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Spooky and magical kids' TV dramas of the 1980s: 1985-89

Alex Westthorp Sep 19, 2016

We revisit Tom's Midnight Garden, Moondial, The Chronicles Of Narnia and a few lesser-known UK children's TV series...

Read our look-back at UK kids' fantasy dramas 1980 - 1984 here.

By 1985 British TV's children's drama had really hit its stride, achieving "a balanced diet of programmes" as Edward Barnes, the head of the BBC children's department observed. The late 80s, arguably, saw a new golden age for spooky and magical kids drama. Excellent production values, improved significantly by well-honed special effects work using Quantel, Paintbox and Harry, and moreover some interesting casting - often of very talented newcomers - produced some of the most memorable dramas of the era.

The second half of the decade saw the BBC riding high on the back of the success of their state-of-the-art adaptation of John Masefield's Box Of Delights. Meanwhile, anthology series Dramarama was going from strength to strength on ITV.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Spooky and magical 80s kids' TV dramas: 1980-84

Alex Westthorp Sep 14, 2016

Did fantasy dramas Chocky, The Box Of Delights and Dramarama leave an impression on you as a kid? Revisit those nightmares here...

Spooky, always magical and occasionally downright scary dramas are the bedrock of kids' television. For me, the pinnacle of this sort of programme was reached in the 1980s. The decade saw a new approach to both traditional and contemporary drama by both UK broadcasters: ITV committed itself to regular seasons of children's plays with Dramarama (1983-89), a kind of youth version of the venerable BBC Play For Today (1970-84), which saw the 1988 television debut of one David Tennant. The BBC, building upon an impressive body of work from the early 70s onwards, produced some of its very best family drama in this era, embracing cutting edge technology to bring treats like The Box Of Delights (1984) and The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (1988) to the screen.
See full article at Den of Geek »

19 Things You Didn't Know About Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

  • PEOPLE.com
19 Things You Didn't Know About Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
American treasure and crown jewel in Gene Wilder's spectacular oeuvre Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory turns 45 this week. To celebrate, not only have we justly singled out the crime that was Gene Wilder getting passed over for an Oscar, but we're also giving fans an anniversary-based roundup of obscure facts and trivial bits about everyone's favorite vaguely sinister candy factory. 1. Wilder only accepted the role on one condition In a letter to director Mel Stuart, Wilder wrote that he'd read the script and would take the part on the condition that, "When I make my first entrance, I'd like
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

19 Things You Didn't Know About Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

  • PEOPLE.com
19 Things You Didn't Know About Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
American treasure and crown jewel in Gene Wilder's spectacular oeuvre Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory turns 45 this week. To celebrate, not only have we justly singled out the crime that was Gene Wilder getting passed over for an Oscar, but we're also giving fans an anniversary-based roundup of obscure facts and trivial bits about everyone's favorite vaguely sinister candy factory. 1. Wilder only accepted the role on one condition In a letter to director Mel Stuart, Wilder wrote that he'd read the script and would take the part on the condition that, "When I make my first entrance, I'd like
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

  • Comicmix
For years, I have railed against how often Paramount Pictures demonstrates their lack of understanding their Star Trek fans. One misguided decision after another dating back to the 1970s builds a fairly convincing case. The latest misfire is the release pattern to Star Trek Into Darkness, out on disc this week. In case you missed it, the combo pack includes the Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy we have all come to expect. You do get Bonus Materail on the Blu-ray disc, but it’s a mere 42 minutes of fairly perfunctory material, discussed a little later. On the other hand, there’s roughly another 60 minutes of features plus an audio commentary that exists but you have to be willing to buy retailer exclusive editions to get them or download the film from iTunes. Hopefully the outcry from consumers and failure to ignite massive sales to fans who must have everything will
See full article at Comicmix »

My TV Christmas cracker: Great Expectations

A fabulously dark and grownup adaptation of Charles Dickens' psychologically complex novel

Think of it as a late Christmas present: a new adaptation of Great Expectations running from the 27th over three nights. For me there is nothing in the festive schedules I am looking forward to more. It's aimed at kicking off next year's Dickens bicentenary. With a source text — the story of Pip, the blacksmith's boy and his mysterious legacy – that is probably the greatest novel written in English, the BBC is kicking off its 2012 Dickens bicentenary celebrations in some style.

It's not a very festive thought, but I'm most looking forward to the promised austerity, a very unChristmassy virtue of Sarah Phelps's adaptation of the book. I've only seen episode one, but it feels fabulously dark and grownup. It's bleak, raw and shines a sharp, cold light on what is one of Dickens' most complicated and psychologically complex stories.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

All-Time 10 Best British TV Christmas Shows

  • bestbritishtv
The Box of Delights

N Conrad

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Over the years, the British TV networks have aired some amazing shows over the festive season. People will inevitably argue over the Christmas dinner table as to which of these shows are the best. In order to spare you all from such fierce debates we have decided to put together our list of the 10 best ever British TV Christmas shows.

