Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Prince Harry helps mark 75th anniversary of Thomas the Tank Engine

Britain's Meghan (R), the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry (L), the Duke of Sussex attend a reception for young people, community and civil society leaders at the Residence of the British High Commissioner in Cape Town, South Africa 24 September 2019. The Commonwealth Point of Light awards recognise outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community. These awards were given for the young leaders work in helping the environment. EPA-EFE/DOMINIC LIPINSKI / PA PHOTOS / POOL

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Harry is helping "Thomas and Friends" celebrate their 75th anniversary by introducing a special episode which features the cartoon trains as well as some members of the royal family.

Fictional train Thomas the Tank Engine came to life in 1945 as a character in “The Railway Series” books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry, an Anglican clergyman, and later his son Christopher.

It led to a children’s TV spin-off show now called “Thomas and Friends”, which began in 1984 and is still running.

Sitting in an armchair and holding one of the brand’s books, Prince Harry introduces the episode “Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine” saying: “It all began when a young boy lay ill in bed. His loving father entertained him with stories of a special railway on the magical island of Sodor.”

“Those stories would go on to become the tales of the most iconic tank engine the world has ever known, Thomas the Tank Engine… ‘Thomas & Friends’ is celebrating 75 years of friendship and teamwork.”

“The Royal Engine” features Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and her eldest child Prince Charles – Harry’s father – as a boy awaiting the arrival of Sir Topham Hatt, also known as the Fat Controller. He has been invited to London by the queen to collect an award and it is Thomas’ job to get him there safely.

“It’s about Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt embarking on a journey to London and on the way they come across lots of pitfalls and perils,” said producer Ian McCue.

The episode features a new train character, The Duchess of Loughborough, whose role is to transport the royal family.

“I think this is a very beautiful and apt episode for the 75th anniversary episode,” said actress Rosamund Pike, who voices the duchess.

“It’s got all the key characters and some new ones and some unexpected ones, and I think it puts Thomas front and centre, giving him a very noble and important challenge and he emerges from it triumphant,” Pike said.

The recording of Harry reading the introduction took place in January, before he gave up his royal duties and moved with his wife Meghan to the United States, where they intend to launch a new charitable foundation.

“Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine” is due to be screened on various channels around the world starting on May 1 in the United States on Netflix. (Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Mike Davidson and Gareth Jones; Editing by Alison Williams)

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.