The Railway Children is an undisputed classic of British cinema. Directed by Lionel Jeffries it is set in 1905 and tells the story of a mother and her three children moving to Yorkshire after their father is wrongly imprisoned. Cast into an almost alien landscape and culture, they have adventures, learning about life, primarily from the station master Albert Perks.

The Return sees the period move to the child evacuation of WWII 1944. Three siblings are sent from Salford to the Yorkshire village of Oakworth. Led to the town hall the three are not picked by the local parents. With an element of familiarity to their situation Bobbie Waterbury (Jenny Agutter) and her daughter Annie (Sheridan Smith) decide to take them in. Annie’s son Thomas (Austin Haynes) quickly befriends the three Lily (Beau Gadson), Pattie (Eden Hamilton) and Ted (Zac Cudby) and we are off on a series of incidents and adventures, which includes school bullies, railways and the American army.

That is all the potential viewer needs to know as the film is a delight from start to finish. That in the main is down to sensitive direction from Morgan Matthews and the writing of Danny Brocklehurst who expertly weaves together the various strands which includes the prejudice of US MPs against the US black soldiers based in the town at the time, with the story of the children. The US element both recounts a true story, that together with the strong female characters prevents the film from becoming a nostalgic period piece providing it with a hard, modern resonance.

These elements could have been jarring but they are not incongruous. There’s a slight dovetailing between the treatment of the siblings by the local youngsters and the abuse of US solider Abe (Kenneth Aikens) and his colleagues by the MPs.

The other potential difficulty was the return of Jenny Agutter she is, however, perfect. There are a few references to the original though it’s not weighed down by it and her character is beautifully developed, fully rounded with a natural maturity.

Similarly with Richard Perks (John Bradley) who is the grandson of Albert Perks played by Bernard Cribbens which is fine, if a little fanciful but again no real harm to the overall character of the film.

The film looks superb making wonderful use of the rolling countryside and village together with the railway cutting and settings. It’s a film that is respectful to the original but not beholden to it being very much its own beast. The Railway Children Return may have slight bias towards a younger audience but frankly it is so beautifully made and performed – the younger members of the cast are superb - with such warmth that it will appeal to everyone.