Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Box of Delights on the radio in the 1960s

Christmas is coming and a lot of people are preparing for it by watching their Box of Delights DVD.

This time last year I wrote:
my heart was lost to A Box of Delights some time in the 1960s, when I heard a radio adaptation.
Since then BBC Genome has been invented and I can work out when exactly that was.

It must have been on 29 December 1968 or 28 December 1969.

Looking for the cast list (it was the same production for both broadcasts) it is noticeable that Kay Harker and Peter Jones were played by women. In Kay's case by the well known actress Patricia Hayes.

It was once common practice for women to play boys in BBC radio drama. I remember Jock Gallagher telling me that Judy Bennett, who played Shula in The Archers, was widely fancied by the production crew. So it was rather disconcerting when she put on her gruff small boy's voice and became the young Adam.

Today Kay and Peter would be played by boys. Interestingly, if you go back to a Children's Hour radio dramatisation of The Box of Delights from 1948 and you find that boys played those parts then too.


crewegwyn said...

'Dead Ringers' did a nice skit of Ruth Archer (oh noooo) being told by the doctor that he had some bad news for her. "Your children are not really children. They are adult actors putting on silly voices".

Rockheavyfan said...

Bit late with this but I'm listening to Judy Bennett now on radio4extra I ' Orphans in Waiting ' which was first broadcast in August 1990! I mean...surely they could have hired a young male actor for the part of ' Mike?' It's just bizarre to me. I can understand perhaps in the 40s or 50s...but 1990?? The other boy in this play is played by a young boy actor? What's the explanation?