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Railway Children, The

1 9 5 1 (UK)
8 x 30 minute episodes
4 x 60 minute episodes

In 1951, Edith Nesbit’s story was chosen as one of the first to be adapted by the BBC. The series was originally broadcast live in eight parts on Tuesdays at 5.30 pm between 6 February and 27 March 1951.

The broadcast was not recorded but proved so popular that it was re-staged later in four one-hour episodes at 5.00 pm between 10 July and 31 July 1951 with the same cast (except for the role of Perks which was recast).

It would be impossible to tell this tale of trains and the great outdoors without some location filming and some outdoor work did indeed take place for the original version. The young actors froze in their cotton clothes during the winter shoot (the series was shot over the winter of 1950/1951). The film inserts were retained and used again for the later re-staging.

Although no evidence remains, it’s likely this was a very literal re-telling of the story as the episode titles are all taken directly from the novel’s chapter titles.

The subsequent 1957 version stuck closely to Dorothea Brooking’s 1951 script. The series was tackled again in 1968 by the BBC – arguably the best of the television adaptations.

Michael Croudson
Carole Lorimer
Bobbie (Roberta)
Marian Chapman
Jean Anderson
Michael Harding (1)
Thomas Moore (2)
The Old Gentleman
D.A. Clarke-Smith
David Duncan
Mrs Perks
Marjorie Manning
Roland Marriott
Ysanne Churchman
Dr Forrest
John Le Mesurier
Mrs Viney
Hilda Barry


The Beginning of Things | Peter’s Coal Mine | Illness and a Birthday | Prisoners and Captives | Saviours of the Train | The Pride of Perks and the Terrible Secret | Hound in the Red Jersey | The End of Things

The Beginning of Things | The Old Gentleman | Saviours of the Train | The End of Things