ALMOST half a century on from its original release, The Railway Children is making a return to cinemas in the form of a sequel.
The quintessentially British flick was based on the 1906 novel and starred Jenny Agutter, who appears alongside Sheridan Smith in The Railway Children Return.
Many of the original cast have gone on to become TV greats including Doctor Who’s Bernard Cribbins.
But not all have enjoyed success. Here we take a look at what became of the original cast after the smash hit.
Jenny is now one of the best-known actresses in TV thanks to her work on Call The Midwife as Sister Julienne.
Seven years after The Railway Children she won the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA for her role in Equus.
Alongside her triumphs, Jenny experienced some challenging lows. A year after playing Roberta Waterbury, she starred in the critically acclaimed film Walkabout, which featured a scene where she swam naked.
She was only 16 when she made them film, and described the scene as being “about innocence”.
Years later the nude images were spread all over the internet, “ignoring the context and exploiting the nudity” according to Jenny.
She told the Daily Mail: “It never occurred to me at the time it would be possible to do this.”
The actress, 69, grew up with two siblings who suffered from cystic fibrosis, which she believes ultimately claimed both their lives.
Brother Christopher died shortly after being born, and she remembers her little sister Bridget never coming home.
Both died from unexplained stomach problems – most likely caused by the condition which clogs up the lungs and digestive system with a sticky mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.
Jenny said she regrets not talking about it more before her mother died in 2006 but “some things are almost too painful to speak of”.
Almost 30 years later, the family found out that Jenny’s niece Rachel also has the condition. She was given a life expectancy of 12, which was revised in her teens to 28.
It spurred the actress to become heavily involved in multiple charities for cystic fibrosis and she hopes a cure can be found, ideally in her niece’s lifetime.
Her campaigning work earned her an OBE in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours.
Jenny took a break from acting while raising her son Jonathan and returned to TV screens with Call The Midwife – which she never expected to be the success it was.
She claimed to find being in her sixties “liberating”, telling Good Housekeeping: “I’ve found a kind of freedom… I’ve started to forget about having to be a certain way… I’m enjoying life instead. I’m getting on and doing the stuff I want to do.”
Jenny has enjoyed roles in The Avengers and Captain America Winter Solider as Councilwoman Hawley and will reprise her role as Roberta in The Railway Children Return, out next month.
Gary, 68, starred as Peter, the youngest sibling, in the cult classic.
He went on to star as the titular character in Alexandre the Great in 1971 and appeared in The Shadow of the Tower, Whack-O! and finally Armchair Theatre in 1973.
After filming wrapped on his final TV project he disappeared from the public eye completely, with rumours swirling that he had gone to work in the fur trade.
However, this wasn’t true and Gary set the record straight when author Jim Shipley, who was updating his book, The Making of the Railway Children, tracked him down.
The former child actor had actually settled down in Oxfordshire and had two children.
Sally, 72, was cast as 11-year-old Phyllis despite being 20 at the time and two years old than Jenny, who played her older sister.
She was forbidden to tell anyone her real age during production and wasn’t allowed to smoke, drink, drive a car or be seen in public with her boyfriend.
None of the crew were aware of her real age and treated her like a kid.
A year after the film was released, she married her long-term boyfriend Nigel Newton – but within six weeks, Sally said she knew she’d made a mistake, and they divorced within six months.
Her second marriage to Danish entrepreneur Claus Hede Nielsen in 1980 didn’t go much better. They separated in 1984 but she was unable to divorce him as he went into hiding.
She told the Irish Mirror: “I haven’t seen Claus since 1985. I don’t know where he is to divorce him. I think he went back to Denmark, or to LA. I’m still legally his wife, but I haven’t got a clue where he is.
“What does it really matter? It’s not as if he’s bothering me.”
She has been her with current partner Paul Agnew since 1993 and shares daughter Charlotte with him.
Sally previously opened up about a famous star attempting to proposition her and teach her how to kiss.
She also claimed director Michael Winner made a sleazy comment about her figure when she was just 12.
Bernard, 93, is known to most kids as Donna Noble’s grandfather Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who.
He starred in The Railway Children as Mr Perks, the station porter, who became friendly with the children.
Bernard has lent his voice to over 70 episodes of The Wombles and appeared in classic TV shows Faulty Towers and Midsomer Murders.
The actor has appeared in more than 100 films and TV shows.
Sadly Bernard was unable to have children, despite trying with his wife-of-63-years Gill – who passed away in October last year. He has said he acts to entertain children.
“We lost one quite early on and that was the only time we got near it,” he told The Mirror.
“That was a long time ago now. It’s just one of those things.”
The actor has had his share of health issues. He had a triple heart bypass in 1998 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009, but he is now in remission.
In 2017 Bernard had to have spinal surgery, so walking too far has become a challenge, but he recently claimed he is in good health for his age.
Dinah, who died aged 92 in 2012, played Mrs Waterson, the mother of the three railway children in the film.
By the time she appeared in the movie she was already a well-known actress with a glittering career.
But her personal life was plagued by heartbreak; she had three marriages, with two husbands passing away.
