The TV show ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’ is being revamped for 2018 after years of accusations of racism, classism, and sexism.
The children’s cartoon is based on books by Rev. Wilbert Awdry, and will be kicking off a new series next week that features new multicultural characters as well as female protagonists.
New female characters on the show include, Churubala, a female railway controller from India; Hong-mei, a number 1 blue tank engine from China; and Isla, an Australian flying doctor.
The Steam Team is now more gender-balanced, and the brand hopes it will boost the appeal among female viewers, since girls represent more than 40% of the show’s viewership.
“The show has undergone an evolution to remain relevant for the next generation of parents and children by opening up the world of Thomas & Friends so children can discover the world around them while being entertained,” says Senior Producer at ‘Thomas & Friends,’ Ian McCue.
“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 will be leaving his home in Sodor for the first time, and during his travels will be encountering new charachters from around the world, several of which are female, including, Ashima from India, Yong Bao from China, Shane from Australia, and a new African steam engine from Kenya named Nia.
In the past few years, the show has come under fire from parents who believe Thomas is setting a bad example to children. One parent wrote in a review, “The engines are all very rude to each other most of the time.”
Another concerned parent wrote about the “constant violence” seen on the show, “I’ll admit I was a fan of the show but looking at most of the episodes from then to present day, there is one thing that irks me: the constant violence. Nearly one train per episode comes off the rails or has an accident and EVERY time, and I quote, “luckily no one was hurt”. What gives?”
“I believe it teaches bad behaviour with examples of jealousy and envy and plain old mean-spiritedness,” added another.
How long until parents begin to complain that there’s no tank engine, plane, or other character that represents the LGTBQ community? Surely, it’s only a matter of time.
Join the conversation!
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.