Thomas the tank engine

In a typically thought provoking Comment is Free piece Tracy Van Slyke puts the case forward that Thomas the Tank Engine is corrupting children with its “classism, sexism, anti-environmentalism bordering on racism” agenda.

The question many people were left asking was whether Ms Van Slyke was serious?

The Guardian is more than just the name of the newspaper. The publication serves as our guardian, teaching us the difference between what is right (the left) and what is wrong (the right), what we can believe and what we can’t believe, which words are acceptable and which ones are not. For this we are forever in their debt.

But Van Slyke’s claims that the Fat Controller is an “autocrat”, that there is a lack of gender equality amongst the trains and that there are racial undertones in the colour of the train “smoke” – black smoke is a bad train and white smoke is a good train -was a little farfetched even by the Guardian’s standards.

Anyway, whether Van Slyke is a first class troll who persuaded them she is one of them or is a first class fruitcake and actually is one of them, I thought it would be helpful to look at what other children’s shows might not make the cut in a politically correct world.

–          I am quite a fan of SpongeBob Square Pants but is there a darker side to the absorbant, yellow, porous little chap? For SpongeBob’s insatiable appetite for Krabby Pattys (burgers for those that haven’t seen the show) has encouraged our children to eat gluttonously, singlehandedly creating a childhood obesity epidemic, fuelling diabetes and placing an unimaginable burden on our world leading health service.

–          Peppa Pig is hugely popular amongst toddlers but should you really let your child idolise a character which failed to wear a seatbelt in one episode? Not really Tufty is it?

–          I recently came across a children’s character called Mike the Knight. Aimed at very young children, Mike carries a sword! Seriously, a sword! That is dangerous. Not to mention illegal.

–          I hear that ThunderCats has made a comeback – a personal favourite of mine as a child. But do we really think that the female character, Cheetarah, by parading around with a slim physique in next to nothing is giving young girls a positive vision of how to succeed in a male dominated environment?

Will somebody please think of the children!