Published: 11:00 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 21 October 2011
British TV producers take “Christ out of Christmas” in children’s show
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
The relatives of Thomas the Tank Engine’s author have accused a television company of political correctness against Christian beliefs after it removed references to Christmas in a recent episode.
Rev. W. Awdry’s daughter, Hilary Fortnam, said that her father would have been distressed after executives decided to rebrand Christmas using phrases such as “winter holidays” and “holiday tree”.
“He would feel very strongly about this politically correct age and that those who now write his stories should not have taken Christ out of Christmas. Political correctness against Christian beliefs offends,” Mrs Fortnam said.
She explained that her father, who worked as a vicar for nearly 30 years, “always impressed on reporters and publishers that he ‘was a priest first and a children’s author second.’”
In the 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.
Mrs Fortnam added that she was worried people would think her father had dropped the idea of Christmas from his books.
“It’s frustrating to me because I don’t want people thinking my father wrote those words,” she said. “The television programmes say they are based on the books of Rev. W. Awdry and I don’t want people thinking a vicar would write that.
“A lot of children just receive presents at Christmas and don’t know why they do it,” she said. “Local councils won’t advertise Christmas carols and nativity plays in case they are sued for not being inclusive.”
Rev Awdry had three children. He wrote 26 books between 1945 and 1972, after which his son Christopher, for whom the original books were created, completed another 42.
The timeless classics are now being produced by Hit Entertainment, in the current television series on Channel 5, DVDs and spin-off books.
Mrs Fortnam said that she and her brother and sister were invited to London for occasional meetings to discuss the series but added, “This came out of the blue.”
Hit Entertainment has said that references to Christmas were removed because the DVD on which it featured was designed to be sold all the year round.
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Read The Daily Telegraph article Christmas removed from Thomas the Tank Engine to be politically correct
- Praise God that the Christ-honouring legacy of children’s author Rev. W Awdry continues today. Pray that future attempts to remove references to “Christ” from children’s television scripts will not succeed.