John Masefield’s The Box of Delights

Sometime in the 1980s, I saw a wonderful and magical television series at Christmas time. It was from the BBC and rebroadcast on PBS in the US. The images from this program stayed with me, and about thirty years ago I thought I should try to track it down. I was limited in that I could not remember the title. I inquired of the BBC and PBS to no avail. So I set my search aside, but from time to time those images appear in my memory.

So last week I’m finishing this Autumn’s edition of Slightly Foxed. I’m enjoying Brandon Robshaw’s essay on John Masefield’s The Box of Delights. But as I read I realize that this sounds vaguely familiar. By the time I reach the end I am convinced that this is the book the BBC produced for television in the 1980s, the series for which I have been searching for decades. A quick look on the internet confirmed it. There were pictures of the show and they matched those in my memory! It was a BBC series in 1984, aired in six half-hour segments finishing on Christmas Eve.

I look forward to discovering how to stream it and watch the magic unfold once again. The book is still in print, and I plan to add it to my Christmas book collection. In the meantime, there is Slightly Foxed, our quarterly “box of delights.” If you’re not a subscriber to this amazing literary quarterly, here’s the link:

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