting corps
Bluey's twenty or so Beta agents, who comprise most of the orange-clad crowds in The Murkum Show Series 1, are the largest fighting contingent of the Murk Army.  For many years they were mostly unremarkable, but Bluey came into some money a couple of years before the events of the show and spent most of it re-equipping and re-training his Betas (including the purchase of their current uniforms, weapons and aircraft), and since then they have effectively been the Army's crack troops.  Figures of note within the contingent include Atkun (Chief Engineer), Gonce and Uduir (the two cooks), and Solter (the Murk Army's crooked accountant).
Atkun Foundrum - Chief Engineer
Chief Engineer Atkun is one of the longest-serving and more competent Murk Army members, but lacking in people skills.  Besides maintaining both the vehicle fleet and Fort Murk itself, Atkun's duties include leading Beta-2 training exercises, and helping keep his Gamma-2 underlings under some sort of control.
Gonce Mulfidd - Chief Cook
Amiable and somewhat overweight, Gonce has served the Murk Army for almost as long as Bluey and Atkun, and his main role is to run the kitchens, where he churns out huge volumes of high-morale but low-nutrition muck, typically deep-fried because that's the way the Army like it.
Solter Gorritrant - Chief Accountant
Solter is the Murk Army's crooked accountant.  Murkum thinks Solter is really good at looking after everybody's money - which he is, if you count 'routinely embezzling half of' as a synonym for 'really good at looking after'.
The Beta-3s - General-purpose thugs
Once the Army's crack troops, the six Beta-3s (arguably six-and-a-half, if you count the mummified head of their former comrade Goven) have been IRAM's faithful followers ever since their days as a separate outfit on Kadod, and the group exist in a little clique of their own, regarding the rest of the universe with a little suspicion and a lot of disgust.  They have a bitter and often violent rivalry with 2-Group (exacerbated by the fact that the Beta-2s have become better fighters than the Beta-3s since their recent re-training), and - like everyone else - they particularly hate the Gamma-3s.
The Gamma-2s - Low-ranking dogsbodies
The Gamma-2s are the largest contingent of the Murk Army, at one point making up almost 50% of the main Division - but they're not much use in a fight, as they are without exception ignorant and stupid, and have little to no sense of self-preservation.  As a result, they are given most of the boring and/or moderately-dangerous jobs around Fort Murk.
Crad Suttrall - General-purpose goon
Crad's favourite occupation is attempting to suck up to Bluey, in the hope of getting promoted to Beta-2 - despite years of failure (often hindering far more than he assists), he remains convinced that he is just one more helpful deed away from securing his promotion.
'Left-Handed' Bob - Low-ranking dimwit
Perhaps the ultimate misnomer, Left-Handed Bob not only isn't left-handed, he doesn't have a left hand at all.  Oddly enough, this doesn't seem to stop him trying to do things with his left hand, and leads to him spreading even more chaos and debris than the average Gamma-3.
Mos 'Captain Eggs' Vondir - Low-ranking dimwit
'Captain Eggs' is one of the Murk Army's most useless members, and was among the first to get demoted to Gamma-3.  His two worst characteristics are a compulsion to gamble at every possible opportunity, and a losing streak which has gone unbroken for a decade and a half, racking up total debts on the order of billions of Dexu (although, fortunately for Eggs, nobody except Solter has managed to keep anything like an accurate record).
Derk Molgrick - Low-ranking dimwit
Derk is one of the Gamma-3s, who are probably the stupidest of all the characters in the Murk Army.&nbps; He has less obvious personal foibles or failings than many of the others (the worst is probably his insistence on not only wearing empty breathing tanks, but wearing them back-to-front), but he is still staggeringly unintelligent.
Grammum & Glogmun Fass - Useless
The Fass Twins are so identical, and so monumentally stupid, that even they can't remember which one of them is which.  The consequences are never pretty.
Randall Meswork / 'Oney' - Head of Tnarran Division
Oney is among the most senior members of the Murk Army, second only to Murkum, and not only heads up 1-Group (hence the nickname 'Oney', short for 'Alpha One'), but is in overall command of the entire Tnarran Division.  Despite this, he's of little help, as he is very nearly as dim as Murkum, and spends large amounts of time and effort trying to one-up Bluey, with whom he shares an intense and mutual dislike.
Forkley - Forklift truck
Started off as the baggage-handling forklift from a Lego airport set I was given around age 9.  Ended up being given a mischievous personality and becoming a perpetual thorn in the side of Doctor Murkum.


