Thomas and Friends relaunches with multicultural makeover

Thomas the Tank Engine is about to diversify his circle in a politically-correct new series


Children’s TV programme Thomas and Friends is relaunching to introduce new “inclusive” gender-balanced and multicultural characters.

While Thomas the Tank Engine was once content spending his days with the likes of James the Red Engine, Henry the Green engine, and of course, the Fat Controller, now, Thomas is about to diversify his circle in a politically correct new series of the show.

The 73-year-old popular children’s franchise is being relaunched with an inclusive, gender-balanced, multicultural set of characters.

Rebecca is a new member of the gender-balanced Steam Team

Thomas and Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!

Starting on Monday (3 September 2018), the Thomas series will see the locomotive leave his home on the fictional island of Sodor to travel to China, India and Australia and broaden his horizons.

The show is being renamed Thomas and Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! and marks the first collaboration between a children’s television programme and the UN to promote its sustainable development goals.

As part of the revamp, the series features new characters from around the world including the new African steam engine from Kenya called Nia, Ashima from India, Yong Bao from China and Shane from Australia as well as host of new strong girl characters who are revealed for the first time today, including Isla, an Aussie flying doctor plane, Noor Jehan, a royal express engine from India, Hong-Mei, a Number 1 Blue Tank Engine from China and Churubala, a female Railway Controller from India.

The new series of Thomas and Friends welcomes Churubala, a female Railway Controller from India

Thomas the Tank Engine’s new Steam Team…

The new gender-balanced Steam Team, made up of three male and three female characters – Percy, James, Gordon, Emily and new characters Nia and Rebecca, as well as Thomas, is part of the brand’s incentive to deepen the engagement with girls who represent over 40% of the show’s viewership and provide a strong message of gender equality to the young audience.

The plethora of changes also include a completely new theme tune, a faster-paced format, and Thomas will now talk directly to the audience and narrate the story himself, leaving behind the Ringo Starr narrator, Mark Moraghan.

The revamped series introduces new member of the gender-balanced Steam Team, Nia

Thomas and Friends new series…

Speaking about the relaunch, Senior Producer at Thomas and Friends, Ian McCue said: “The show has undergone an evolution to remain relevant for the next generation of parents and children by opening up the world of Thomas and Friends so children can discover the world around them while being entertained.

“The changes and new additions of characters and geographies will make the show more entertaining, inclusive and global – whilst ensuring all the favourite characters and storylines that fans around the world love remain at the heart of the action.”

Thomas the Tank Engine hangs out with Hong Mei

Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! airs in the UK from Monday (3 September 2018) at 7.00am on Channel 5 “Milkshake!” followed by the US and the rest of the world.

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