Andrew Crawford

Fine Decorative Boxes

This is the story of a coincidence – it is completely true.

NB – this page updated 24/08/2014
– Mr Wakefield’s Crusade now viewable – see bottom of page


When I first bought a video machine [1992?] I brought it home, set it up and looked in the programmes for something to record. Episode 1 of an adaptation of a novel by Bernice Reubens sounded interesting and suitably quirky, so I set it to record and immediately went to bed stupidly early to see if it would work. I woke the next morning and got up, also stupidly early, to check that my new technology had worked.

It had, and I ate my breakfast while I watched episode 1 of ‘Mr Wakefield’s Crusade‘, starring a young Peter Capaldi before he was quite so famous. It also featured such bright lights as Miranda Richardson, Richard Griffiths and Michael Maloney. As I munched my cereal and drank my coffee the story unfolded:

wakeA brief synopsis:

‘This is the bizarre tale of accidental millionaire Luke Wakefield, an accomplished failure, who embarks on a crusade when he appropriates an un-posted letter from a man who drops dead in front of him in a post office.

Pledging himself to contact the family of the mysterious Marion who, according to the letter, has been murdered by her jealous husband and buried under the un-sanctified turf of Wimbledon Common, Luke follows a tangled web of clues from the back streets of Merthyr Tydfil to the brothels of Soho.’


I watched as Luke Wakefield put his newly found collection of letters in a rather nice wooden box, book-matched burr walnut, curved lid and sides – quite a distinctive box. Which I recognised. In fact – there was only one place where that particular box could have come from – me, it was one I had made not a few months before.

So, here was my box, in a starring role – on the telly!  Well, co-starring anyway – and I knew nothing of how this had come about. I probably never would have done if I hadn’t decided to buy a video machine the day before episode 1 of ‘Mr Wakefield’s Crusade’. It turned out that the box was one that was on sale-or-return to a gallery in Wimbledon. They had been a nightmare to deal with and probably would never have told me about this. They shall remain nameless [actually I’d be happy to slag them off anytime if anyone really wants to know – and if they still exist, which I doubt]. I only found out because I phoned the BBC and spoke to the props buyer for the show.


This is either the very box [no! – see below], or one very like it, I made many that were very similar around that time.

What are the chances of this happening?

Update 24/08/2014:

I made a point of recording the other parts, of course, and the box appeared in all of them. I originally intended to put up some screen captures but never managed it, and then somehow lost/destroyed/wiped the whole lot. It was never repeated, but perhaps it will be now Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor Who!

And I was never able to track down anyone with a copy – but it is now viewable thanks to ‘duckodeathreturns‘ on Tumblr uploading it to Google-drive. Thank you! Click on the link below – quality not great but good enough to enjoy!

Watch “Mr Wakefield’s Crusade”

A few images hastily grabbed below. It’s clearly not the box shown above, I’ve searched for other images of this box but I don’t seem to have any. It’s decades before smartHinge! I will try to post some video clips soon – watch this space!