Her first marriage to fellow actor Jimmy Hanley ended in divorce in 1952, and he kept their children Jenny and Jeremy. Their second daughter tragically died after three days.
Dinah admitted she didn’t know him well enough when they wed – Hanley had told Dinah about his first and third wives, but hadn’t mentioned his second and fourth.
She told the Evening Standard: “I’d adored him since the age of 12. My mother tried to point out his irresponsible ways.”
Dinah went on to wed Sir John Davis, chairman of The Rank Organisation. He wanted her to give up her acting career and become a full-time mother to his three children.
Their short-lived marriage, from 1954–1965, was said to be characterised by cruelty – which she cited as her reason for divorce – and she suffered a nervous breakdown.
Dinah said: “I went to a clinic for six weeks. I told the doctor I wanted to see a psychiatrist. All I wanted was to stay in the clinic.”
Her next husband, actor John Merivale, only lasted a few years as he suffered from a fatal kidney condition. Dinah’s fourth and final husband, Aubrey Ison, died in 2007.
Iain appeared played Charles Waterbury in The Railway Children – the father of the family who was arrested and accused of being a spy.
The Scottish actor went on to have an illustrious career until his death in 2009 aged 79.
He made a remarkable recovery after suffering a stroke in 1982 which left him paralysed down one side and struggling to speak.
Ian spent two years battling back to health and eventually was able to act again.
Due to a fear of forgetting his lines, he avoided live theatre, but was happy to take on TV and film roles.
He appeared in Inspector Morse, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Minder and Dr Who.
Outside of acting, he served as Rector of the University of Aberdeen from 1975 to 1978.
Iain married twice, first to Coronation Street star Anne Kristen in 1964 – though they split in 1988. He was married to Janet Smith when he died.
Deddie, who died in 2016 from ovarian cancer aged 68, appeared as Mrs Nell Perks.
She didn’t enjoy the same success as her fellow cast members after the film, but did have bit parts in The Bill, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Whitechapel and Grange Hill.
In May 2007 she enjoyed brief musical fame as a member of the superannuated pop group The Zimmers.
As she got older she became increasingly concerned with issues facing the elderly, and went undercover for five days in a care home for BBC4’s Today Programme in 2008, posing as the elderly aunt of a journalist.
William had a small role in the film as the gentleman who helped free the children’s father.
By the time of the movie he was an established actor known for his work as Inspector Charles Rose in The Odd Man among other things.
He only appeared in six other productions after The Railway Children as he died in 1976.
William left behind three children, with one, Michael Pickwoad, going on to become a set designer for Doctor Who.
Ann appeared as Ruth in the flick after finding fame in The Dirty Dozen, The Million Pound Note, and A Night to Remember.
After the film, she appeared in Carry On Again Doctor.
Devastatingly, she never saw the release of The Railway Children as she died of cancer in 1970, making it her final hurrah.
She left behind a series of works including well-known TV comedies Hancock’s Half Hour, Till Death Us Do Part and Tea at the Ritz.
Tragic life of The Railway Children writer
EDITH Nesbit did not appear in the film, but wrote the book it was based on.
The author had a difficult life; she was just three when her father, a scientist and a teacher who ran his own boarding school, died suddenly at 43.
While her mother did her best to give the children a happy life, it didn’t last long.
When Edith’s older sister Mary, showed signs of tuberculosis, her mum decided to sell the school and move the family to France for warmer weather and hopefully a cure.
The illness had claimed the life of the writer’s father. Edith was left behind, meaning her life became a series of boarding schools which she hated with a passion.
When not at school she spent time at various relatives’ houses until her sister died and her mum moved back to a house in Islington, north London.
Aged 16, Edith was thought to be a wild child by Victorian standards. She met a young bank clerk, promised to marry him, but dumped him after meeting his colleague Hubert Bland.
He turned out to be the love of her life, but also one of its biggest issues.
Hubert, who dabbled in opium, already had a long-term mistress, Maggie, by the time they met, who was pregnant.
Their baby was put up for adoption and he allegedly left the mistress – although never entirely.
Shortly after meeting, Edith was pregnant at just 20 and the pair married shortly before the baby was born.
Edith became the breadwinner of the house, using her skills as a writer to support her penniless husband whom she later discovered was still sleeping with Maggie.
She stayed with her man, even using the love triangle as fodder for her writing.
But her heartbreak didn’t end there. Hubert had an affair with her pal Alice and fathered two children.
Tragedy struck again when Edith’s teenage son Fabien died, leaving her devastated.
She focused on writing children’s books which brought her riches and enabled the pair to move to a large house on the edge of London which became a retreat for all sorts of writers, artists and bohemians.
Unfortunately, things were far from smooth sailing when the sexually voracious H. G. Wells, 42, lured her 21-year-old daughter Rosamund away from home, alleging that her own father was trying to seduce her.
Edith stood by Hubert once again and continued to until his death in 1914.
Her final years saw her fall on hard times and she died in 1924, aged 65, from lung disease.
She did have a reciprocated love from Woolwich shipyard worker Tommy Tucker in her final years, giving her some peace.