The lovely Sara from the Thomas & Friends Press Office (which sounds like a brilliant place to work !) kindly sent us through a DVD so we could watch a sneak peek of the first three episodes of the new Thomas and Friends series, which is due to air on Milkshake from 25th January 2010 (in other words this Monday).
I must be well old because I still say "Thomas the Tank Engine" and the girls both go "that's not right, it's Thomas and friends" ! That's not the only change either, since the early days. I was amazed to see Thomas is celebrating his 65th birthday this year so it must have been time for him to be a bit modernised ! Thomas and Friends has gone high tech and this series is the first one to have been made totally with computer-generated imagery and a voice cast, rather than the live-action models and single narrator of the "olden days" ! It's brought it right up to date and made it much more appealing to the new generation of viewers who are used to all sorts of technological wizardry being the norm ... although, having said that, the girls also discovered Bod recently and were transfixed by that too, so the oldies are goodies too ! It's great for all the different trains to talk with different voices now, although I do miss Ringo Starr's Scouse accent doing all the narrating !
Each episode lasts for fifteen minutes, which I initially thought would be a bit long, but the girls both sat down and watched through all three episodes without getting bored. They started off saying it would be good for little brother Pierre when he's older, because it's a programme for boys, but they still found the stories interesting and they deal with universal issues like teasing so it's girl-friendly too ! I smiled to myself at the story of James and his pink undercoat, wondering if that was a reaction to the whole "pink stinks!" debate that kicked off a while ago !
It's great to see characters talking with real language, not the made-up baby-words that seem to be a compulsory part of many modern kids' TV shows, and the values and morals are as positive and wholesome as you would expect from a classic kids' show.
If you've got a mini trainspotter-in-the-making, or if you're just intrigued to see how they've given Thomas a computer-aided makeover, tune in to Milkshake at 8.25am on Monday for the start of series 13.