75th anniversary episode of Thomas & Friends gets royal treatment

Published on: 28th April 2020

The Duke of Sussex has provided a special introduction to a new episode featuring the Queen and Prince Charles.

Thomas & Friends celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, with The Royal Engine, an animated TV special created to mark the occasion, following Thomas as he travels to London for the first time. Once there, he takes Sir Topham Hatt – better known as the Fat Controller – to receive an honour for distinguished service to the railway at Buckingham Palace.

Hollywood star Rosamund Pike also guest stars as a new locomotive character, the Duchess of Loughborough, for the special 22-minute episode set to air in May.

Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales feature as characters in the show – with the young Prince Charles requesting Thomas’s services personally.

Harry, who recorded his on-camera introduction in January, grew up with the famous blue steam engine, who first appeared in books in 1945. “Thomas the Tank Engine has been a comforting, familiar face to so many families over the last 75 years – entertaining, educating and inspiring children on important issues through exciting stories and characters,” the Duke Of Sussex said. “I certainly have fond memories of growing up with Thomas & Friends and being transported to new places through his adventures. I am very proud to have been asked to take part in this special episode. I wish Thomas & Friends a very happy anniversary.”

Rosamund Pike says it is an honour to have the chance to appear in the show. “I take it as a big responsibility to play Duchess, who is a lovely, warm, bubbly sort of effervescent engine that I am incredibly drawn to, because she is very anxious to get things right,” she commented:

Thomas the Tank Engine was created 75 years ago by the Reverend W Awdry, as a storybook for his young son. That story grew to become the huge children’s franchise it is today, watched and read about by families in more than 230 countries and territories around the world.

The special episode will be screened in the US on Netflix on Friday 1st May and in the UK on Channel 5 Milkshake! at 9.05am Saturday 2nd May.


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