When I was trying to work out what word describes The Railway Children, the only one that I could think of was ‘quintessential’ and I’m not sure I’ve ever used that word before in my life! This Monday, 3rd May sees the release of Lionel Jeffries classic (based on the book by E. Nesbit) 1970 movie about 3 children (Jenny Agutter, Sally Thomsett, Gary Warren) who’s lives are changed when they are forced to move from London to Yorkshire with their mother (Dinah Sheridan) after their father (Iain Cuthbertson) is taken away mysteriously by the police.
After their initial upset of moving, the three kids realise that their fortune is not sp bad, especially when making friends with a local railway station porter (Bernard Cribbins) and discovering a new love of trains and the love of people (mainly ‘the Old Gentleman played by William Mervyn) on trains who pass them on the local railway which travelled from London to Scotland.
The movie is set in 1904 and Jeffries has to find the perfect place to shoot the movie. He was in need of a railway that had the perfect tunnel that could be used for much of the film. Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and its station at Oakworth were used as the main locations in the fim and to this day, people flock to the area to see where the movie was made. The Railway Children is much more than a book or film, it’s become a classic tale of 3 wonderful children who’s adventures are catalogued in the most spectacular ways. It’s so strange but refreshing to see what children used to be like back in the early 19th Century and I think Jeffries film does that perfectly – not that I have any basis to reference it!
The Blu Ray has a great featurette called Now and Then: A Retrospective Documentary on The Railway Children and also includes current day interviews with Jenny Agutter (Roberta), Bernard Crimmins (Perks), Sally Thomsett (Phyllis) and Jacqueline Wilson (children’s author) where they look back at their memories of the shoot, how they found filming and if they realised how big this movie would become. The funniest thing in the interviews is where Thomsett (who was 20 at the time) plays an 11 year old. She was actually older than her eldest sister was supposed to be in the movie. During filming, she wasn’t allowed to reveal her real age and in the interview she talks about how they snuck out of the hotel to go out on the town in Leeds and got caught by the director and producer!
Everything about The Railway Children is just fantastic and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The conversion to Blu Ray is excellent with the summer Yorkshire grass and the trains on the railway both vibrant and colourful. It’s definitely the way which it needs to be watched.
It’s released on DVD & Blu Ray this Monday, 3rd May and you can purchase it here. Keep your eyes peeled for our competition to win a copy of the blu ray coming soon.