Series 1 (2013)

Featured Character(s)
Release Date
Elite Class
Bluey, QSTG (aka IRAM), Mephnar Sr
Matthew Colclough
Sat 18 May 2013
Features a welding accident, and a not-so-clever solution from Murkum's right-hand man Bluey
Beta-2s, a Gamma-2
Matthew Colclough
Sat 25 May 2013
Murkum's engineering-shop shenanigans continue, this time featuring 85% more machine grease
Headlong Dash
Matthew Colclough
Sat 1 Jun 2013
Loud and gramatically-dubious boasting goes before a fall
Hammer Action
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Sat 8 Jun 2013
Murkum thinks he can outdo chief engineer Atkun at the old art of hammering stuff
I Want the Droids
Oney, Atkun
Timothy Johnston
Sat 15 Jun 2013
Murkum has a video conference with Alpha One, the chief of Murkum's secondary operations on another planet, but it doesn't end well
Power is Everything
Mephnar Jr, Bluey
Timothy Johnston
Sat 22 Jun 2013
Murkum does some ill-founded boasting about his gun, Craftman, which could perhaps best be described as a laser blunderbuss
Props for Ignorance
Matthew Colclough
Sat 29 Jun 2013
Murkum versus gravity
Speed of Delivery
Timothy Johnston
Fri 5 Jul 2013
Murkum's patience gets put to the test
Derk Molgrick
Sarah Johnston
Sat 13 Jul 2013
The best laid plans of mice and Murkum, are wont to go awry - especially when there's a power tool in the room
Steady Hand
Grud Droid, Atkun
Matthew Colclough
Sat 20 Jul 2013
Don't question Murkum's soldering ability: according to quantum theory, any questioning of Murkum's soldering ability will cause a reduction in Murkum's soldering ability
Shiny New Toy
a Gamma-2
Sam Arthur
Sat 27 Jul 2013
The Murk Army love their gadgets
Boss Machine
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Sat 3 Aug 2013
Murkum thinks it would be a good idea to build a machine that will make his agents more obedient
Live Wire
Sarah Johnston
Sat 10 Aug 2013
Murkum has a set-to with an electrical junction box which seems to have a mind of its own
Cough Sweets
Mephnar Sr, a Gamma-2
Sam Arthur
Sat 17 Aug 2013
Murkum thinks it's really exciting, how you can click things on the internet and they arrive at your front door a few days later
Breach of the Peace
Bluey, IRAM, Mephnar Sr
Timothy Johnston
Sat 24 Aug 2013
The Murk Army is not a place of peace and harmony: internal squabbling is the usual order of the day... sometimes Murkum eggs them on, and other times he just wishes they'd stop breaking all of his stuff

Series 2 (2014)

