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. The show doesn't have unsuitable or offensive content given the fact the show is made for a young children's demographic, but regardless, it does have some changes made different from the original UK version.


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 his nickname as "The Fat Controller", because the word "fat" is considered an insult word. This also happens in the Latin Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs, with a few exceptions where Sir Topham Hatt's nickname was translated to "El Inspector Gordo" in the earlier Latin American Spanish dub, whilst the Brazilian Portuguese dub consistently calls the Fat Controller by his real name.
  • 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, 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.
  • Two episodes from the second season were never broadcast on Shining Time Station at all, "Daisy" and "Percy's Predicament". This was because Rick Siggelkow, one of the show's creators saw Daisy as a female stereotype due to her heavy makeup and her lazy and stubborn personality, assuming that Daisy was a sexist character. As a result, both episodes featuring Daisy were released on home video on the "Daisy and Other Thomas Stories", which they were narrated by George Carlin instead of Ringo because the former had left the series after 1989 to continue on his music career. For this reason, her role in the third season episode "Mavis" was also given to Diesel. The only episode featuring Daisy that was aired was Season 4's episode "Bull's Eyes" since Rick was no longer involved with the show. "Daisy" and "Percy's Predicament" wouldn't be broadcast on TV until 1998 when "Mister Moose's Fun Time" aired them.
  • The Season 3 episode "Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure" was re-edited and re-titled 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. This sounds redundant since Sodor is set in the UK and not in the US.
  • Many instances of "Christmas" were changed to a more politically correct substitute, "winter holidays", although this has not been consistent. The term "winter holidays" was dropped starting in Season 17 due to a complaint from Wilbert Awdry's daughter, Hilary Fortnam, criticizing HiT Entertainment for replacing "Christmas" with those two words that her father never wrote in any of these books. In response, HiT had to delay the "Merry Winter Wish" UK DVD release to 2012 to change the dialogue from "Winter Holidays" to "Christmas Holidays". The same was not implied for the US dubs of the fourteenth to sixteenth seasons. Until when Season 17 started coming out in the UK and the US respectively, "Winter Holidays" was dropped and "Christmas" started being said once more.

Australian censorship[]

ABC (Australia)[]

The Season 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 despite the episode not showing any message like that. The episode still airs in other Australian television channels and is available on home video releases and streaming services in the country. This is the only time an episode from the show was ever banned from airing on television.

Where To Find It Uncensored[]

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

External links[]