Home The Railway Children Return

The Railway Children Return (PG)

Cast: Beau Gadsdon, Sheridan Smith, John Bradley, Sir Tom Courtenay, Austin Haynes, Jenny Agutter
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Danny Brocklehurst, Jemma Rodgers
Director: Morgan Matthews
Release Date: 15/07/2022
Running Time: 95mins
Country: UK
Year: 2022

The year is 1944 and parents across Britain prepare to send their children into the countryside to escape Germany's bombs. Siblings Lily, Pattie and Ted Watts are evacuated from Salford to the Yorkshire village of Oakworth to stay with Annie Waterbury and her son Thomas. The displaced children encounter injured American soldier Abe, who is hiding out in the railyard, and discover they can play a vital role in the war effort.


LondonNet Film Review

The Railway Children Return (PG) Film Review from LondonNet

Writer-director Lionel Jeffries’ cherished film adaptation of The Railway Children, based on the novel by E Nesbit, has been chugging into the affections of British families for more than 50 years. Shot in West Yorkshire, the wholesome and heart-warming adventure transplanted three siblings (Jenny Agutter, Sally Thomsett, Gary Warren) at the turn of the 20th century from London to modest lodgings in the country after their father is arrested on suspicion of being a spy. The Waterbury tykes memorably wave down an oncoming train to warn the driver about an obstruction on the tracks and Jeffries orchestrates one of cinema’s great tear-filled reunions as a train pulls out of Oakworth station and a voluminous cloud of steam evaporates to tinkles on the soundtrack from composer Johnny Douglas…

An aptly titled sequel, The Railway Children Return, written by Danny Brocklehurst and directed by Morgan Matthews, strives to recapture the wistful nostalgia and sentimentality of the original against the backdrop of the Second World War, including scenes shot on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and the return of Agutter as Bobbie Waterbury (now a headstrong grandmother who has answered the suffragette cause.) It’s a charming confection anchored by strong performances from the young cast led by Beau Gadsdon.

The year is 1944 and parents across Britain tearfully prepare to send their children into the countryside to escape the devastation wrought by German bombs. Plucky siblings Lily (Gadsdon), Pattie (Eden Hamilton) and Ted Watts (Zac Cudby) are evacuated from Salford to the picturesque Yorkshire village of Oakworth. The tired children are eventually placed with headmistress Annie Waterbury (Sheridan Smith), whose husband is away at war in the Royal Air Force, and her son Thomas (Austin Haynes).

Four tykes under one roof is a squeeze but Annie makes ends meet with the unwavering support of her mother Bobbie (Agutter) and the local community. The displaced children encounter an injured American soldier called Abe (Kenneth Aikens) in the local railyard who claims to be a secret agent. In reality, he is hiding from bigoted military police, who have been raising batons at black recruits stationed on British soil. As Lily, Pattie and Ted become firmly embedded in village life and interact with stationmaster Richard (John Bradley), the youngsters defiantly stand up against injustice close to home.

The Railway Children Return sweetly harks back to a bygone era. Brocklehurst’s script lacks dramatic tension, restricting the spectre of conflict to one enemy munition dropped close to the village churchyard (“Wretched war, even the dead aren’t safe!”) Sadly, Bernard Cribbins’ beloved station porter Albert Perks doesn’t return to tug heartstrings and a climax on the railway tracks (where else) uncouples credibility in the sidings.

-Jo Planter


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