Station Jim

Station Jim


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

A gypsy circus performer is hired by Republicans to assassinate Queen Victoria. When he goes to shoot his performing dogs, one of them escapes. It turns up at Whatmidwell railway station, where it is adopted by young porter, Bob Gregson, who names the dog, Station Jim.

Bob is in love with Harriet Collins, the lovely young schoolmistress at the charity orphanage, run by boozy Miss Frazier. The orphanage is in trouble, as a local businessman plans to turn it into a hotel. When Queen Victoria comes to visit Whatmidwell everything comes together and all conflicts are happily resolved.

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Stocked with instantly recognisable characters and situations, this children's film from the BBC offers no surprises - good is rewarded, bad is punished.

Most people will see Station Jim as a harmless piece of escapist whimsy, replete with cute ragamuffins, a performing dog, old steam locomotives and familiar faces, such as Celia Imrie, Frank Finlay and good old George Cole.

Personally, I found it nauseatingly saccharine and - grim, humourless lefty that I am - horribly reactionary, loaded with dubious ideological values that seemed to date more from 1901 than 2001, substituting emotion for analysis throughout.

If youngsters are to see Station Jim, I hope it is as a precursor to a discussion on the Ideological State Apparatus that it so perfectly exemplifies.

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2001
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Whimsical tale about a station porter.
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Director: John Roberts

Writer: Mark Wallington

Starring: George Cole, Charlie Creed-Miles, Prunella Scales, Celia Imrie, Nadia Sawalha, Timothy West, Laura Fraser, Thomas Sangster, Martin Savage, John Thompson

Year: 2001

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2001

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If you like this, try:

Greyfriars Bobby
The Railway Children