Tuesday, May 28, 2024

For the first time in 37 years a new parliament will meet without a member of the cast of The Railway Children

Whatever happens in the general election, the new parliament will be the first without a member of the cast of The Railway Children for 37 years.

For an explanation, listen carefully to Bernard Cribbins in the film's most famous scene.

I hope I cut that short in time. I didn't? I'm sorry. Please help yourself to a tissue.

What I hope you heard was Bernard Cribbins saying "Right away, Mr Cryer" as he dispatched the train.

Mr Cryer was Bob Cryer, a moving force behind the preservation of the Keighley and Worth Valley line. He was also instrumental in convincing the people behind The Railway Children that it was the perfect place for them to film.

When the man who had played the guard through most of the filming ran out of holiday and had to return to his day job, Bob Cryer stepped in. So that's why he's in the scene above.

In February 1974, Bob Cryer was elected as the Labour MP for Keighley. If you are surprised to hear of a Labour left-winger being involved in the railway preservation movement, a guest post on the blog by Joseph Boughey on the uncertain politics of railway preservation may interest you.

Bob Cryer held the seat in two general elections before losing to the Conservatives in 1983. He then served as MEP for Sheffield between 1984 and 1989, before returning to the Commons as MP for Bradford South in 1987.

He held his new seat in 1992, but died in a road traffic accident in 1994 to widespread dismay. You can read an obituary by Tam Dalyell from the Independent.

His widow Ann Cryer was returned for Bob's old seat of Keighley in Labour's 1997 landslide, and held it until she retired in 2010. 

And Ann had also been an extra in The Railway Children too.

But there was a Cryer in parliament after the 2010 election: Ann and Bob's son John had been elected as Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead, a seat he has held ever since.

He was also an extra - a young one - in The Railway Children. That's him and his sister Jane in the photo.

Today John Cryer announced that he will not be standing at the general election. So for the first time since 1987 - that's 37 years - a new parliament will meet without a member of the cast of The Railway Children.


Anonymous said...

How lovely. I grew up on the film and a lifetime in politics but didn’t know that.

Anonymous said...

My daughter, a severe critic, says that this is the best bit of political trivia I have ever related to her.

Anonymous said...

if Bob died in 1994 and Ann wasn't elected until 1997? am I missing something?

Jonathan Calder said...

Bob was a member of the parliament elected in 1992: Ann was a member of the parliament elected in 1997.

KondratievsBike said...

The KWVR; politics and *that* film in one post? Possibly the best thing ever written, ever!

Anonymous said...

Love the Wirth Valkey- RIP Bob-class

Anonymous said...

Worth! Brontë country- such a lovely bunch of volunteers.