Looks Unfamiliar is a podcast in which writer and occasional broadcaster Tim Worthington talks to a guest about some of the things that they remember that nobody else ever seems to.
In this special Christmas edition, writer Stephen O’Brien joins Tim on a a trip back to 1984 for a look at how the BBC’s acclaimed adaptation of The Box Of Delights was received at the time by its target audience – long before it started to find itself recognised as a ‘Television Classic’, and when in many ways it was just another children’s programme. There are plenty of tales about the unexpected resonance that The Box Of Delights has taken on since then, taking in adventures in hunting down television tie-in paperbacks in somewhat less than upmarket bookshops, searching for the The Box Of Delights theme single and then in turn the album that the theme single was extracted from in even more bizarre surroundings, trying to impress dates with your intricate knowledge of John Masefield’s more arcane historical references, and attempting to wrestle the soundtrack of an episode from a video cassette onto an audio cassette in the days when the chances of actually owning a copy of The Box Of Delights in any form seemed as remote as Arnold Of Todi’s island hideaway. There’s also room for discussion of many similar serials that the BBC broadcast in a similar timeslot around the same time including Aliens In The Family, The Moon Stallion, The Children Of Green Knowe and – uh-oh – Billy’s Christmas Angels…
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The Looks Unfamiliar Box Of Delights – Stephen O'Brien – Whether They Had A Million Pounds Or One Pound, They'd Always Give It A Go – Looks Unfamiliar
Stephen O’Brien is a drama writer and historian of eighties pop music. You can get his book 80s UK Christmas Singles from Amazon here. Stephen’s Stock Aitken Waterman fan site Kean Canter Mattowski is here, and you can follow him on Twitter at @stephenobrien.
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Top Of The Box, the story behind every single released by BBC Records And Tapes, is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here. You can also find a feature on the many supernatural/sci-fi children’s serials broadcast by the BBC in the run-up to Christmas in the seventies and eighties in my anthology Well At Least It’s Free, available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.
Alternately, if you’re just feeling generous, you can buy me a coffee here. Not a bloody ‘posset’, thank you very much.
Stephen has also been on Looks Unfamiliar talking about The Office (the Steven Moffat one), LM magazine, You Can Do The Cube, Brilliant (the band), The Beachcombers and other last-minute ITV emergency schedule replacement standbys, and The Morecambe And Wise Board Game here and unusual forgotten Eighties Christmas Singles here.
Stephen has also appeared on Tim’s Marvel Cinematic Universe podcast It’s Good, Except It Sucks talking about Captain America: The Winter Soldier here and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier here.
Codename: Icarus was one of Rae Earl’s choices on Looks Unfamiliar – alongside school holiday mornings mainstay Battle Of The Planets – which you can listen to here. Richard Littler chatted about The Moon Stallion along with creepy Children’s ITV drama Come Back Lucy on Looks Unfamiliar here.
You Shall Have It Under Your Hand Today is a feature on the long hunt for the soundtrack from The Box Of Delights, which you can find here. Ghosts, Monsters And Legends (And Tennis Prodigies) is a feature on the many fantasy and sci-fi serials broadcast by Children’s BBC in the run-up to Christmas, including The Box Of Delights, Aliens In the Family and many others ; you can find here.
Looks Unfamiliar is hosted by Podnose. You can help Podnose to continue providing quality podcasts for free by donating to their GoFundMe here.
© Tim Worthington.
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