Anti-bullying & equality campaigners have praised plans by children’s show Thomas the Tank Engine to highlight modern issues in the latest series of the classic show.

Producers confirmed that the show’s famous Railway Controller Sir Toppham Hat, cruelly dawbed the Fat Controller by callous engines, will see his name switched to ‘The Big Boned Team Leader’.

Body awareness campaigner Killjoy McNiven told The Rochdale Herald “We welcome changes to remove the stigma of bullying from the show which finally allows Sir Toppham Hat to carry out his work free of body shaming. Real fans of the show know that he is only ever seen on screen eating toast & marmalade. This clearly points to a gluten intolerance issues.”

Executive producer Tom Bola revealed that Thomas the Tank Engine himself will have his distinctive blue coating repainted in rainbow colours. “With his famous sass, Thomas has long been an icon in the LGBTQ community” Bola explained.

“I mean, come on, the signs are there – Thomas spends all day bitching & moaning about the other engines to Annie & Clarabel. In the spirit of Northern Rail’s championing of gender diversity issues with their Trans-Pennine Express, we’re giving our characters the opportunity to shout it loud, they’re gay and they’re proud.”

Future storylines have been praised for their gritty realism, with Bertie the Bus identifying as a Tram, James discovering his afro-Caribbean roots & a glimpse into simmering racial tensions on the island with Gordon refusing to deliver barrels of gee to a recently opened Indian Restaurant before learning a valuable lesson & ending the show with a bangra routine.

However, the show’s changes have not gone down well on the Island of Sodor.

Sodor Nationalist and head of pro-independence party SOD-OFF, Max Spoon, briefly left his castle to tell the Herald “It’s a joke. Thomas was the last bastion of Sodority and now it’s ruined.”

The family of Rev W Awdry confirmed he was spinning in his grave.