How Thomas the Tank Engine became a runaway money-making machine

Sitting opposite me now, in a decidedly unflashy outfit of crew-neck sweater, checked shirt, blue chinos and loafers, Christopher admits, ‘Without Father we wouldn’t have the lifestyle we now enjoy.’ But the Awdrys – Wilbert, Margaret, Christopher and his two younger sisters, Hilary and Veronica – never lived like celebrities. ‘Life didn’t change dramatically when Thomas took off,’ he says. ‘I suppose the only difference was that, in 1956, for instance, we bought a new car for the very first time. And in 1955 we had our first proper holiday. Up until then our family holidays had been on an

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