Rev W Awdry Bibliography Page

'My father would never have taken Christ out of Christmas': Daughter of Thomas the Tank Engine creator slams politically correct 'holiday' episode

  • Rev W Awdry 'was a priest first and children's author second'
  • Programme talks of 'winter holidays' and 'holiday tree'

By Lucy Buckland
Updated: 22:00 GMT, 10 October 2011

Hilary Fortnam, 65, said her father Rev W Awdry (pictured) was the son of a vicar and brought her and her sister and brother up in the traditions of the Church of England

The clergyman who wrote the Thomas The Tank Engine books would be insulted by a new TV episode which ditches all references to Christmas, says his daughter.

Hilary Fortnam made her comments after the television company that records the new adventures re-branded Christmas as 'the holidays'.

Mrs Fortnam, 65, said her father Rev W Awdry was the son of a vicar and brought her and her sister and brother up in the traditions of the Church of England.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph Ms Fortnam said: 'He would feel very strongly about this politically correct age and that those who now wrote his stories should not have taken Christ out of Christmas.

'He was a priest first and children's author second.'

In Keeping Up With James, the offending episode, the trains compete to carry gifts to children against a backdrop of a decorated tree.

But to bypass the word Christmas, the programme talks of 'winter holidays' and a 'holiday tree'.

Mrs Fortnam (right) with sister Veronica and brother Christopher said their father would be distressed at the removal of religious references from his stories

Mrs Fortnam said she was concerned people would think it was her father who had ditched Christmas. 

She told The Daily Telegraph: 'It's frustrating to me because I don't want people thinking my father write those words. I don't want people thinking a vicar would write that.'

Mrs Fortnam, her sister Veronica and brother Christopher would help their father with storylines when they were growing up.

Their father would often try out new material after dinner and if they didn't like the stories, he would go back to the drawing board.

Rev Awdry wrote 26 books between 1945 and 1972 and his son Christopher, who they were originally crafted for, then took over the writing, completing another 42.

Hit Entertainment, who produce the television series and spin-odd books, had even tried to rename the Fat Controller in the past, in case it offended obese viewers.

The company, headed by former marketing director Jeffrey Dunn, said all references to Christmas were removed because the DVD would be sold all year round.

In the offending episode, the trains compete to carry gifts to children against a backdrop of a decorated tree (pictured). But to bypass the word Christmas, the programme talks of 'winter holidays' and a 'holiday tree'

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Rev W Awdry Bibliography

UK First Edition Books

A Collectors Reference Guide

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Rev W Awdry born 1911 to 1998 began this hugely popular series in 1945. It was not until it was adapted for television, narrated by Ringo Starr of The Beatles. that it truly exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. There were countless spin-off toys and games etc. The series was continued by the authors son Christopher. The books are, of course, very collectable and the delightful format only adds to their desirability. Whilst the books themselves would not really fall into the rare category the early titles are certainly uncommon especially in collectable condition and with their original dust wrappers. Care should be taken to ensure that the correct jacket is on the right book. Later state jackets sometimes mysteriously fid themselves on 1st edition books!.
If you are looking to buy or sell rare books then our find a bookshop section may be of some assistance.

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Title DateNotes
The Three Railway EnginesEdmund Ward1945 
Thomas the Tank EngineEdmund Ward1946 
James the Red EngineEdmund Ward1948 
Tank Engine Thomas AgainEdmund Ward1949 
Troublesome EnginesEdmund Ward1950 
Henry the Green EngineEdmund Ward1951 
Toby the Tram EngineEdmund Ward1952 
Gordon the Big EngineEdmund Ward1953 
Edward the Blue EngineEdmund Ward1954 
Four Little EnginesEdmund Ward1955 
Percy the Small EngineEdmund Ward1956 
The Eight Famous EnginesEdmund Ward1957 
Duck and Diesel EngineEdmund Ward1958 
The Little Old EngineEdmund Ward1959 
The Twin EnginesEdmund Ward1960 
Branch Line EnginesEdmund Ward1961 
Gallant Old EngineEdmund Ward1962 
Stepney the Bluebell EngineEdmund Ward1963 
Mountain EnginesEdmund Ward1964 
Very Old EnginesEdmund Ward1965 
Main Line EnginesEdmund Ward1966 
Small Railway EnginesKay & Ward1967 
Enterprising EnginesKay & Ward1968 
Oliver the Western EngineKay & Ward1969 
Duke and the Lost EngineKay & Ward1970 
Tramway EnginesKay & Ward1972 

By Christopher Awdry

Title DateNotes
Really Useful EnginesKay & Ward1983 
James and the Diesel EnginesKay & Ward1984 
Great Little EnginesKay & Ward1985 
More About ..Kay & Ward1986 
Gordon the High Speed EngineKay & Ward1987 
Toby, Tracks and TroubleKay & Ward1988 
Thomas and the TwinsKay & Ward1989 
Jack the New EngineKay & Ward1990 
Thomas and the Great Railway ShowKay & Ward1991 
Thomas Comes HomeKay & Ward1992 
Henry and the ExpressKay & Ward1993 
Wilbert the Forest EngineKay & Ward1994 
Thomas and the Fat Controller's EnginesKay & Ward1995 

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