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Box of Delights, The

"In my box are such delights!"“HAVE YOU HAD YOUR POSSET, KAY?” Archetypal Edwardian “moral” fantasy for kids by John Masefield gets archetypal “big” budget BBC treatment with varying results. It’s Christmas in posh Edwardian England and, in that perpetual snowy Edwardian wonderland, a posh Edwardian boy is given an Edwardian box by visiting Edwardian hobo Cole Hawkins (played by DR WHO) which, when opens, transports him into a Lion, Witch and Wardrobe rip-off “magical” Edwardian fantasy land. Quantel Paintbox palaver then follows, including deer-deforming Herne the Hunter, a bird thing, and much flying about in sewers. Effects variable at the time, but the intervening years have smoothed all that out – they now look uniformly shite. Baddie got killed by a sack of flour.



  1. legrandpierre

    December 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    You know, this was Christmas in a cocked hat, and it’s theme and opening titles really ought to have been a shoo-in for your advent calendar. My finger is duly wagging.

  2. FishyFish

    December 23, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I love this. For all it’s inconsistencies it’s the most festive thing ever. I watch it nearly every Christmas now. The whole thing is awash with all sorts of nostalgia; childhood Christmases of years gone by, the slightly upper-class pre-war setting that all dramas of this type used to seemingly have, and a perfect 80s feel, both in terms of the somewhat archaic production (Chromakey visuals especially) and in the fabulous Roger Limb soundtrack. And that’s before you even get to the titles. Even the cliched ending can’t tarnish the piece.


    I hear that Mike Newell is planning a feature version, but I somehow doubt it will ever come close to matching this. I just hope it’s not the Purple Pim!

  3. Kevin

    August 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    When it was being hyped up Blue Peter you knew it was going to be terrible…

  4. Richard Davies

    August 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I remember Peter Duncan (or was it Simon Groom?) going behind the scenes for the shooting of the “hat turns into a boat” sewer scenes.

    Villan Abner Brown was hammy as anything.

  5. Andy Parker

    August 4, 2012 at 1:22 am

    My wife bought the full series at a car boot sale on VHS. Reminds me of Christmas as a kid, priceless.

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