FTSE Beater

Experienced member
Article from the BBC website
Thomas sending children off the rails

Thomas the Tank Engine has been popular for generations
The children's hit television programme Thomas the Tank Engine may be making children frightened of going on trains because of the number of crashes in its stories, according to a British psychologist.
The animated series, based on children's books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, feature the adventures of a little steam engine who has been popular in Britain for almost 20 years.

But Brian Young, a psychology lecturer at Britain's Exeter University, says the large number of accidents in the programmes could have a negative influence on children.

"Thomas the Tank Engine is aimed at a pre-school audience who tend to be more likely to see the programme as a reality," he told the Times newspaper.

Mr Young, an expert on how children react to TV programmes, said there was evidence that children who watch programmes that consistently portray the same image tend to think there is more danger than normal.

"As a result there is a possibility that the sheer amount of crashes they see on Thomas could frighten them," he said.

"Seeing lots of crashes on TV means they could end up absolutely terrified of going on a train."

A spokesman for ITV, which broadcasts the show, told the Times it was confident the series was suitable for children.

Thomas is owned by British media company Hit Entertainment, along with Barney the Dinosaur, Bob the Builder and other animated characters.
Brian Young - If your reading this then your the biggest D**KH**D around!!!!!

I hope the creators of Thomas the Tank Engine sue you for every penny you own.

Stop researching this rubbish and GET ON WITH SOMETHING WORTHWHILE!!!!!!
Ah ha - Found Mr. Young's e-mail address.

This is what I sent him:
Dear Mr Young.

I've recently read about your investigation into Thomas The Tank Engine very interesting.

Have you got nothing better to do with your time than to investigate whether a cartoon can harm kids!!!! There are plenty of other psychological problems in the world, and you decide to focus on one of the most useless.


Yours faithfully
Mark Williams

PS: I hope the creators of Thomas The Tank Engine sue you for every penny your own!!!!
Dear FTSE Beater,
The current market environment is clearly getting on your nerves. May I recommend a break for your trading station.

All considered, you should be encouraged by The Times quote:

"Thomas the Tank Engine is aimed at a pre-school audience who tend to be more likely to see the programme as a reality," he told the Times newspaper.

Judging from your exclamations you clearly do not belong to the TtTE target group. Congratulations. As a father of 3 children in the target age group, my experience is that there might be more to Mr Young's analysis that one would expect.

May I wish you good fortune in beating the FTSE (and perhaps stay ahead of Sterling deposit - and even that is not good enough if one needs currency for foreign travel)
Errr, my two young grandsons 6 and 4 , clearly understand the difference between fact and fiction. The eldest certainly appreciates that the Lord of the Rings is nothing more than a fantastic journey into fiction nad is not phased by it at all..... He knows that everything is "make believe".
I am convinced that they could show as many Thomas The Tank Engine crashes as they like and they would laugh their heads off!!! Rest easy FTSE this bloke is off his trolley! Kids today are far more switched on than you'll ever know :) I guess there are some kids that would be terrified, but then I blame the parents.
CM - I glad you see it from the same stand point as me.

Toad - I feel old now I'm not part of the TtTE focus group :(

Having said this peeps. I was given this reply.
Thank you for your interest in the recent press coverage of
the Thomas the Tank Engine story. I hope you don't mind if
I reply with a standard letter as many people have
contacted me about my comments as reported.. I don't think
the coverage gave the whole picture so this provides me
with an opportunity to give my side. Firstly, I have not
done any research into Thomas and how children respond to
the televised version. I was contacted by a freelance
journalist who told me that concerns had been expressed
about the portrayal of train crashes on this TV show. He
then asked me my opinion was as a child psychologist?
Children and television, and children and TV advertising in
particular, has been one of my research interests and I've
reviewed the literature for the Independent Television
Commission (ITC) in the past as they want to be
well-informed when they make regulatory decisions. It's
well-known from research in this area that children under
the age of 5 years often have problems with the reality as
portrayed on TV and the reality in the real world and get
the two mixed up. Of course one can't say that all
children are like this and that it might cause problems for
all children, but it is something that we should be on the
lookout for. So -yes - some young children might get
anxious about travelling by train if they see train crashes
on a fictional programme - even if to us these are only toy
trains. The bit that was missing was what we can do about
this. I've always thought that children should view TV
with adults and using TV as a baby sitter leaves young
children exposed to all sorts of misunderstandings and
fears that need to be explained to them. Also co-viewing
where parent or other significant adult and child watch
together provides a good opportunity for parents to explain
and repair any misunderstandings that occur as they happen.
So if the child solemnly announces that he or she doesn't
want to use the train because we could end up like Thomas
then the parent has the opportunity to explain that it's
'only a story' and help the child learn and develop a
literacy with television.

So my message was positive - it wasn't directed at Thomas
whom my children liked when they were young and seems by
and large a well-produced and responsible piece of TV. It
was used just as an example of a general point - the need
to realise that children can be scared of incidents and
events that we would not anticipate as potentially 'scary'
because we know the difference between fantasy stories and
real-life events.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings. Journalists
of course have their job to do but in this case the truth
of the matter seemed to have got lost somewhere along the
It's at this point I should say sorry to Mr Young and make sure next time I get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. :)

I'm sitting here after my third Islay malt so what I say may be considered rather harsh in the light of day (if it eventually appears).
I will not have you apologising to a university lecturer in Phsychology.
Most of us have had to earn our living in the harsh world of private business.
The important word being "earn". If we didn't provide a service which the public was prepared to pay for we didn't eat = simple as that
Or, in the case of trading, if our skills were not better than most we lost money.
None of this applies to university lecturers in Psychology.
in the old hackneyed phrase " we put our money where our mouth was" simple as that.

And if this lecturer thinks that Thomas was anything like as scary as the US "horror comics" which gave me nightmares when I was a kid (but which I survived) then he wants his head seeing to.
Now I understand why these nice people insist that I wear my white jacket with funny long sleeves. :(
Don't Forget ...

The Daleks.

Remember peeping at the cyborgs from behind the setee?

And the "Mekon" ( No - Not William Hague)?

Now we laugh at old Dracula, or B Movie Horror films.

Apart from showing my age I do not think exposure to the above did me any harm.

So bring back the Magic Roundabout, Brian the snail and friends.

You're a bit of a youngster Neil

Anyone else remember hiding behind the settee when Dick Barton came on the Radio?
Re: Don't Forget ...

neil said:
The Daleks.
I was fine with the Daleks. Right up until the episode where they showed a Dalek going upstairs. Then, I was not fine with the Daleks...

Dr Mike said:
You're a bit of a youngster Neil

Anyone else remember hiding behind the settee when Dick Barton came on the Radio?
:confused: :confused: :confused:

Hi Dr.Mike

Your right, lectures don't earn money - they sort of pull it out of thin air :(
Turn the radio on.....

Dr Mike said:
You're a bit of a youngster Neil

Anyone else remember hiding behind the settee when Dick Barton came on the Radio?

Dick Barton,

Don't know about him but I remember, as a wee lad, I was not tall enough to reach the radio which sat upon a cabinet.

I would get a chair, stand upon it, and tune into "Dan Dare"

So transfixed was I by the story I would forget to get down from the chair and remain standing there for the entire episode.

My parents told me that for some reason I would insist upon being inches from the radio whilst listening to the thrilling exploits of "Dan Dare."

Hi Neil

I suspect that with Dan Dare being on Radio Luxembourg, you had to get close to hear it through all the crackle and hiss.

Enough of this reminising I'm beginning to feel really old and capable of being blown away by a strong breeze a la Christopher Lee in Dracula.