It would be fair to say that Ringo Starr has become as synonymous with Thomas the Tank Engine as he is with The Beatles. But when Ringo was first approached about taking the role back in the early 1980s, he wasn’t sure whether or not he’d be willing to participate, thinking that children of the 1980s would not connect with the steam railway setting of the 1940s and 1950s. But having heard his voice on Michael Parkinson’s television programme after hearing an array of professional actors, Britt Allcroft was adamant that he was the right person to bring Thomas and his friends to life, and after a while, Ringo agreed to take part.
Ringo became the Storyteller for the first two series of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, also lending his voice to tie-in audio books by Ladybird, which have become highly sought-after. Ringo’s association with the series led him overseas to America, where he continued his storytelling role as ‘Mr Conductor’ in Shining Time Station, Britt Allcroft’s vehicle to launch Thomas in the USA. Ringo left the series in 1989 to concentrate upon his musical interests, and tour with his All-Starr Band. Ringo has said in interviews following his departure that Thomas will always have a special place in his heart and that he is proud to be a part of Thomas’s world.