Saturday, 6 February 2010

Choo choo Charlie!

Thomas and Friends is back, and it’s bigger and better and newer and shinier and lovelier than ever and I’m so happy. Five's 'Milkshake' is our constant breakfast companion, and it the truth be told it’s all for Thomas. I’ve got a train-mad, Thomas-obsessive son and that 8.25 slot can’t come round quick enough.

But guess what? Best of all about the brand-new series which began last Monday (and continues on ‘Milkshake’ at 8.25am daily) is the name of the newest engine: Charlie. Yes! Sodor’s latest addition to the railway network is a little Manning-Wardle 0-6-0ST (Saddle Tank) Class L engine named after ‘Thomas and Friends’ Biggest Fan. I can hardly believe it!

That’s not the only change either. For the first time, the series is produced in CG animation, giving it a full 21st century studio update. The engines now speak with their own character voices too, so there’s less work for Michael Angelis to do. And another thing. All the characters that populated the station platforms whether in the person of the passengers or the fat controller have come alive. No longer will Sir Topham grumble ‘You ‘ave caused confusion and delay’ whilst impersonating a clothes-peg. And James doesn’t sound like a cross between Jimmy Osmond and Steve Gerrard. And relegated to narrating duties, Angelis is on surer ground. He can do it all in his own voice. Which, of course, is what he always did. Although he wasn’t meant to.

So, here’s to the latest Thomas series! Amazing to think that those little trains created by an elderly clergyman are now pensionable age.

Choo choo Charlie!
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