Original Swallows and Amazons actress advises film remake

To say that Swallows and Amazons has changed Sophie Neville's life is something of an understatement.

She was 12 when she was cast as Titty - yes Titty - in the 1974 film of the famous children's book.

The book by Arthur Ransome was written in 1930 and remains one of the best loved and most read children's book in history.

Sophie's experience playing one of the Walker children who famously set off for a few days by boat to mess about on the waters of the Lake District and camp on their own, lead to her becoming President of the Arthur Ransome Literary Society.

She touring the world to talk about her Swallows and Amazons experiences, and organisesd UK Summer camps where children are encouraged to embrace the great outdoors, camping, swimming, fishing and generally not gazing into mobile devices!

She's also a champion archer, having used a bow and arrow in scenes in the film.

Now she has been something of an adviser for the new adaptation of the famous book, 86 years after Ransome wrote it.

It is a lovely, gentle film which stays very true to the original book and offers something very different for young audiences this Summer.

No CGI or special effects here, just adoring shots of the Lakes, and kids doing things we perhaps nostalgically remember they did once upon a time, in an age before health and safety, wifi and Harry Potter.

The children sail, and camp in the great outdoors, fish for food and play pirates.

And this is the message Sophie Neville hopes will come out of the new film - this stuff is good fun, get outside, absorb vitamin D and use your imagination.

The new cast Dane Huges, Seren Hawkes, Jessica Haynes, Kelly Macdonald, Orla Hill, Hannah Jayne Thorp, (front) Teddie Malleson-Allen and Bobby McCulloch at the Swallows and Amazons premiere at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, Cumbria. Credit: Neil Jones/PA Wire

She also thinks this new film is the one Arthur Ransome would have preferred to make, if he'd been allowed to include true elements of his own life.

It was recently revealed that Ransome, who had covered the Russian Revolution as a foreign correspondent, was also an agent of MI6.

And where this new film succeeds in being more appealing to a modern young audience is by introducing a plotline involving espionage and Russian agents.

That is perhaps more in keeping with the character of the man who wrote the stories.

So we will see if, after the film is released on August 19, a rip roaring adventure story like Swallows and Amazons can succeed in winning over a new generation.

Oh and by the way, Sophie Neville's character's name has been changed in this new film too. To avoid any titters, Titty has become Tatty. Very wise!