Get back on track with the Railway Children

21st April 2000 at 01:00
THE children's classic The Railway Children will chug back on to TV screens this weekend with its tried and tested mix of locomotives, costume drama and Jenny Agutter. But this time round the actress will play the mother of Roberta, the character she first played 30 years ago.

Jenny hopes the remake - to be screened at 8pm on Sunday - will lead to a revival of the author's books. "I read Edith Nesbit's books as a child but it

is only since I have been a mother that I have seen the full value of her work," she says.

"Because she wrote in another era it is easy to dismiss her work as irrelevant to our world and our children. What can they learn from a woman who could never have heard of television, let alone EastEnders or Pokemon? Nesbit expressed a desire to keep the magination alive into adulthood. Today this is harder than ever to achieve."

She believes the adventures of the children in stories such as The Phoenix and the Carpet and The Five Children and It have enduring messages about overcoming problems, making mistakes, but getting somewhere in the end.

She said: "Nesbit's children are practical, active beings, easily bored perhaps, but never cynical. When the children gather presents for Mr Perks they learn that a human emotion, in this case pride, can stand in the way of well-intentioned, positive deeds.

"The Roberta who is reunited with her father at the end of The Railway Children is somebody different to the more completely childish girl we meet at the beginning of the book."

Pick of the week, Friday, 35

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today