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Railway Children (R)      TV G
Airing July 29, 2001, on PBS
(Check local listings.)

Originally aired November 2000

With a mighty clang and a cloud of steam, a charming new adaptation of The Railway Children comes to Masterpiece Theatre. E. Nesbit's beloved children's tale from the Edwardian era stars Jenny Agutter (A Respectable Trade, Silas Marner, The Buccaneers, Walkabout) as Mrs. Waterbury, a suddenly single mother with three young children who must learn to fend for themselves after the family is cast into dire straits by the mysterious disappearance of their father.

Resettled precariously in an isolated village, the youngsters grow attached to the nearby rail line of the Great Northern and Southern Railway with its elegant steam trains rushing between Scotland and London, its precise timetables and rituals of order, and its proud but idiosyncratic employees at the local depot. The Railway becomes a kind of lifeline for the trio, helping them to keep their father alive in their imaginations, connecting them with generous allies near and far, giving them a way to make a real contribution to their community, and ultimately providing them the means to improvise a rescue for their family as a whole.

In his television debut, the legendary Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park, The Sand Pebbles, The Great Escape, and director of Gandhi) joins the cast as the Old Gentleman, a kindly stranger who befriends the children and ultimately assists them to rescue their father, played by Michael Kitchen (Oliver Twist, Reckless).


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