|This article is about the 1953 adaptation. You may be looking for the 1984 adaptation or the magazine story.|
In 1953, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) approached then Railway Series editor Eric Marriott, who works for Edmund Ward with the intention of getting the rights to adapt two stories from The Three Railway Engines for television. These episodes were scheduled to be broadcast during BBC Children's Hour on 14th and 28th June of that year, respectively.
The pilot was transmitted live from Lime Grove Studios. It has been reported that, during the broadcast, an engine (Most likely Henry) became derailed due to a set of points not being set correctly. On screen, a crew member's hand could be seen putting the aforementioned locomotive back onto the rails.
Wilbert Awdry, who watched the broadcast, complained about "jerky" model railway operation, the on-screen derailment (which he described as an "elementary mistake"), as well as the "freely adapted" script required to fill in the ten-minute time slot. These complaints, combined with negative media attention, resulted in the cancellation of the planned subsequent episodes.
It is believed that this pilot no longer exists, as being a live broadcast, it was likely never recorded. No stills are known to exist either.
- This is the first example of an attempt to adapt the Railway Series books to television, second being a series planned by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the 1970s.
- The incident resulted in the verse loosely based on the original one from The Sad Story of Henry:
Once an engine attached to a train,
Was afraid of a few drops of rain.
The points weren't set right,
It came off with a fright,
And a hand put it back on again.
- Model Maker Magazine: The Locomotive Family by P.R. Wickham on Pegsean.net
- The TV Series on Sodor Island Fansite
- Lost Media Wiki