Published on 10 Oct 2011 Sections

Christmas still on the calendar for Thomas

The maker of Thomas and Friends has told Channel 4 News that Christmas is still celebrated in its tales of the tank engine after reports that festive references have been dropped from a DVD.

HIT Entertainment said Christmas is a consistent storyline in Thomas and Friends DVDs

The producers of children’s TV show Thomas the Tank engine have denied that Christmas has been cancelled after reports that festive references had been removed from a script.

The Mail on Sunday last week claimed that Christmas trees have been axed in an episode of the DVD, Little Engines, Big Days Out and are instead referred to as “decorated trees”.

The article prompted the daughter of Thomas’ creator, Reverend Wilbert Awdry, to write to the Daily Telegraph expressing her dismay at the reports.

Hilary Fortnam said her father would feel very strongly that “those who now write his stories should not take Christ out of Christmas”.

But the show’s current producers HIT Entertainment has assured Channel 4 News that Thomas and his Friends are still running to a Christmas timetable.

“HIT Entertainment has no policy against celebrating Christmas and any assertion to the contrary is incorrect,” a spokeswoman said. “In fact, we actively embrace Christmas, recognising that it is a period of joy and celebration for many children around the world.”

HIT Entertainment said the DVD referred to in last week’s Mail on Sunday piece was not one of its productions and was released more than five years ago.

The spokeswoman said that HIT Entertainment had a “close working relationship” with Rev Awdry’s family. “I would understand why she would want to preserve her father’s legacy,” she added.

The company said that Christmas is a consistent storyline in more recent Thomas & Friends DVDs including last year’s Christmas Express with another festive DVD due next year.