Thomas the Tank Engine is going international for a 2018 make-over
The engine is leaving Sodor and the show is abandoning the Liverpudlian narration. But we are getting two new female trains...
Thomas the Tank Engine is going into the sidings for an overhaul for the modern age.
Out is going the much-loved theme tune and the Liverpool-accented narration – in are coming two new female trains for the TV series which has been renamed Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!
The TV series, based on the books by Rev Wilbert Awdry, is being overhauled for a new generation according to toy giant Mattel which owns the format.
The company has also confirmed that the show will make way for two female trains, Rebecca and Nia, with Nia being the show's first African engine.
The Liverpool-accented narration - a tradition begun by Ringo Starr and continued by actors Michael Angelis and Mark Monaghan - will also “disappear” according to the Telegraph, as will the theme tune with its roll-call of engine names.
In the new, seemingly more politically-correct show, Thomas will leave his traditional home on the Island of Sodor for adventures abroad in stories that are being specifically designed to support the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals of quality education, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and life on land.
The changes will be seen in 2018 when the new series hits our screens and look likely to be the biggest shake-up to the children's favourite since the stories were first adapted for TV in 1984.
Toy giant Mattel has owned the format for the show since 2011. It is sold all over the world and translated into 33 languages, with the current incarnation, Thomas and Friends, shown on Channel 5 in the UK.