AT the age of just 13, Austin Haynes has already worked with the likes of Jim Broadbent, Sir Tom Courtenay, Christopher Eccleston and Sheridan Smith - and has been directed by George Clooney no less in his forthcoming movie The Boys in the Boat.

This month Austin, who attends Bradford theatre school Articulate, will be on the big screen in The Railway Children Return, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 1970 family film.

Since landing his first TV role, aged eight, in BBC1’s The A Word, Austin has been in Gentleman Jack, Dodger, children’s comedies Ted’s Top Ten and Andy and the Band, crime drama The Pure and the Damned and the new series of All Creatures Great and Small. He was in comedy heist The Duke, with Jim Broadbent and Dame Helen Mirren, and Ali & Ava - both films shot in Bradford.

Despite his success, there’s a wise head on Austin’s 13-year-old shoulders. “Once it’s done, it’s done. There’s no point going over it all. If you get a recall, go and smash it. If not, move on,” he says, of the audition process that is the arduous reality of an actor’s life.

He’s aiming for longevity and credibility. His ambition is to combine acting with directing and cinematography. Asked who he’d like to work with, top of the list is Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins: “He worked on 1917, my favourite film.”

Today Austin joins The Railway Children Return cast for the world premiere at Keighley Picture House and next weekend he’s at the London premiere. He plays Thomas Waterbury, grandson of Jenny Agutter’s character, in the family adventure about a group of children evacuated to Yorkshire in the Second World War. Jenny returns as Bobbie, the role she played over 50 years ago in Lionel Jeffries’ beloved film, famously shot on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The historic railway was a location for the sequel too, along with Haworth, Oakworth and Saltaire.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Austin with the cast of The Railway Children ReturnAustin with the cast of The Railway Children Return

“Thomas is a typical Yorkshire lad, like me. He loves the outdoors,” says Austin. “When the new kids arrive, he shows them round; takes them collecting eggs and exploring the countryside.”

The cast also includes Sheridan Smith and Tom Courtenay. “They’re all legends. So cool to be around,” says Austin. “I had some nice scenes with Tom. Jenny told me about making the original film. Sheridan (Thomas’s mother) was brilliant - there are some scenes where she had to cry and she just did it. I learn a lot from watching actors like that at work.”

He adds: “I loved running up and down the railway track - it was surreal, especially as it was the exact same place that Jenny had filmed in 50 years before. It was like being transported back in time.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: In the film, Thomas and the children meet a young American GI in hiding In the film, Thomas and the children meet a young American GI in hiding

Was he familiar with the original? “We watch it at Christmas every year. This takes it into the next generation,” he says.

It is, he adds, a highlight of his career so far, along with Channel 5 hit All Creatures Great and Small, filmed in the Dales. “I felt part of the family,” he says. “My character does work experience at the vets’ so I spent time with Siegfried (Samuel West)watching him operate on a dog. I had to handle a rat. The animals are well trained.”

Much of Austin’s work has been period drama; from wartime Yorkshire to Victorian London in Dodger, the BBC’s family adventure. “I like playing characters from another time,” says Austin. “The sets are cool. There’s so much detail.”

He’s keen to nail different accents: “I have accent coaching. So far I’ve done Newcastle, cockney and American. RP is hardest. On The Duke I sat with Jim Broadbent between takes and he was perfecting his Newcastle accent. He was so focussed. It really inspired me.”

Later this year Austin will be in Channel 4’s The Birth of Daniel F Harris. From the makers of cult hit The End of the F**cking World, it’s about a boy locked up in an isolated house since his mother died when he was a baby. “He has no idea what the world is like, his whole world is this lonely house,” says Austin. “I like challenging roles. I love getting into a new character and learning why they’re the way they are. I like sitting with the director and cast, going through scripts, asking questions.”

He embraces the process of learning scripts, which helps him to understand a character. Stacey Burrows, who runs Articulate, where Austin has been having acting lessons since he was eight, says she’s blown away by his ability to learn pages and pages of dialogue.

Much of Austin’s work is in Yorkshire. With so much high end production, not least Gentleman Jack, Peaky Blinders and The Queen, shot in Bradford, and support from Bradford’s City of Film team, Austin is happy to continue working here - “as well as aiming for big Hollywood roles.”

He remains remarkably down-to-earth. Says mum Gemma: “At school he avoids talking about his acting. He just wants to be a normal kid. One day he’s on set with a big star, the next he’s at school and he copes with that really well. But he takes his work very seriously, and makes so many sacrifices. When he gets a script he doesn’t put it down. What I’m most proud of is how grounded he is. He doesn’t let it all get to him.”

* The Railway Children Return is in cinemas from July 15.