Featured Character(s)
Release Date
A Prologue to Series 2
Timothy Johnston
Sat 15 Feb 2014
Murkum is in the Staff Lounge, trying to show off a clever trick to his men...
My Tune to Call
Darron Stenxe
Matthew Colclough
Sat 1 Mar 2014
Opinions clash as the Murk Army start to build themselves a new Staff Lounge
Wet Rot
Bluey, Atkun
Sarah Johnston
Sat 8 Mar 2014
Is it a coffee stain?  Is it a fungal infection?  Is it going to kill us all, or is Murkum overreacting again?
Ready Money
Solter, Mephnar Sr, IRAM
Sam Arthur
Sat 15 Mar 2014
The Murk Army need funds for a new sofa, apparently
Use Nor Ornament
Arrem Frostming, Gammas, Bluey
Timothy Johnston
Sat 22 Mar 2014
Where do you draw the line between keeping tools handy versus letting your lounge get cluttered?  Murkum and an underling disagree...
a Gamma-2
Matthew Colclough
Sat 29 Mar 2014
Having a bionic arm means you always win at arm wrestling - right?
Waiter, Waiter
Gonce, Left-Handed Bob
Timothy Johnston
Sat 5 Apr 2014
Murkum isn't very good at assessing whether other people will be any good at particular jobs
Gamma Trap
Atkun, Left-Handed Bob
Timothy Johnston
Mon 12 May 2014
Murkum doesn't want to share his Staff Lounge with the low-ranking and deeply moronic Gamma agents any more, and tries a cunning plan to keep them out...
Cooks Only
Sam Arthur
Sat 19 Apr 2014
Paranoid about doors in the aftermath of the Gamma Trap incident, Murkum decides he wants to go into the Staff Lounge through the kitchen door instead, but runs up against rules laid down by... well, himself
Defective Goods
IRAM, Left-Handed Bob
Sarah Johnston & Timothy Johnston
Sat 26 Apr 2014
Want a coffee?  Well, you can't have one, because the machine's broken, and even the combined genius of Murkum and IRAM doesn't seem to be making any difference...
A Friend in Need
Oney, Hooper, Mitchell
Timothy Johnston
Sat 3 May 2014
Alpha One, head of the Murk Army's secondary division, turns up to help his boss with some supply issues - but, as usual, nothing goes entirely to plan around here!
Rank and File
Oney, Bluey
Sarah Johnston
Sat 10 May 2014
Nothing brightens your day like a pair of your underlings scrapping, does it?
Harmony is For Fools
MC Gamma, Crad, Carrots, Oney, IRAM
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Sat 17 May 2014
Fort Murk's resident band perform a send-off concert for Tnarran Division, but it doesn't come across the way Murkum hoped...
Mystery Gadget
Sarah Johnston
Sat 24 May 2014
The chief engineer knows what it is, but the boss is clueless...
After Hours
Arrem Frostming, Captain Eggs
Matthew Colclough
Sat 31 May 2014
Why you shouldn't hang around in the Fort Murk corridors at night
Brave and Heroic
Crad, Arrem Frostming
Matthew Colclough
Sat 7 Jun 2014
Murkum has stolen something very shiny from his enemies, and can't pass up the opportunity to brag about it...

Series 3 (2015)

Featured Character(s)
Release Date
A Prologue to Series 3
Matthew Colclough
Sat 28 Feb 2015
Apparently, the Murk Army are now trying to run a motorway service station...
Motive Juice
Matthew Colclough
Thu 30 Apr 2015
Petrol?  Diesel?  Hydrogen?  Murkum is confused by all the different fuels, and fed up with customers complaining when he puts the wrong one in their tanks...
Creative Accounting
Solter, Atkun
Timothy Johnston
Thu 7 May 2015
It's always good to have a trustworthy accountant like Solter, especially when you've been trying to get your Army back on the straight and narrow...
Simple Directions
Matthew Colclough
Thu 14 May 2015
Murkum tries his hand at directing traffic, and things go as smoothly as ever...
Tidiness is Paramount
Phil Oakley
Thu 28 May 2015
Broken glass leads to broken egos
We Got You Covered
a Gamma, a customer
Sarah Johnston
Thu 4 Jun 2015
For some reason, Murkum now thinks he can run a breakdown service
a customer
Timothy Johnston
Thu 18 Jun 2015
A customer finds Murkum cornered by one of his worst nightmares - the dreaded Hardbrained Beetle!
A Bus to Catch
Bluey, IRAM, Gonce
Sam Arthur
Thu 25 Jun 2015
Toilets and buses make a bad combination for Murkum
The Darkness
Left-Handed Bob
Sam Arthur and Matthew Colclough
Thu 2 Jul 2015
Murkum's been left behind at the service station overnight, and his pre-bed coffee gets rudely interrupted
Dozy Head
Matthew Colclough
Thu 9 Jul 2015
Murkum's still stuck at the Station, it's getting late, and now he's found another problem: some idiot doesn't know how to put a bed together
The Poster Men
Bluey, Meph Sr, Atkun et al
Timothy Johnston
Thu 16 Jul 2015
A bunch of Murkum's men are designing promotional posters to try and get customers to spend more money.  Their graphic design skills are questionable.
Colourings and Sweeteners
Gonce, Bluey, a customer
Phil Oakley
Thu 23 Jul 2015
Gonce has been trying to make his porridge more exciting... which may or may not have been a good idea.
Supply and Demand
Oney, a customer
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Thu 30 Jul 2015
Murkum calls his friend Alpha One for help with his economic woes, but Oney isn't exactly being cooperative...
Take-Out Coffee
a customer, Mouldy Stennids
Sarah Johnston
Fri 7 Aug 2015
The customer wants a drink.  How hard can it be?
Lost Property
Mephnar Sr
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Fri 14 Aug 2015
Murkum's motorway service station is in trouble, but Murkum seems to have something else on his mind...
The Last Slouch
Bluey, IRAM, Mephnar Sr
Matthew Colclough
Thu 20 Aug 2015
Murkum's lost his service station, but he's got one last clever plan up his sleeve before he calls it quits...

