The Railway Children Return – and they’re more wholesome than ever.
Reboots and sequels are en vogue right now – but it’s rare to see a sequel that contains just as much heart and soul as the original.
The Railway Children Return sure gives it a good shot, transporting audiences back to the mid-war British countryside of 1944 – a space that’s rife for adventure, drama, and lots of learning.
Released in Ireland earlier this month, the film tells the story of a young group of children who are evacuated to a village in Yorkshire during World War 2. While there, they meet a young injured solider, Abe, who claims to be on a secret mission and needs to remain hidden for the duration of his stay.
Directed by Morgan Matthews and written by Danny Brockelhurst, the new film is a sequel to the much loved movie of 1970, The Railway Children, based on the novel of the same name. In it, the incredible Jenny Agutter reprises her role (but now as a grandmother), and Sheridan Smith takes on the role of her daughter, Annie.
Agutter, who you may recognise from her role in Call the Midwife as the wise Sister Julienne, returns as Bobbie, a caring mother and doting grandmother, who welcomes the children into the village as they escape the fresh bombings that 1944 has brought.
She tells Her that she adored shooting the film alongside so many talented child actors like Beau Gadson (Lily), Austin Haynes (Thomas), and Eden Hamilton (Pattie). She also praised the children’s professionalism and says that she felt she and co-star Sheridan Smith were probably the most childish on set.
“The whole experience of coming to it, and the children too, and I’m trying not to gush, but it was like coming into a big family,” she tells Her. “Everybody was very close and it was very generous to be allowed to come in and play alongside them.
“We’ve [Agutter and Smith) just been saying that we think we’re more childish than the children. The children are much more serious, much more serious than we are. We’re very naughty.”
Smith, who is also known for her incredible roles in Cilla and Mrs Biggs, says that she remembers watching the Railway Children with her family as a child when it was first released – a memory that inevitably came flooding back while she was shooting the new movie.
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Smith tells Her: “I did see the film when I was a little girl with my mum and dad at Christmas and they were huge fans of it, and I really vividly remember it.
“So when I got the call about the Railway Children Return and that I’d play Jenny Agutter’s daughter I was over the moon.”
The Railway Children Return is a family adventure movie, but it’s also a wholesome return to the past, featuring one of the characters we know and love from E. Nesbits’ original novel and a whole lot of the same hearty family fun.
A fresh take on a classic, the new film maintains its connection to the source material, while also giving audiences something new to enjoy for years to come.
The Railway Children Return is in Irish cinemas now.