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Thomas & Friends is a British children's television programme created by Britt Allcroft. It is based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry. It first aired on British television in 1984, and since then over 500 episodes and various special feature-length films have been produced. The North America (US) airing of Thomas & Friends was modified to make it more suitable for children.


North American censorship[]

When Thomas the Tank Engine first arrived for American audiences under Shining Time Station, there were many changes:

  • With the exception of music videos, Sir Topham Hatt is never referred to as "The Fat Controller", because "fat" is considered an offensive word. This also happens in the Latin Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs.
  • For the same reason, in the Season 1 episode "Thomas and the Guard"/"Thomas and the Conductor", Thomas' line "You're too fat! You need exercise!" was changed to "You're too slow. You need exercise!", and in "Off the Rails"/"Gordon takes a Dip", Henry shouting "Hello, Fat face!" was changed to "Hello, Lazybones!" Ironically, both US narrations of "Tenders and Turntables" keep James' line "I'm not so fat as you."
  • The Season 2 episode "Cows"/"A Cow on the Line" has a major change in dialogue. When Gordon and Henry are obstructed by a cow on a bridge and neither engine nor Gordon's passengers and crew can shoo her away, Henry reverses his train to another station, where his guard/conductor explains to the staff and signalman about the cow and the line being blocked. Due to portions of the script being taken verbatim from the original book, in the UK Narration, a porter identifies the cow, saying that her calf is at the station, ready to go to market. In the US narration, the line was changed to remove the reference to cow slaughter by having the porter say that the calf is at the station, looking for her mother, .
  • The Season 3 episode "Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure" was re-edited and retitled to "Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure" because when that episode aired as part of the Shining Time Station episode "Billy's Party", the episode was to be celebrated at Thanksgiving instead of Christmas, And the date was November instead of December.
  • Many instances of "Christmas" were changed to a more politically correct substitute, "winter holidays", although this has not been consistent.

Australian censorship[]

ABC (Australia)[]

The Series 19 episode "Henry Spots Trouble" was taken out of rotation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation due to complaints from parents that it unintentionally carries an anti-vaccination message. The episode still airs in other Australian television channels and is available on video or for streaming in the country.

Where to find it uncensored[]

The British English version (which airs in the UK, India, and Australia) of the episodes is uncensored.

External links[]