The Railway Children Cast and Credits
Thirty years on from her memorable performance as Bobbie in Lionel Jeffries's film of the classic children's story The Railway Children, Jenny Agutter has come full circle to play the part of Mother in Carlton's new adaptation. In between her Railway roles, she has had a successful career on stage as well in film and television; she has had starring roles in the Australian 1971 classic Walkabout, and more recently in Masterpiece Theatre's Silas Marner, The Buccaneers and A Respectable Trade. Despite her glittering career, it is still The Railway Children with which people associate Agutter. In addition to her role in the original adaptation of the film, she had appeared as Bobbie two years previously in a BBC adaptation of the book and has since read the book on tape. Agutter's interest in all of E. Nesbit's books and the author herself has inspired her to put together a screenplay about her extraordinary life.
From Rab C. Nesbitt to E. Nesbit, The Railway Children provided Gregor Fisher with a dramatic shift in scenery and style. Famous for his often unruly urban characters in the likes of Naked Video, Para Handy, The Baldy Man, and Rab C, the role of Mr. Perks took Gregor to the rural Home Counties of the Edwardian era. Playing the compassionate, bumbling Perks allowed Gregor to give something new to the character, something quite comical. Fisher, who lives in the Scottish borders with his wife, Victoria, and their three children, delights in the family viewing of The Railway Children. The 46-year-old actor is currently at work on several projects, including a new sitcom for the BBC, Brotherly Love.
The role in The Railway Children of the eldest child, Bobbie, is a classic in British film. Jemima Rooper admits she was slightly daunted by the prospect of playing the part, a pressure doubled by the fact that the "original Bobbie," Jenny Agutter, would be there on the set alongside her, as her mother. Rooper has previously appeared in the psychological drama Dance for Britain's Channel 4, and in the BBC's Wives and Daughters, Junk, Summer in the Suburbs, and The Passion. The 17-year-old actress had to fit work on The Railway Children around studying for her A-levels. Now at Sixth Form College, Rooper is studying English literature, classical civilization, and theater studies.
Carlton's production of The Railway Children brings Richard Attenborough, the much-loved doyen of the British film industry, to the small screen for the first time. Despite an acting career that spans nearly 60 years and 70 movies, Attenborough has never appeared in a TV production and now only acts when he is offered a part that particularly intrigues him. The role of The Old Gentleman proved irresistible. Attenborough believes that Lionel Jeffries's 1970 film version of The Railway Children holds a unique position in British cinema, and agreed to participate in Carlton's adaptation of E. Nesbit's book because it will offer the viewer a different experience, and it will also introduce the story to a fresh, young audience.
Excerpted with kind permission from Carlton Television, © 2000.
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