The creator of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends’ has slammed its US reboot.
Writer Britt Allcroft, 80, who produced the beloved children’s TV show from 1984 to 2003, said the legacy of the programme has been “tarnished” due to the changes made in the American version, ‘Thomas and Friends: All Engines Go’.
She told The Times: “There is only one Thomas. Thomas doesn’t want to be reimagined. Sadly, (toy maker) Mattel now has control of Thomas and there is nothing I can do.”
The American version of the programme premiered in 2021, a decade after Mattel bought the property for $680 million.
Mattel said it wanted to take an “entirely new approach” to the franchise, and utilise a new animation style, as well as feature a more diverse cast in its shows.
The most recent ‘Thomas’ series includes an autistic engine, Bruno the Brake Car, and a female high-speed locomotive called Kana.
Britt insisted the reboot was “not ‘Thomas and Friends’ as first created by (Wilbert) Awdry, neither is it the original ‘Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends’ created by me with a wonderful team of talented people who created the magic”.
The writer added if she could “wave a magic wand” the original 1984 series would be available on streaming platforms as many fans believed it was “art”.
A new series of the American show is due to be broadcast on Channel 5 this spring, and is available to watch on Paramount+.
‘Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends’ is not the only British property that will receive an American reboot, as ‘Bob the Builder’ is also set to appear in a movie written by 'The Mother' star Jennifer Lopez that will see the children’s icon be reimagined as a Latin American construction worker.
The show is set to see the character travel to Puerto Rico for a construction job, where he takes on “issues affecting the island and digs deeper into what it means to build”.