Why do you think The Railway Children has endured so well?
"For one thing you start with a good story, it's never been out of print since 1905. Then Lionel Jeffries put together a really, really good screenplay. Lionel had worked out absolutely what it was form the story that worked for him, and he knew how to translate it from book to film. You get caught up watching it as though you were reading it, but he's created visual images that really are quite something. And he surrounded himself with wonderful people."
Did you have to think twice about the role having just completed it in the BBC version two years earlier?
"Yes, I did. When I did it on television I thought, did I really want to play it again? I'd just turned 17 and my goodness me I was so grown up! Much, much less sophisticated than people are at 17 today. I'm just so happy that I did."
How was the reunion in Bradford earlier this week?
"It was terrific. It was lovely because Bernard [Cribbins] was there and Sally [Thomsett] was there. We really, really missed having Lionel who died a few weeks ago, but it was very much done in his name. It was lovely to see the extraordinary print which has been digitally remastered."
Have you kept in touch with everyone?
"Bernard I have. Sally I don't see much of, but Bernard is a very good communicator. He's one of those friends who manages to keep everybody together and he calls up now and again and has always kept in touch."
Given your varied career, what do you think people best know you for?
"It depends where I am. Round Camberwell there's an awful lot of people that saw American Werewolf... In England people really do know The Railway Children, in America they don't really know it at all. Tessa in Spooks people saw, you usually get a reaction to that. I don't know if there's any one thing that people identify me with. The most obvious is Railway Children because of its longevity."
How did you feel about becoming a sex symbol with American Werewolf... ?
"You don't really think about it, you just hope that you're going to get more work. That's all I was focused on! It doesn't really do anything for one. After American Werewolf... the actor's strike was on and I ended up doing a lot of theatre. I went to the RSC and played some really dark roles. Sexual, I suppose, but not particularly sexy. Regan in King Lear who's rich and sensual and a killer. Alice in Arden of Faversham, who murders her husband because she has a lover. Nasty characters, but really interesting to play."
What was it like reuniting with its director John Landis on Burke & Hare?
"He just knows exactly what he wants. We had to move very fast on this, so was very 'Right! We've got to do that take, and move on to the next', moving very quickly, but he is completely full of energy. He just doesn't stop, which keeps everybody on their toes and stops that flagging that happens on film sets sometimes when you're waiting. He's always quipping and talking about things and talking. He creates a real kind of buzz around him. And he's funny!"
Is it great to have John back making movies?
"I just wish he'd come back to England before to make films. He has such a following in Europe. I think he's basically a Europhile, or an Anglophile. He loves the differences in cultures, which is what makes American Werewolf... work. It's funny because it's his American voice in London and its playing with all sorts of ideas. Burke & Hare is a perfect thing for him to do, because it's gross! There's a ghastly story! But you're looking at a society at which people got away with doing this because it served a certain kind of cause. But it's ghastly, it shows people really at their worst!"
What's the film like?
"It's funny but it really is black humour. He serves that terribly well because he never dwells on things. He's got a lightness of touch but he doesn't back off. If the blood comes out of someone it goes in a fountain all over the place! You're just shocked and you laugh as a reaction. But mainly the humour comes out of the fact that people behave so atrociously. Even the tiny little thing that I did - she's a bad actress going in to audition for something - everybody is in some way not really very nice!"
Co-star Simon Pegg told us he was "starstruck" when he meet you - how did you get on during the filming?
"He was just lovely! It was a very, very tiny scene. I'm a big fan of his. It was fun to do and he was just very sweet. I'm always bowled over if anyone says I loved such-and-such or I've always liked your work, particularly when it comes from someone you really admire. One is rather embarrassed and taken aback."
There's endless talk of a Logan's Run remake - have you been involved in any of that?
"No, I couldn't possibly be. They pushed the age to 30 when I made it, but the book was about people dying aged 21, and I'm well out of that category!"
Do you think a remake would be worthwhile?
"It would be worth remaking. It was a really good book, and I think there's a really good story to be told, and I think it would be interesting to do it under 21. I mean what kind of a world can you can create when you're just coming into maturity and you're denied the possibility of carrying on. What people are running that world?"
A digitally restored print of The Railway Children airs in cinemas from April 2 and is available on Blu-ray and DVD from May 3.