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The Box of Delights 

Based on the classic children's novel by John Masefield, the story follows the exploits of a young boy, Kay Harker, who finds himself drawn into a world of magic and danger when he ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
Devin Stanfield Devin Stanfield ...  Kay Harker 6 episodes, 1984
Robert Stephens ...  Abner Brown 6 episodes, 1984
Geoffrey Larder Geoffrey Larder ...  Foxy Faced Charles 6 episodes, 1984
Jonathan Stephens Jonathan Stephens ...  Chubby Joe 6 episodes, 1984
Heidi Burton Heidi Burton ...  Jemima 6 episodes, 1984
Joanna Dukes Joanna Dukes ...  Maria 6 episodes, 1984
Flora Page Flora Page ...  Susan 6 episodes, 1984
James Grout ...  Inspector 5 episodes, 1984
Carol Frazer Carol Frazer ...  Caroline Louisa 5 episodes, 1984
Crispin Mair Crispin Mair ...  Peter 5 episodes, 1984
Glyn Baker Glyn Baker ...  Herne the Hunter 5 episodes, 1984
Patricia Quinn ...  Sylvia Daisy Pouncer 4 episodes, 1984
John Horsley ...  Bishop of Tatchester 4 episodes, 1984
Helen Fraser Helen Fraser ...  Ellen 4 episodes, 1984
Patrick Troughton ...  Cole Hawlings 3 episodes, 1984
Anne Dyson ...  The Old Lady 3 episodes, 1984
Nick Berry Nick Berry ...  Pirate Rat 3 episodes, 1984
Stewart Harwood Stewart Harwood ...  Pirate Rat 3 episodes, 1984
Bill Wallis Bill Wallis ...  Rat 2 episodes, 1984
Charles Pemberton Charles Pemberton ...  Chief Constable 2 episodes, 1984
Johnny Casino Johnny Casino ...  Old Jim 2 episodes, 1984
Simon Barry Simon Barry ...  Mouse 2 episodes, 1984
Jason Kemp Jason Kemp ...  Waterfall Boy 2 episodes, 1984
John Styles John Styles ...  Puppeteer 2 episodes, 1984


Based on the classic children's novel by John Masefield, the story follows the exploits of a young boy, Kay Harker, who finds himself drawn into a world of magic and danger when he encounters an old Punch and Judy man. Written by <markh@centurione.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Fantasy



Official Sites:

BBCi page





Release Date:

21 November 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

La caja mágica See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(6 episodes)



Aspect Ratio:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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. See more »


The Old Lady: Herne The Hunter, keep your lions away from my unicorns!
See more »


Featured in Screenwipe: A Very Screenwipe Christmas (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

18 September 1999 | by beebee-4See all my reviews

How could you not like a story where the villain - and an evil and odious villain he is - is a Methodist Bishop? Where little boys turn into mice and run through the walls to spy on the bad guys?

This is a thoroughly charming Christmas fantasy, wonderfully made by the BBC in the mid-80's, based on a children's book by John Masefield. Set in England in the 1930's, it tells the adventures of Kay Hawker as he returns home from school for Christmas. On the train he meets a mysterious but kindly old man who gives him the Box of Delights, a magical box which gives the holder the powers of flight, physical transformation, and the ability to travel through time. Of course, the forces of evil, led by the aforementioned Bishop, are out to steal the Box, and its up to Kay and his friends to stop them.

This is an absolutely first rate BBC production. Patrick Troughton of Dr. Who fame is the mysterious old man and Robert Stephens is the Bishop. The story, the visual effects, and the music are all enthralling.

Actually, its somewhat of a fluke that I have seen this program since it has - to my knowledge - never been shown in the United States. In the mid-80's I was living in Cleveland, Ohio, and we could pick up Canadian TV from across the Lake. One day I happened to turn on the television and this was on; I was instantly captivated. Ever since then I have tried to find tapes of this show but, unfortunately, they are not available in the U.S.

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