|This article is about the 1953 adaptation. You may be looking for the episode or the magazine story.|
The Sad Story of Henry was a BBC television pilot which was broadcasted on 14 June 1953. It was based on The Railway Series story of the same name.
In 1953, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) approached then Railway Series editor Eric Marriot with the intention of getting the rights to adapt two stories from The Three Railway Engines for television. These episodes were scheduled to be broadcast during BBC Children's Hour on 14th and 28th June of that year, respectively.
The pilot was transmitted live from Lime Grove Studios. It has been reported that, during the broadcast, an engine became derailed due to a set of points not being set correctly. On screen, a crew member's hand could be seen putting the aforementioned locomotive back onto the rails.
Wilbert Awdry, who watched the broadcast, complained about "jerky" model railway operation, the on-screen derailment (which he described as an "elementary mistake,") James being present in the televised version of the story (when he hadn't been in the original) as well as the "freely adapted" script required to fill in the ten-minute time slot. These complaints, combined with negative media attention, resulted in the cancellation of the planned subsequent episodes.
It is believed that this pilot no longer exists, as being a live broadcast, it was likely never recorded. No stills are known to exist either. It is very unlikely that it will ever be found.
- All biographical information was retrieved from The Real Lives of Thomas the Tank Engine Presents
- The TV Series - A History (Sodor Island Fansite)
- The Thomas the Tank Engine Man by Brian Sibley, pages 187 - 189.