In celebration of home entertainment release of the sequel to one of the most beloved British family films of all time The Railway Children Return, we’re taking a look through the ages at the famous faces that have portrayed The Railway Children.
The first instalment of The Railway Children (1970) follows the comfortable lives of 3 Edwardian children in their pursuit to uncover the reason for their father’s disappearance; after he is arrested on suspicion of betraying state secrets. The beloved film, directed by Lionel Jeffries, received 3 nominations at the 24th British Academy Film Awards ceremony with Bernard Cribbins also being nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actor.
Almost half a century later, BAFTA-winning Director Morgan Matthews takes us full steam ahead back to Yorkshire in The Railway Children Return where we see a new generation of children on their own railway adventure.
The Railway Children Return will be available on digital download from 30th September and Blu-ray and DVD from 3rd October, available for pre-order now on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3CZsNiq. Selected retailers will also have THE RAILWAY CHILDREN & THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN Double Film Collection from 3rd October.
THE 1970s RAILWAY CHILDREN
Jenny Agutter (Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury)
A Railway franchise veteran, Jenny Agutter has starred in two film and two TV series adaptions of the beloved franchise. Jenny first played oldest sibling Roberta in the 1968 TV version of the novel, before returning for the 1970 movie adaptation, then again in 2000 for another TV adaption of the novel and now finally returning once more for The Railway Children Return in 2022.
Jenny’s acting career began at the age of 12 with small roles on screen such as East of Sudan, DisneyLand: Ballerina (1&2) and A Man Could Get Killed. Following her big break in The Railway Children, she moved to Hollywood, where she appeared in works such as Logan’s Run, Walkabout and the Snow Goose for which she received an Emmy Award. Jenny’s role in Walkabout spearheaded her move into adult roles, with the next decades highlights seeing her win a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA and acting in The Eagle has Landed, The Man in the Iron Mask and An American Werewolf in London.
In more recent years, Jenny is best known for her role portraying Sister Julienne in the Call the Midwife series. Jenny has also been seen as World Security Councilwoman Hawley in ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’.
Gary Warren (Peter)
Debuting as Peter Waterbury in The Railway Children, Gary Warren starred in this role at just 16 years old. Throughout his teenage years, he continued his TV and film career in works including Catweazle, The Shadow of the Tower and Whack-O!. However, his last credited acting role was in 1973. Still proud of his appearance in the franchise, he frequently appears at The Railway Children reunion events and contributed to a book on the making of The Railway Children.
Sally Thomsett (Phyllis)
Sally Thomsett played 11-year-old Phyllis in the film, despite being a whopping 9 years older than this at age 20. During filming, her contract forbade her to reveal her true age and she was not allowed to be seen drinking, smoking or driving her car. Cast and crew members revealed that they were also unaware of her age during filming, noting that she would often be offered sweets. Sally received a nomination for the BAFTA film awards for Newcomer to Leading Film Roles for her role in The Railway Children. This role spearheaded her career, with her comic timing and girl-next-door appeal she began a career staring in a string of sitcoms throughout the Seventies.
Sally continued her acting career with works such as Straw Dogs and Man About the House.
Chris Witty (Jim)
Former actor Chris Witty played Jim in the original film. At age 72, Chris has moved away from acting however, he is still very fond of his time on screen. Chris commented, on his LinkedIn page, that he chose to resign from his acting career to ‘pursue a career in motor sport journalism’.
THE NEW GENERATION OF RAILWAY CHILDREN
Starring as Lily in The Railway Children Return, Beau, despite being at the beginning of her acting career, has already amassed a wealth of impressive credits and accolades including The Crown (where she played young Princess Margaret), The Duchess, Quiz, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Censor.
In his feature film debut, KJ plays Abe; a young American soldier who finds himself stationed in Yorkshire and subsequently runs away following racism in the ranks. KJ’s previous acting career includes TV shows such as Pose and Blue Bloods.
Austin has appeared in several on-screen works previously, such as Gentleman Jack, The A Word, Didger and The Duke. Austin stars in The Railway Children Return Bobbie’s grandson Thomas, who fast becomes friends with the Watt siblings when they arrive in Oakworth.
In her first major acting role, Eden Hamilton stars as Pattie, the middle Watts sibling. Prior to this role, she has appeared in a number of televised advertisements.
In his first major screen role, Zac is playing the youngest Watts sibling, Ted. Ted is an infectious character that does not let his age stop him from joining in on any adventures. Despite this being Zac’s first major role, he previously acted on stage in a production of Cinderella.
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN IS AVALABLE ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON 30TH SEPTEMBER AND BLU-RAY AND DVD ON 3RD OCTOBER
SELECTED RETAILERS WILL ALSO HAVE THE RAILWAY CHILDREN & THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN DOUBLE FILM COLLECTION FROM 3RD OCTOBER