1 9 8 4 – 1 9 9 2 (UK)
60+ x 10/15 minute episodes
The character of Thomas the Tank Engine was created by the Reverend W. Awdry in 1944 as a means of entertaining his three-year-old son who was suffering from measles.
Although it was a hit with tiny tots in 43 countries, the TV show was disliked by Awdry himself, who urged children not to watch, citing as his reason “their lamentable gross ignorance” about railway practices”.
He was particularly bemused by the Americans who insisted, in the cause of political correctness, in calling the Fat Controller by his proper name of Sir Topham Hat.
Meanwhile, the Britt Allcroft Group, which owned the screen and merchandising rights to the Thomas stories, made pre-tax profits of around £2 million per annum.
Reverend Awdry died in 1997.