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'Thomas The Tank Engine' To Introduce Two Female Characters, Nia And Rebecca, In TV Series Shakeup

'We want to make sure we’re here another 70 years.' 🚂

16/10/2017 09:34 BST | Updated 16/10/2017 15:35 BST

‘Thomas The Tank Engine’ producers will be introducing two new female trains, as part of an overhaul of the TV series in 2018.

Mattel, the toy maker that owns the brand, revealed Nia (an engine from Kenya) and Rebecca will be joining the one current female train, Emily.

Other changes to the show next year will include a new theme song, the characters making more jokes and the narrator’s voice being replaced by Thomas’ voice.

The show’s creators consulted with parents and young fans to work on the makeover. 

“We have added new female characters before, but I think, with a show like Thomas, they tend to fall into the background after initial introduction,” Ian McCue, a “Thomas & Friends” producer told AP News. “What we wanted to do here was really bring these two female characters to the forefront.”

Mattel announced that Nia will make her debut in summer 2018 during their upcoming film, and then join the TV series in autumn 2018.

According to AP, experts at the United Nations advised ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ producers on her name, that means “purpose” in Swahili, as well as helping to design the African pattern that will appear on her body.

Rebecca comes from the mainland near Thomas’ fictional island of Sodor. She will join the TV series in autumn 2018.

Two male trains, Henry and Edward, will leave the show to make room for Nia and Rebecca.

The producers said gender equality was really important for the show. 

As part of the show’s shakeup, Thomas will visit different countries and meet other female characters, such as a female train controller in charge of a railway in India. 

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