Netflix and ViacomCBS’s Channel 5 have climbed aboard a special 75th anniversary episode of Mattel’s classic children’s show Thomas & Friends, which will be introduced by Prince Harry and feature the British royal family.
Netflix will premiere Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine on May 1 after acquiring the U.S. rights to the animated series earlier this year. Channel 5’s Milkshake! brand will broadcast the episode in the UK on May 2.
The 22-minute story will see Thomas the Tank Engine travel to London for the first time and features the Queen and the Prince of Wales as a child. Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike will also voice a new character, named the Duchess of Loughborough.
Prince Harry recorded his introduction to the episode in January. He said: “I certainly have fond memories of growing up with Thomas & Friends and being transported to new places through his adventures. I am very proud to have been asked to take part in this special episode.”
Pike added: “It is an absolute honour to have the chance to appear in the show and I take it as a big responsibility to play Duchess who is a lovely, warm, bubbly sort of effervescent engine that I am incredibly drawn to because she is very anxious to get things right.”
The character of Thomas the Tank Engine was born in a series of books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry first published in 1945. A TV series about the talking tank engine launched in 1984 on ITV in the UK.
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