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There could be some very excited fans on retro television in Britain this week, after news that Thomas the Tank Engine is to be turned into a live-action film.

Reverend W Awdry's stories about a little blue steam train were first brought to life for the small screen in 1984, with Ringo Starr providing the voices.

However, Thomas and his pals are now to get the big screen treatment, directed by Shane Acker from a script written by Josh Klausner, Chris Viscardi and Will McRobb, Deadline reports.

Acker said he was inspired to take on Thomas the Tank Engine after he had his daughter, who is now 20 months old and loves the charcters.

"The tale will revolve around a pre-teen boy who has drifted apart from his father. The son is introduced into this world of Sodor, a place his father visited as a child but can't remember," he explained.

Meanwhile, Thomas and friends are also to feature on some Royal Mail stamps that will mark the centenary of the birth of Rev Awdry this week.

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