Thomas the Tank Engine quits show


Martin T Sherman voices Thomas the Tank Engine in the U.S., but he's leaving the show amid a dispute. In a post on his blog -- since taken town -- Sherman said that they just don't pay very well.

"For the last five years it has been my great honour and pleasure to create the American voices of Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy. Unfortunately, I must now quit the show," Sherman wrote. "It is embarrassing but the reason is that they are paying a very low wage. The terms they are offering are so poor, and this with the immense success of Thomas, that the only right thing for me to do is walk away.I have felt exploited for a while now I believe it is important to move on from a situation if you are not valued."

Sherman, 42, also sent the letter to the Tampa Bay Times, which was first to break the story.

Reached by phone in London, Sherman said the decision to leave was tough, but he could no longer work for what he calls low wages. Especially, he said, in light of the success of the television show, DVDs and toy line.

"The people who are going to suffer is going to be the kids," he said.

He apologized in his letter to fans. "People have been pretty understanding," he said. "They agree that if I'm being hurt, I need to go."

A spokesperson from the showmakers, HIT Entertainment, released a short statement.

"Unfortunately, we could not reach an agreement with Martin T. Sherman and have decided to part ways. We wish him the best in his future professional endeavours"

The Guardian's Nicky Woolf reports that he had to subsidize his income with other work, despite being the voice of one of the world's most famous childrens' characters.

Sherman pointed to the disparity between his pay, which he described as “a small percentage” of what he would be getting if he had a US Screen Actor's Guild contract, and the amount of money that the show makes every year for the company, an estimated $250m. He said that the pay they had offered him was “a quantum leap” below Screen Actors Guild rates; only just enough money to live on.

Thomas, Woolf writes, is "by far" Hit Entertainment's most valuable property.

Among the famous names to have voiced Thomas are Ringo Starr, George Carlin, and Biggie Smalls.

Previously: Crashes from Thomas the Tank Engine giphy-1

Notable Replies

  1. I applaud this guy. He's shining a light on what happens to a large percentage of workers in most companies in every industry: those who actually create the wealth are usually valued only slightly better than serfs.

  2. Who the fuck is Sir Topham Hatt? Is that what the Fat Controller is called over there? You running-dog capitalist lickspittles.

  3. Well exccuuuuuse us for using people's names instead of trying to shame them for their body type! Sorry for sitting down for a minute to learn the actual names of people instead of just Adjective Job.

    You might want to look into your handle and see if you can rename yourself "Angry Queenslackey," sirrah!

    And, much like soccer, this is a name your people came up with in the first place, don't blame us for using it.

  4. Maybe

    That,and the fact that the Fat Controller does hugely unprofitable things yet the railway wasn't closed by Dr Beeching, suggests that it might be a quango and I think the Fat Controller got the job and knighthood for services to the government. Maggie probably gave him a seat in the house of lords later, when he helped privatise British Railways. (I know Maggie had been kicked out by the time the railways were privatised, but Sodor is a huge, rural lump of rock off the coast of Cumbria. There's probably two Tory safe seats there and who knows what effect that would have on the politics of Britain.)

    I want to build on this now.

  5. Plot of every episode (at least in the show's early run):

    • Thomas is assigned a simple task with clear instructions.
    • Thomas ignores all instructions, f*cks up completely and causes massive derailments which would claim lives and millions of dollars worth of damage in real life. (Or as Sir Topham Hatt unapprovingly refers to them, "delays.")
    • Thomas "learns his lesson" and promises to do the simple task correctly this time.
    • Sir Topham Hatt continues to demonstrate criminal negligence by allowing Thomas to do so.
    • "Isn't Thomas a useful engine??"

Continue the discussion

40 more replies