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The Box of Delights to get new adaptation from Big Finish and starring Derek Jacobi

Jacobi will play the enigmatic Cole Hawlings in the production, out later this year.

Derek Jacobi - The Box of Delights
Clayton Hickman
Published: Thursday, 11th February 2021 at 9:30 am

37 years on from the classic TV series, a new adaptation of fantasy tale The Box of Delights is on the way.


Big Finish - best known for its Doctor Who audio drama ranges - has announced a new full-cast audio adaptation of John Masefield's classic novel (adapted by Christopher William Hill, with additional material by Barnaby Edwards).

The Box of Delights follows schoolboy Kay Harker as he is entrusted with a magical box and soon realises he has the ability to time travel and shape-shift. Soon though, Kay is thrown into a race against time to protect the box from an evil magician.

15-year-old Mack Keith-Roach will play Kay in the Big Finish adaptation, with Sir Derek Jacobi cast in the role of Cole Hawlings, a kindly Punch and Judy man who might be more than he seems...

First published as a novel in 1935, The Box of Delights found a new audience in 1984 when it was adapted for television by the BBC, with Devin Stanfield playing Kay and Doctor Who's Patrick Troughton starring as Cole Hawlings in the six-part series.

Sir Derek Jacobi said: "I have loved being involved in this new reimagining of The Box of Delights, and taking on such an iconic role as Cole Hawlings. The narrative, the characters, the amazing way it’s been brought to life on audio – it’s a perfect slice of storytelling magic!"

Describing the original novel as "one of the classics of children's literature and a personal favourite" from childhood, director Barnaby Edwards said: "It was a real pleasure to bring it to life for a whole new generation. We’ve stayed true to the setting, characters, plot and humour of the original novel, but we’ve upped the ante when it comes to the action sequences. This is definitely a full-on cinematic ride and all the more magical for it. The wolves are most definitely running!”

"I’m really excited Big Finish are bringing this magical story to a whole new audio audience," added producer Emma Haigh. "It will take you on a great adventure, with plenty of surprises, and wonderful characters to meet along the way. It’s a fabulous Christmas story that all the family, young and not so young, can escape into together – prepare to go swift and enjoy!"

Big Finish Classics: The Box of Delights is now available to pre-order as a limited edition 6-CD box set (priced at £34.99 and limited to 1000 copies) or as a digital download (at £29.99), at


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