kids encyclopedia robot

Britt Allcroft facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Britt Allcroft
Hilary Mary Allcroft

(1943-12-14) 14 December 1943 (age 79)
  • Writer
  • producer
  • director
  • voice actress
Years active 1964–present
Angus Wright
(m. 1973; div. 1997)
Children 2

Britt Allcroft (born Hilary Mary Allcroft, 14 December 1943) is a British writer, producer, director and voice actress. She is the creator of the children's television series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (later re-titled Thomas & Friends), Shining Time Station (with Rick Siggelkow), Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales and Magic Adventures of Mumfie. She also wrote, co-produced and directed the film Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000).

Early life

She was born Hilary Mary Allcroft on 14 December 1943 in Worthing, West Sussex, England. At the age of 16, she changed her first name to Britt as her career in British radio and television gained momentum. She went on to create a succession of programmes for the BBC and ITV during the 1970s and 1980s, including Moon Clue Game, Dance Crazy and Keepsakes. Mothers By Daughters, produced for Channel Four, was broadcast by PBS in the United States. She also worked in theatre, staging shows at the London Palladium and Drury Lane Theatres.


While making a documentary about British steam trains in August 1979, Allcroft met the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, author of the children's book series The Railway Series. She said, "It really didn't take me long to become intrigued by the characters, the relationships between them and the nostalgia they invoked." She told him that she wanted to bring these stories to life and made an arrangement to secure certain rights through his then-publishers Kaye & Ward.

In 1980, she co-founded Britt Allcroft Railway Productions (internationally known as The Britt Allcroft Company) with her husband, television producer Angus Wright. It took Allcroft four years to raise the funding for, and create, a first series of 26 episodes in collaboration with director David Mitton. The first two episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, shot on 35 mm film, with narration by Ringo Starr in the UK/US and music by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell, were aired together for the first time on British television on 9 October 1984.

The success of the series in the UK, and the merchandising campaign that Allcroft had been organising since 1983, soon led to further success in other parts of the world. In 1989, she and American producer Rick Siggelkow created Shining Time Station, a live-action children's sitcom fronted by the magical character of the miniature Mr. Conductor, who introduced two Thomas stories in each half-hour programme. Shining Time Station won a number of awards and significantly increased the popularity of the Thomas media franchise in the US. Shining Time Station lasted until 1995 and, in 1996, she created the short spin-off series Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales.

In 1994, Allcroft followed Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Shining Time Station with the cartoon-animated Magic Adventures of Mumfie, in collaboration with director John Collins. Inspired by the books by Katharine Tozer, that production received critical acclaim and was seen worldwide. In 2008, several years after she left her original company, Allcroft revived the Mumfie library.

Allcroft wrote and directed Thomas and the Magic Railroad, a film based on the Thomas franchise, that was released in 2000. She also provided the voice of the character Lady. The film was a critical and commercial failure. The poor box-office performance of the film caused Allcroft to resign as deputy chairman of her company in September 2000. She has not been active in the industry since then.

Personal life

Allcroft was previously married to television producer Angus Wright, but later divorced. She has two children.


Year Title Director Writer Producer Actress Role Notes
1964 Three Go Round No Yes No No Narrative script
1967 Get It-Got It-Good No Yes No No
1984–1998 Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Yes Yes Yes No 59 episodes
1990 Shining Time Station: 'Tis a Gift No Yes Yes No Television special
1994–1998 Magic Adventures of Mumfie Yes No No Yes The Queen of Night Voice
1995 The Thomas the Tank Engine Man No No No Yes Herself Documentary
1996 Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales No Yes Yes No 6 episodes
1996 Mumfie's Quest: The Movie Yes No No Yes The Queen of Night Voice
1999 Storytime with Thomas Yes No No No 2 episodes
2000 Thomas and the Magic Railroad Yes Yes Yes Yes Lady Voice
kids search engine
Britt Allcroft Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.