Last week the Daily Mail claimed that Thomas the Tank Engine had got rid of Christmas in an attempt to be politically correct. The article did seem to contradict this claim by including the following two paragraphs near the end:
Hit Entertainment, the company behind the DVD, said: ‘It was put out some time ago. It was not a seasonal release specifically aimed at a Christmas audience, but we do put out seasonal releases that have Christmas in the title.
‘Last year we had Christmas Express and next year we are planning another Christmas title.’
So, the Daily Mail article made it clear that the DVD they were referring to was an older release, and as such was not exactly ‘news’ nor was the DVD intended as a seasonal release.
The Daily Telegraph today ran the following headline: ‘Christmas removed from Thomas the Tank Engine to be politically correct’. They followed up this headline with this sub-heading:
The daughter of the clergyman author who created Thomas the Tank Engine has criticised television producers for writing Christmas out of a new series. [emphasis is mine]
The article continues:
In the offending TV episode called “Keeping up with James”, the trains compete to carry presents to children against a background with a fir tree decorated with baubles and a choir.
But instead of using the word Christmas, the programme talks of the “winter holidays” and a “holiday tree.”
Just a couple of problems:
- The episode referred to in the Telegraph article – presumably what the Telegraph means by ‘writing Christmas out of a new series‘ – first aired in 2005.
- This year a Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas special is being released on the 31st October – complete with ‘Wishes come true in this Christmas special!’ slapped on the front cover.
The Telegraph does seem to make the vaguest reference to what the Mail article made clear: the removal of overtly Christmas language was a cynical attempt to flog the DVD all year round and all-world-round. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of transparency that the Daily Mail article does and simply states in the closing paragraph that:
Hit Entertainment has said references to Christmas were removed because the DVD on which it featured was designed to be sold all the year round.
And, as is very clear by the expected 31st October release of the Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas special, we can clearly see that new episodes will indeed be cynically exploiting the Christmas theme for profit. Just as Jesus would have wanted, no doubt.
With thanks to @notjarvis for tweeting this story to me.