This weekend marks the release of The Railway Children Return – with a new generation of kids set to experience all sorts of adventures and hijinks along the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
The film is set against the backdrop of World War Two, with the central characters moving to the village of Ashworth after being evacuated from their Salford home.
In one scene, the younger cast members indulge in a very messy food fight before the mood is changed by the delivery of some bad news – which is a key moment in terms of exploring the juxtaposition of childhood innocence with the realities of war.
And it's a scene that director Morgan Matthew was especially determined to get right, as he explained during an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com.
"That's a one-take scene – and there were a couple of scenes like that, a couple of scenes that have a certain kind of energy because of that," he said.
"We were on a tight schedule, and that's a food fight with dough and flour, so I think everyone was quite concerned about shooting that scene because traditionally, they are hard scenes to shoot.
"But I felt very strongly that I wanted to hang on to that scene. And so we convinced anyone who was worried that we could shoot it in one take, and we got three cameras in. And then we just kind of went for it, the kids went for it."
Matthews went on to reveal that much of the food fight itself was improvised, with the kids given encouragement to just go with their own instincts.
"And there's lots of lovely stuff again that comes out of that, that wasn't on the page," he said. "Because they are actually just having a food fight with dough and flour.
"And there's little cute things like where Annie, played by Sheridan [Smith], tells the kids to put some elbow grease into it. And Patty, played by Eden [Hamilton], sticks her elbow in and she says 'No, not actually with your elbow.' And you know, that's all stuff that just comes out, naturally improvised as it's happening. And I love all that."
Talking about the same scene, Sheridan Smith explained: "I actually loved that day and that scene. It was all improvised and they got one go at it, because obviously flour and water and everything was going everywhere, and it was so joyous to see them enjoying themselves.
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"But yeah, then I had to come back in with the telegram, which was heartbreaking – the two worlds collide."
"It was extraordinarily effective," added co-star Jenny Agutter. "Because there's all this game playing, all this adventure, and the children don't understand the seriousness in a way of what's happening outside of their world.
"And suddenly, it's brought to them. And Eden said, when she did that scene, that it was terrifying – she thought Sherdian really was angry with them!"
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