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The Box of Delights (TV Series 1984– ) Poster

(1984– )

Trivia

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The most expensive production for British Television at the time, with an estimated budget of 1.000.000 pounds. The special effects were innovative for that time period and were considered to be groundbreaking (namely the use of matte drawings, blending human and animated characters together and extensive use of blue screen and digital effects).
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Filming lasted for a period of six months in the early months of 1984 . Editing and special effects took the best part of summer and fall of 1984 and the series was eventually broadcast in the last two months of 1984 , culminating on Christmas Eve 1984 (coinciding with the events of the finale which take place on Christmas Eve).
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Budgetary constraints as well as limited technology forced the filmmakers to omit some scenes from the book . A few examples of the cut magical incidents are the following .
  • When Cole Hawlings gives his Punch and Judy show for the children he makes some toy soldiers come to life and parade .


  • Kay travels at sea with the help of a dolphin that he rides , holding tightly its back .


  • Kay enters a magical coach which is guided by flaming horses .


  • After the shrinking boat incident (which is featured in the TV series) Kay and his friends encounter fairies in the forest .


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Although Abner Brown is the major antagonist and the leading character Kay Harker is in the same room with him on many occasions , the two of them do not exchange a single line of dialogue during the course of the entire series .
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The events of the series cover a time span of four days. Specifically, Kay Harker's arrival at the train station occurs on the morning of 21th of December. The next morning Peter and Kay witness the abduction of Cole Hawlings by Abner Brown's underlings. The rest of Kay's adventures unfold over the next consecutive two nights (evidenced by the dialogue between Chubby Joe and Abner Brown in the final scenes where Joe points out that the old man is their prisoner for the last two nights) and finally the denouement takes place on December 24th late at night. Although Kay is seen waking up once more after his lunch with Maria who was released from her kidnappers this is actually a siesta and not another night sleep. The story is placed chronologically in 1934.
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The book on which the premise is based is actually the second one. The first book, called "The Midnight Folk", features several characters who are common in both stories. These include Kay Harker, Sylvia Pouncer, Caroline Louisa, Abner Brown and the Mouse who dwells in the sewers and assists Kay. Sylvia Pouncer was Kay Harker's original governess but Caroline Louisa takes him under her custody after the conclusion of "The Midnight Folk" . The existence of a full-fledged established back-story resolves some questions in the TV series such as Kay Harker being already accustomed to magical incidents, Abner Brown holding a grudge against Kay Harker for his previous interference, Kay being knowledgeable about Abner Brown's and Sylvia Pouncer's involvement with occult and their sinister intentions (as well as knowing that Abner Brown is using an alias), and finally Mouse recognizing Kay instantly (due to their previous encounters) and willing to guide him without any further explanation.
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There is a common misconception that the soldiers who encounter Kay at the sandy beach are Roman. The only Roman soldiers that Kay interacts with are the ones who appear during his dream and are definitely friendly with him. This dream sequence ends abruptly with no real resolution and generates the question if Kay time traveled and then promptly forgot about it. According to the cast list, the soldiers who attack Kay when they realize he does not display a shadow are Greek and not Roman.
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Kay Harker is of unspecified age in the book . Although he is supposed to be approximately 12 in the TV series , Devin Stanfield was in fact 13 years old when filming commenced and was already 13.5 by the time the production had wrapped .
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The book's ending was actually a last minute addition. The publisher mandated that the final paragraph would reveal that everything was a dream. The TV series has a more ambiguous resolution. Prior to the ending there are three more instances of Kay being embroiled in some magical adventure and then waking up, not being able to remember how he got there. The special effect used in two out of these 3 occasions (the exception being a hazy dream sequence which implies that Kay met with Roman soldiers) to signify the abrupt ending of a magical manifestation, is precisely the same effect used for the finale after the Cathedral scene (the darkness followed by the twirling golden light and the harp music). Taking this into account, along with the special time-controlling powers that the Box of Delights manifests, it can be inferred that the Magic Box reversed time once more, but this time back to Kay's journey home from school. It is important to note that, since Kay wakes up on the second train of his journey, the meeting with Cole Hawlings at Musborough Junction was not part of the dream.
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Although the ending is meant to be interpreted as a dream this is not necessarily the case. There are also three other incidents during the run of the series where Kay wakes up after some magical adventures with the Box of Delights and is found in his bed, contemplating if the events of the previous night were real or not. This is a hint that the Box can bend reality or even reverse time which is consistent with its time-manipulating powers.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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