Swallows and Amazons films profiled on BBC South Today

‘Can you be in Cowes at 9.00am tomorrow morning?’ I was asked.


BBC South Today explained that they’d like to interview me about being in ‘Swallows and Amazons’ back in 1974.


‘They’re pirates!’ I found Sarah Farmer filming on the Parade.

Sophie Neville with BBC South Today

Seren Hawkes who plays Nancy Blackett in the new movie ‘Swallows and Amazons’ was with her.


I was asked what advise I could give Seren about what might happen next.


All I could say was, ‘Watch the wind and sail with it!’

Sophie Neville with Sarah Farmer and Seren Hawkes

Seren Hawkes, Sarah Farmer and Sophie Neville


It was great to meet up with the producer Nick Barton, who showed me ‘Swallow’ the RNSA dinghy that also stars in the film.


I went on to join fans of the film for lunch at the Royal London Yacht Club, where I once gave a talk, before going out on the Solent.


Telegraph bag


Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

25 thoughts on “Swallows and Amazons films profiled on BBC South Today”

  1. Will be great if you can now free yourself from this ambiguous legacy. The film should have come out by now. Was it any good? Strangely, the most interesting part of your film was the station arrival. The comings and goings of the various social classes and motorcars was a study in itself. Am on to Bogarde, Jericho. Seriously unhappy man.

    1. The new film of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ was launched yesterday, with me appearing behind Roger’s shoulder when the Swallows catch the train north. You can see the clip on my last post-but-one. The Call, I’m assured, is irrevocable,but there is treasure to be found.

  2. Wow Sophie That must have brought back memories of those cold days on the shore of Coniston, I’ll bet the latest cast had better conditions, but did they have as much fun ?

    1. The children said they had a great time and I know they all became firm friends. One thing I know is that they had much warmer costumes that us with thin modern wet suits you can’t see etc. Have you seen the new film yet?

      1. No Sophie, living in Canada it may be a while before I get the chance, but if I travel back to the UK next year and it is still being shown somewhere I will do my best to see it..

        1. I’m so sorry – I forgot you like in Canada. They may be discussing its future at the Toronto Film Festival next month. We are currently tracking down Wilfred Joseph’s score for the 1974 film…

  3. Ruth and I went to see the new film this afternoon and we enjoyed it very much . You were quite correct about the need for an `action- packed` film in 2016 . Let`s be honest , we were all getting over excited in 1974 at the prospect of colour television for all , and on 3 , yes 3 televison channels .
    TARS for ever , Martin

  4. Not as eloquent as people who write reviews , I suspect .
    A couple of points , to you , only, are ,
    why was John so nasty to Roger , and why did the Amazons seem to have such a sad relationship with Uncle Jim ? Thank goodness it all turned alright
    in the end ! Mr. & Mrs. Jackson , superb choice ( Cheryl ) and we loved the way the lake ( s ) were used , despite BANK GROUND FARM which is almost obligatoryalmost a

    1. Is the Amazons’ relationship with Uncle Jim clear in the 1974 film? I think so. If I had been writing the new film I would have been tempted to put Mrs Walker in jeopardy. Captain Flint had been hiding behind baby Vicky after all!

    1. Sadly Bank Ground Farm is now too busy and too modernised to be used (I did show it to the producer). All those lovely old trees have come down. You’ll have to ask him about the portrayal of John. Ransome did admit to making him a bit too much of a goody-goody.

  5. Uncle Jim is `in loco parentis`due to the loss of the father of the Amazons . Their relationship is brilliant – think of how he helps with the restoration of `Swallow`, the trail up to Swallowdale , return to Wildcat Island and the many times he `covers` for Nancy and Peggy when the G.A. is around ! He comes out so well in the books – a man to be admired !

    1. I do wish he had not been portrayed by Ronald Fraser. If he was modelled on Ransome, he would be 45 in 1929 – and could have be younger. (I forget what year he climbed the Matterhorn.) Rafe Spall is a good actor and although not bald did wear a moustache.

  6. R.F. was never , for me , Captain Flint ! Even before your book , he always looked to be far more suited to a part in `Carry on Boozing ` with Robin Asquith as co – star , perhaps . Rafe Spall was an inspired , despite the lack of baldness , choice for Uncle Jim and we thought he played the part really well , and deserves great reviews .
    TARS for ever , Martin

    1. Have you heard the radio play when Richard Briers plays Ransome and Susannah York, Evgenia? It’s clever and quite fun. ‘Duffers!’ There is much to be appreciated by those who know the books and biographies.

    1. I also liked the Russian actor who played a very serious Ransome in the drama doc on ‘The Secret Life of Arthur Ransome’ which is on BBC i-player. I have a link to it on an earlier post, along with a letter from Mrs Ransome, who has her photo in the Daily Mirror this week

  7. I found the Richard Briers play on our Virgin V+ box ( not cassette ) and also the John Sergeant ` Secret Lives of Books ` about S. and A . which is also very well filmed . He is an excellent presenter who seems to encourage people to do further research into a book so many people claim to know , but in fact have only a vague understanding …

  8. I only know that he is a TARS member and a contributer to TARS publications ( from a Google search , I confess ! ) . I shall have to search through my collection to catch up with his articles .

  9. This version looks like being so different to the original. I am really intrigued and look forward very much to seeing it.

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