Stars chuffed as Thomas turns 75
THE tales of Thomas the Tank Engine have captured the hearts of millions since he first came to life as a character in a book in 1945.
The lovable locomotive is now 75 years old and to mark the occasion a set of photos has been released showing all the famous friends he’s made over the years – from royalty to rockers.
Prince Harry, who said he had “fond memories” of watching the show as a child, has joined in the celebrations by filming an introduction to a new episode called Thomas and the Royal Engine.
It sees Thomas, originally created by the Rev Wilbert Awdry, travel to London where he meets the royal train named the Duchess of Loughborough, voiced by Rosamund Pike, 41.
She said: “It was a lovely invitation to be asked to join a much-loved family and was a very easy ‘yes’. I remember Thomas in all his incarnations.
“I loved the faces of the engines in the original drawings. I just think it is amazing the enduring appeal of Thomas. Children are perpetually delighted by him.”
The Pride And Prejudice actress joins a long list of stars who have been associated with the ITV children’s programme which was first broadcast in the Eighties.
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, 79, was the show’s first narrator while actor Alec Baldwin, 62, was the voice behind the US version of the programme between 1998 to 2003.
Eddie Redmayne, 38, and Olivia Colman, 46, have also made appearances, along with Hugh Bonneville, 56, and former 007 star Pierce Brosnan, 66, who narrated an episode in 2008.
Mr Awdry, who died in 1997, created the books when his son, Christopher, had measles.
He went on to make him a toy tank engine and decided to write up his stories after Christopher kept correcting him during his frequent retellings.