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 to take 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 become recognised as a ‘Television Classic’, and in many ways was just another children’s programme. They’ll also be following the unexpected relevance that the serial has had since then, taking in adventures in hunting down television tie-in paperbacks in somewhat less than upmarket bookshops, searching for the theme single and then the album that the theme single was extracted from, trying to impress dates with your intricate knowledge of the script, and attempting to wrestle the soundtrack 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. They also talk about the many similar serials that the BBC broadcast in a similar timeslot including Aliens In The Family, The Moon Stallion, The Children Of Green Knowe and – uh-oh – Billy’s Christmas Angels…
Looks Unfamiliar Box Of Delights Extra: "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 a keen 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.
Buy A Book!
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.
Stephen made another appearance 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, which you can find here, and unusual and forgotten Eighties Christmas Singles which you can find 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. The Moon Stallion – along with creepy Children’s ITV drama Come Back Lucy – was one of Richard Littler’s choices on Looks Unfamiliar, which you can find here.
You Shall Have It Under Your Hand Today is a feature on 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 serieals broadcast by Children’s BBC in the run-up to Christmas, which you can find here.
© Tim Worthington.
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