1. The Snowman. As the debate about the best Christmas show rages on, it is ironic that the best ever British TV Christmas show is the one that contains absolutely no dialogue unless you count David Bowie’s cheesy intro scene. Raymond Briggs’ artwork and Aled Jones singing have ensured that this 80s cartoon will always remain at the top of this list.

2. The Box of Delights. Money was
See full article at bestbritishtv »

My TV Christmas Cracker: The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff

The Mark Evans-scripted comedy series kicks off with a truly festive special starring Robert Webb and Stephen Fry

Is there anything more Christmassy than Stephen Fry in mutton chops, bellowing at a mucky-faced urchin? New Dickensian comedy series The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (from the pen of Mark Evans who wrote Radio 4's superb Bleak Expectations) kicks off with a truly festive special in the runup to Christmas.

Robert Webb stars as the unfortunate Jedrington Secret-Past, proprietor of the titular shop. He is made destitute by the aforementioned Fry (as evil lawyer Malifax Skulkingworm) in all his be-whiskered, roaring glory, on Christmas Eve and must repay an impossible debt to retrieve his now impounded shop and family. It also stars Katherine Parkinson as wife Conceptiva Secret-Past and the supporting cast boasts Celia Imrie, Una Stubbs, Richard Johnson, Johnny Vegas and Pauline Mclynn.

Like Bleak Expectations, it's a good-natured
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Xmas Video Vault: The Box of Delights

A quarter of a century ago, a few weeks before Christmas, this happened…

…and children’s TV, particularly at Christmastime, was never the same again.

It has been twenty five years since the BBC’s adaptation of John Masefield’s magical fantasy The Box of Delights appeared and time has not weathered its charm and festive cheer.

If you find yourself shouting the word ‘Splendiferous!’ when opening your presents on Christmas morning, or muttering that Granny nabbing the last After Eight mint is the ‘Purple Pim’ then chances are you’ve seen, and fallen in love with, The Box of Delights. It is a delightful yarn, spun with a love of Boy’s Own adventures and using some innovative animation effects to create a television event that is a treasure trove of nostalgic joy.

It begins with the impeccably posh young boy Kay Harker as he returns home from boarding
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Newell Opening A Box Of Delights

Director Mike Newell has had a pretty varied career, with films that include Donnie Brasco, Mona Lisa Smile, and the underappreciated Amazing Grace and Chuck. More recently, Newell got the attention of the young adult lit crowd when he took on the fourth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the first in the series to garner a PG-13 rating. Working on a popular youth story must have really appealed to Newell, because he's signed on for another one. No, Newell isn't returning to the world of Harry Potter. Instead he's taking on the classic story, The Box of Delights by John Masefield, reports Variety. The 1930s story tells the tale of a boy who receives a magical box that allows him to travel in time. The story has already been adapted into a BBC television series, as well as a radio drama that Newell has fond
See full article at Cinema Blend »

Director Mike Newell Gets "Box Of Delights" Project

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" director Mike Newell has been attached to direct "The Box of Delights," based on the 1930s children's novel by John Masefield.

The story, adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce, will focus on a boy entrusted with a magic box that allows him to travel through time.

Newell, who is completing post-production on "Prince of Persia," told Variety, "I first heard 'Box of Delights' as a radio play on the BBC when I was a boy. I was immediately seduced by the tingling, opening harp music and the fantastical, mysterious, magic story that followed."

"Box of Delights" had been a hit BBC drama in 1984 was a radio play version earlier.
See full article at iCelebz »

Mike Newell to direct "The Box of Delights"

Mike Newell will direct "The Box of Delights" for British company Brilliant Films. The film will be adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce based on the 1930s children's novel written by John Masefield.   The story follows a boy entrusted with a magic box that gives him the ability to travel through time.   Boyce wrote the absolutely lovely Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") directed "Millions" which found good reviews from critics.   "Delights" was also made into a BBC show back in 1984 as well as a radio play.   Newell is completing work on "The Prince of Persia" and was the helmer of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."  
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Newell's Next to be a 'Box of Delights'

Mike Newell has been directing films since the 1960s yet his name is primarily known by today's movie going audience as the director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Then again, maybe it is films that live on in the memories of most more than the name considering he directed the likes of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco and the Oscar-nominated Enchanted April which is seeing a special edition release in May. Up next for the helmer is the sword and sandal epic Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time based on the video game starring Jake Gyllenhaal and due in theaters on May 28, 2010, but Variety brings word of his follow-up feature based on a 1930s children's novel. Newell is set to direct The Box of Delights based on John Masefield's novel about a boy entrusted with a magic box that allows him to travel through time.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Cynopsis Kids 4/7/09

