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The Box of Delights

The Box of Delights is a children’s fantasy novel by John Masefield. It is a sequel to The Midnight Folk, and was first published in 1935. In 1984 the BBC adapted The Box of Delights  and broadcast it in six parts between 21 November and 24 December in 1984.

The show featured Patrick Troughton, Robert Stephens, Patricia Quinn, John Horsley and James Grout; it starred newcomer Devin Stanfield as Kay. An innovative mixture of live action and animation using Quantel Paintbox and chroma key effects were used to portray the adventure. The seasonal theme music was an orchestral arrangement of “The First Nowell” from the Carol Symphony by Victor Hely-Hutchinson.

It follows Kay Harker who is returning from boarding school when he finds himself mixed up in a battle to possess a magical box. It allows the owner to shrink in size, to fly swiftly, to go into the past and to experience the magical wonders contained within the box.

The current owner of the box is an old Punch and Judy man called Cole Hawlings whom Kay meets at the railway station. They develop an instant rapport which leads Cole to confide that he is being chased by a man called Abner Brown and his gang. For safety, Cole entrusts the box to Kay. The schoolboy then goes on to have many adventures as he protects the box from those who wish to use it for bad deeds.

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