Thomas and Friends Introduces First Autistic Engine

A brand new character has moved onto the Island of Sodor and will be the first openly autistic engine to join the Really Useful Crew.

The character of Bruno, has been developed in collaboration with the Autism Self Advocacy Network (US) alongside autistic writers.

In keeping with casting neurodivergent actors in neurodivergent roles, Bruno will be voiced by autistic actor nine-year-old actor Elliott Garcia, who lives in Reading.

Bruno is a brake car who is responsible for keeping heavy cargo loads steady with his strong brakes. He rolls in reverse at the end of a train, meaning he has a ‘unique perspective on the world’.

Autistic actor Elliott Garcia voices new character Bruno

Elliott says: “Bruno is a Brake Car, and he is a new friend for Thomas and his friends, and he’s also autistic, like me. He is funny, smart, and he’s a very relaxed character. He can get really overwhelmed, he can get worried, and he uses comedy to get past situations. Bruno loves schedules and timetables and when everything goes to plan.

“He can flap his ladders to tell you if he’s upset or if he’s really excited, so he can use his items to show you how he’s feeling. His ear defenders, I do relate to, because if there’s a really loud noise, I can’t cope. I can get quite worried about things, I have to think of new strategies, same as Bruno. When I won the role of Bruno, I imagined that it was a dream, but it wasn’t! I felt really excited and happy. It’s great that they are representing autistic characters because I watch the Thomas & Friends series and for there to be an autistic character makes me feel very happy and excited.”

Bruno will be making his first appearance on ‘Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go!’ on Channel 5 Milkshake! from Wednesday 21 September at 7.00am

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