  • Cynopsis Kids
Brilliant Films teams with Mike Newell (Prince of Persia, Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire) to direct its new feature film The Box of Delights. The movie is based on John Masefield's 1935 kid's novel of the same name. Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, Hilary and Jackie) joins the team to adapt the screenplay from the original book. Brilliant Films' great Joe Abrams and Rory Gilmartin will executive produce along with Newell. The story revolves around an old man who asks Kay (12) to protect The Box of Delights, a device that allows him to change size and travel through time. However, Kay is in danger, but when he asks for help no one believes him. The BBC produced a mixed live-action/animated six-part series based on the book in 1984.

http://enews.cynopsis.com/html.asp?XZY1576007UTF60
See full article at Cynopsis Kids »

Mike Newell Opens Box Of Delights

Exciting news for fans of kids books: Mike Newell is set to direct a film version of classic 1930s children's fantasy story The Box of Delights, last seen (by readers of a certain age anyway) in a mid-1980s BBC TV adaptation.The story follows schoolboy Kay Harker who, on returning from boarding school for the Christmas holidays, meets an old Punch & Judy man called Cole Hawlings. Hawlings is being chased by a wizard called Abner Brown and his gang, and entrusts the treasure that the gang is after, the titular box, to Kay for safekeeping. The box, it emerges, allows its owner to shrink, fly and travel into the past (amongst other things).The book was a sequel to another Kay Harker story by author John Masefield, The Midnight Folk, and both books are reportedly due to be serialised by the BBC again this Christmas, which means you wait
See full article at EmpireOnline »

Mike Newell to direct "The Box of Delights"

Mike Newell will direct "The Box of Delights" for British company Brilliant Films. The film will be adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce based on the 1930s children's novel written by John Masefield. The story follows a boy entrusted with a magic box that gives him the ability to travel through time. Boyce wrote the absolutely lovely Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") directed "Millions" which found good reviews from critics. "Delights" was also made into a BBC show back in 1984 as well as a radio play. Newell is completing work on "The Prince of Persia"...
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Mike Newell to direct "The Box of Delights"

Mike Newell will direct "The Box of Delights" for British company Brilliant Films. The film will be adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce based on the 1930s children's novel written by John Masefield. The story follows a boy entrusted with a magic box that gives him the ability to travel through time. Boyce wrote the absolutely lovely Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") directed "Millions" which found good reviews from critics. "Delights" was also made into a BBC show back in 1984 as well as a radio play. Newell is completing work on "The Prince of Persia"...
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Mike Newell set to direct 'The Box of Delights'

Mike Newell will direct "The Box of Delights," the big-screen adaptation of John Masefield's 1930s children's novel.

According to Variety, Frank Cottrel Boyce, whose credits include "Millions," "Code 46" and "The Claim," is adapting the book, which follows a boy who recieves a magic box allowing him to travel through time.

Newell's credits include "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Donnie Brasco" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

He's currently working on the post-production for his upcoming action flick "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," based on the popular video game.

Final word: By the way, here are two of Newell's films I saw and didn't like: "Mona Lisa Smile" and "Love in the Time of Cholera."
See full article at screeninglog »

"Prince of Persia" Director to Helm "The Box of Delights"

Director Mike Newell, the guy who gave us "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and the soon-to-be released "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is set to direct The Box of Delights" based on John Masefield's 1930's children novel!

It's about a magical box that allows our hero to travel through time.

Aw, I want a box like that :happy

Newell tells Variety:

"I first heard 'Box of Delights' as a radio play on the BBC when I was a boy in a freezing, mostly dark-brown England where the radio sets were huge and the whole country seemed to be lit with a single 40 Watt bulb," said Newell. "I was immediately seduced by the tingling, opening harp music and the fantastical, mysterious, magic story that followed."

Just to get you excited, take a look at the opening animation of the 1980s BBC production of "The Box of Delights.
See full article at Manny the Movie Guy »

Mike Newell opening The Box Of Delights

Mike Newell has signed on to direct an adaptation of John Masefield’s 1930s kids’ book The Box Of Delights. Millions scribe Frank Cottrel Boyce has been hired by bankrollers Brilliant Films to write an adaptation of the story, which finds a young lad entrusted with the titular box, bursting with magic that allows him to time travel and sparks other fun adventures. Readers of a certain age will remember that it became a big hit as a BBC tea time drama (below) back in 1984, and even older types might recall the radio...

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See full article at TotalFilm »
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