Monday 9 November 2015

1997: THE BOX MAGAZINE (Haymarket)

From 1997: the brilliant, and sadly short-lived, THE BOX magazine.

Although it only lasted a mere three issues, over a span of six months, I still rate this as one of my favourite magazines. I loved the way it wasn't afraid to tackle diverse, and occasionally obscure, subjects related to all things Small Screen in a detailed and considered fashion. This was EMPIRE for telly... Before the internet changed everything forever. 

I almost missed the first issue on the shelf of John Menzies (another blast from the past... WH Smith bought the stores a few years later and promptly shut them all) thanks to the Paul Whitehouse cover. But, once I picked it up, it was an immediate purchase. And it was only a £1. 

Two months later, issue two smartly rode the paranormal wave (no... Not the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it BAYWATCH NIGHTS) with the obligatory X-FILES cover. Although THE BOX was classy enough to cough up for the UK rights to the ROLLING STONE cover shoot rather than just regurgitate any number of studio publicity stills ala Visual Imagination.

Did the cover of issue three seal its fate? You have to wonder. Amidst hundreds of cover stars gathered from the ranks of the beautiful people, Father Jack in all his disgusting glory was closer to FANGORIA than TV QUICK. 

The third issue heralded great things to come: the fourth issue, due that September, was to feature THE SWEENEY and Michael Palin. And, best of all, the frequency was going to be bumped up from bimonthly to monthly. Surely the sign of early success.

Except. September came. And the Box didn't. For a long time after I continued to check the shelves but, after a while, it began to be clear: rather than expanding...It had been cancelled. Michael Hesiltine, Haymarket's top guy, had got his chopper out.

Months later, its passing was briefly noted (and mourned) in the pages of the Media Guardian (in the days when Monday's paper was still an essential read).

Others, noteably CULT TV, came later. And TV ZONE soldiered on. But there was little chance they would cover the same ground (except when Andrew Pixley was writing for TVZ). 

Apologies for clipping the right-hand text on each of these. The page size is slightly wider than my bog-standard scanner. 

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for this although I think its safe to say that the x-files cover was superior to the other two ! Lol.

    Rare stuff indeed and speaking of which, the oink blog has a great piece here about the now hard to find uk comic of JURAASIC PARK :


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