Jenny Agutter reprising role in The Railway Children Return 50 years after original movie

The Railway Children at King's Cross trailer

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It’s been over half a century since the much-loved British family film The Railway Children was released. And today Studio Canal have announced a sequel called The Railway Children Return, which is set to start shooting next week. The original film’s star Jenny Agutter will be reprising her role of Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury.

The long-awaited sequel will co-star Sheridan Smith and Tom Courtenay plus a new generation of Railway Children.

A plot synopsis reads: “Inspired by one of the most beloved British family films of all time, THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN is an enchanting adventure for a new generation bringing a contemporary sensibility to a classic story and combining British cast with stunning locations.

“THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN will take audiences on an exciting and heart-warming journey, in which a group of children are evacuated to a Yorkshire village during World War 2, where they encounter a young soldier, who like them, is far away from home…”

So it looks like the sequel will be swapping the Edwardian setting of the original for a few decades later, just like Mary Poppins Returns – which landed in cinemas 54 years after the first movie.

Morgan Matthews will direct The Railway Children Return, which begins shooting on location in the UK from May 10, 2021.

The new film will include key locations from the first outing including Oakworth Station, Haworth and The Bronte Parsonage.

Plus the memorable Keighley and Worth Valley Railway will also feature in the sequel.

Penned by Danny Brocklehurst, The Railway Children Return will hit cinemas on April 1, 2022.

Meanwhile, a fully restored Blu-ray and DVD release of 1970’s The Railway Children is available, including a retrospective documentary and interviews with key cast members including Agutter, Bernard Cribbins and Sally Thomsett.

Agutter first starred in the BBC’s 1968 TV series aged 16, before reprising the role two years later in the feature film version.

Since then, the now 68-year-old has gone on to star in Logan’s Run, An American Werewolf in London and The Eagle Has Landed.

While in more recent years she played Councilwoman Hawley in Marvel blockbusters The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and is well-known for portraying Sister Julienne in Call the Midwife.

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The Railway Children was originally a 1906 children’s book by Edith Nesbit.

The plot saw a family move from London to The Three Chimneys house near a railway after their father is imprisoned on false charges of spying.

The kids known as Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis become friends with a person known as The Old Gentleman, who often takes the 9:15 train near their home.

And it is he who goes on to help prove their father’s innocence and reunite the family.

Meanwhile, The Railway Children sees them taking care of a Russian exile called Mr Szczepansky, who came to England looking for his family.

While they also look after Jim, the grandson of The Old Gentleman, who breaks his leg in a tunnel.

The first adaptation of the story was a BBC radio dramatisation for Children’s Hour, which was first broadcast in 1940, while a TV remake came out in 2000.

Interestingly this year, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a sequel called The Saving of Albert Perks, featuring a monologue by Bernard Cribbins. The storyline saw an adult Bobbie return to Oakworth with two Jewish refugee children who had escaped Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport.

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