Thomas The Tank Engine creators, Mattel, has announced that 14 new and diverse trains will be introduced to the show and merchandise range.
The cartoon locomotives will apparently, as the Daily Mail reports "give the show a multicultural edge" and are a "far cry from the original set".
Among the new characters are:
Carlos from Mexico
Carlos is - according to Mattel - “proud” and “always wearing a smile.”
Ashima of India
Ashima “shows no fear” and is “happy to help out.”
Yong Bao of China
Bao is “driven to achieve and make progress.”
And Raul from Brazil
According to Mattel, Raul is “feisty,” “strong and agile.”
The moved has been met with criticism...
First from researcher in social justice and pop culture, Tracy Van Slyke who has previously criticised the show for having a “little white boss” dictate what tasks the engines do. She told The Telegraph:
I applaud the idea, but am concerned about execution.
There is a danger in reducing very complex countries and peoples to singular characteristics. If the trains are only defined by cultural stereotypes, the result will be a calculated, and destructive, nod to diversity and inclusivity.
And secondly, by Daily Mail readers, who have completely lost it:
Because why would they do this to a British institution?
It's overcomplicated Brexit metaphor inducing
It brings back Noddy memories
Something, something immigration
Oh and it gets worse
But these guys, though