Thomas the Tank Engine goes politically correct

Thomas The Tank Engine used to be one of the most popular children’s television shows. Thirty years later interest in Thomas has waned so they have come up with the not so brilliant idea of becoming politically correct in order to try to win back their young audience.

An all-female Ghost Busters movie was political correctness on steroids but no amount of approval from third wave feminists was enough to stop the film’s ratings from tanking.

[…] It’s a huge shift for Thomas the Tank Engine, and Mattel consulted with parents, young fans and even the United Nations in a bid to make sure they didn’t upset any fans of the brand – which started as a book 70 years ago.

Being politically correct may well be a winner with the youngster’s parents and the United Nations but they are not the target audience and I doubt that a female train from Africa is going to lure young children back to the show.

Nia, an engine from Kenya, will make her debut next summer in the movie Big World! Big Adventures! and then join the TV series in the autumn.

(Image: Thomas and friends)

Experts at the U.N. advised producers with Nia’s name (it means “purpose” in Swahili) and helped select the African pattern that runs across Nia’s body.

Like the other characters in Thomas & Friends, Mattel said Nia is based on a real engine: East African Railway’s ED1 class.

[…] Nia, along with Rebecca, will be the two female characters added to the series next autumn.

[…] Rebecca is not “afraid to stand up for herself,” Mattel said, and isn’t intimidated by the older engines.

[…] Henry and Edward will move out of Tidmouth Sheds to make room for the two new female characters, but they’ll still appear on the show from time to time.

In the shake-up, Thomas will also be traveling the globe and meeting trains all over the world, including in China and India as well as Africa, for the first time.

The TV show’s format is also getting a change, moving at a faster pace, and with more jokes.

Thomas will be the narrator of the show and he’ll talk directly to the camera at the start and end of the show.

There’s also going to be a new theme song and there’ll be more music throughout the episode.

I wonder which classic children’s shows will get the PC makeover next? Pingu was a wonderfully funny show that could be watched and enjoyed by a child from any country as the storyline did not require language. Pingu was a male penguin so perhaps he will be replaced with an exotic African bird? Afterall, if a story about British trains set in Britain can bring in an African engine then why not have an ostrich cousin come live with Pingu’s family?

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