Masterpiece Theatre (1971– )
21 user 2 critic

The Railway Children 

Dramatization of E. Nesbit's classic novel about three children whose lives change Dramatically after they move to a Yorkshire cottage near a railway line.


Catherine Morshead


Simon Nye (screenplay), E. Nesbit (based on the novel by) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Blumenau Jack Blumenau ... Peter
Clare Thomas ... Phyllis
Jemima Rooper ... Bobbie
Jenny Agutter ... Mother
Michael Kitchen ... Father
Valerie Minifie Valerie Minifie ... Cook
Melanie Clark Pullen Melanie Clark Pullen ... Ruth
Georgie Glen ... Aunt Emma
Gregor Fisher ... Perks
Amanda Walker ... Mrs. Ransome
Clive Russell ... Station Master
Richard Attenborough ... The Old Gentleman
David Bamber ... Doctor Forrest
Jane Wood Jane Wood ... Mrs. Viney
Ian Gain Ian Gain ... Bargee


Dramatization of E. Nesbit's classic novel about three children whose lives change Dramatically after they move to a Yorkshire cottage near a railway line.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

PBS [United States]





Release Date:

23 April 2000 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Les enfants du chemin de fer See more »

Filming Locations:

Lasham, Hampshire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Carlton Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jenny Agutter, who plays Mother, played eldest daughter Roberta 30 years earlier in The Railway Children (1970). See more »


In the scene where the children are on the canal bridge they watch a horse drawn canal boat pass under the bridge, the boat however is a motor boat and not an unpowered boat, motor boats did not appear on the canals until the 1920s. See more »


Phyllis: I'll die if I don't have a sandwich.
Peter: [sighs] Give her a silly sandwich!
[peers down the tunnel]
Peter: I think the boy in the red jersey has had an accident. As we speak, he's probably lying there, his head on the metals, an unresisting prey to any passing ex...
Bobbie: [pulls Peter's hat over his eyes] Oh, stop talking like a book! Keep behind me. And if a train comes, stand flat against the wall and hold your petticoats against you.
Phyllis: I will if you give me a SANDWICH!
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Version of The Railway Children (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

superior TV adaptation of an old favourite
6 February 2005 | by didi-5See all my reviews

This (perhaps superfluous) version of the Edith Nesbit novel was made for TV and, in an interesting piece of casting, had Jenny Agutter as the mother – she had been eldest daughter Bobbie thirty years earlier. Some changes to the fabric of the story were inevitable: more screen time is given to the events which cause the children's father to be arrested; the paper chase is no longer linked to the family of the old gentleman; and some of the characters are more sharply drawn than before.

As Bobbie, Jemima Rooper, is very good, but the other children Phyllis and Peter are just OK (played by Clare Thomas and Jack Blumenau). Agutter is perfect as their careworn mother, while Michael Kitchen makes an impact as their wronged father. Gregor Fisher plays Perks the railway-man with a good combination of jollity and righteous indignation; and Richard Attenborough is an inspired choice for the old gentleman (who is not as mysterious as he had been in the 1970s version; we guess he's a high-up in the civil service or the government in this one).

The great strength of the TV version is the attention to detail - we can feel the smoky fog from the 30s steam train as it rushes through the countryside.

An enjoyable TV film, but a complement to the classic one, not a replacement.

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