Series 4 (2016-2017)

Featured Character(s)
Release Date
A Prologue to Series 4
Matthew Colclough
Mon 19 Dec 2016
It's been a while... and Murkum's spent the whole time sat on his behind at an old people's home, getting bored out of his skull.  It's time for things to change...
Ghost at the Water Cooler
Thell Nashric, Mouldy Stennids
Matthew Colclough
Thu 25 May 2017
And then, just when Murkum's men start to think the Army's doing pretty well without him...
Atkun, Solter, IRAM, Mephnar Sr
Jake Ayrton and Matthew Colclough
Thu 1 Jun 2017
Murkum finds it difficult to get his head around the idea of other people having an executive meeting without him
Signals of Respect
Gamma-2s, Beta-2s, Gonce, Thell
Matthew Colclough
Thu 8 Jun 2017
Murkum tries to convince anyone who'll listen that he's in charge again, and demands instant acknowledgement no matter what
Use Your Head
The Fass Twins
Sam Arthur and Matthew Colclough
Thu 15 Jun 2017
With all other options exhausted, Murkum has to resort to asking Grammun and Glogmun to help him in one of his arbitrary quests
Murkum's Birthday
Atkun, IRAM, Mephnar, Nudds, Gonce, Thell, LH Bob, Eggs
Matthew Colclough
Thu 22 Jun 2017
Atkun, IRAM and Mephnar task some Gammas with faking a birthday for Murkum to stop him getting under their feet - but will the ruse work?
(This is a longer-than-usual episode, to celebrate reaching the show's fiftieth instalment)
Noble Intent
Timothy Johnston
Thu 29 Jun 2017
In the aftermath of Murkum's birthday, some Gammas conduct a post-mortem on their efforts to provide him with an extra impromptu surprise
The Hero Who Wasn't
Atkun, Solter, IRAM, Mephnar Sr
Jake Ayrton and Matthew Colclough
Thu 6 Jul 2017
Still on a quest to get control of his Army back, Murkum tries staging a disaster and a brave rescue plan FAO Atkun
Present Danger
Nudds, LH Bob, Eggs, Thell
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Thu 13 Jul 2017
Remember that present that never turned up on Murkum's fake birthday?  Things get even worse when it finally arrives!
Jailhouse Block
LH Bob, Bluey, Gonce, Nivv
Sam Arthur
Thu 20 Jul 2017
Murkum's men seem to keep getting underfoot, but he's got the ideal solution for that sort of thing...
The Boss is Back
Matthew Colclough & Timothy Johnston
Thu 27 Jul 2017
In a last attempt to make his erstwhile employees do his bidding again, Murkum repairs and reactivates his old Obedience Machine, and tests it on the long-suffering Bluey

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