Posted by: martinworster | November 14, 2008



My son Tristan is mad crazy for Thomas The Tank Engine, a story first written by the Rev W.V.Awdry in England 1946. It’s now a global phenemona with theme parks, magazines, films, books and the logo printed on every type of toy imaginable. In the UK version, one of the characters is called the Fat Controller. In America he has been renamed Sir Topham Hat. I find this highly amusing. I imagine it might offend some of our American friends as it’s not very PC. Maybe it’s the Orwellian connotations of the phrase ‘Fat Controller’ – an obese Big Brother with a manipulative, omnipresent hand in all the events that happen on the Isle of Sodor (where Thomas lives).

The character is off course overweight – so it is an accurate moniker. Maybe they should have renamed him The Overweight Obese Controller? Or The Physically Challenged Controller? Or the Greedy Gross Lump Who Ate All The Fries Controller? But I agree it could be deemed disrespectful to some people in a country with so many fat, I mean, ahem, obese, people.

When I watch the US version it just doesn’t seem right, not just the name changes, but also the American accent for the characters, especially when they pronounce Sir Topham Hat slowly. I try to keep my son watching the UK versions, originally narrated by Ringo Star in his Liverpool accent. American accent or thick Scouse? Are ey, pack it in will ya sof laah, divvy scone ed…!



  1. How very nice to read some ironic PC-police bashing 😉

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