British kids’ TV has a fairly solid tradition of being really f-ing harrowing. If you’re old enough to remember The Boy From Space, Zelda from The Terrahawks, or Mister Noseybonk, you’ll know what we’re on about. You need only to check out the public information films of the 70s and 80s to understand how little regard for youngsters’ mental well being our broadcasters had. So, you know, Brit kids: double hard.
This, however, is not an actual example of Brit TV being terrifying, but one of a Thomas & Friends Halloween special which ended up with a slightly bizarre difference between its UK and US versions:
Thomas and his fellow engine Emily are sent to the smelter’s yard for a nighttime collection of some iron, but get spooked by pranks set up by diesels Harry and Bert, and become convinced there’s a g-g-g-ghoooost! Emily ends up with a sheet stuck on her head chasing a terrified Thomas back to the sheds, thinking the ghost is after him, before the sheet falls off revealing it was Emily all along, and Harry and Bert admit to their mischief.
In the UK version above, you’ll see the episode ends with Michael Angelis narrating ‘After all, there is no such thing as ghosts, it was all silly make-believe’ just as an adorable little ghost pops up from behind some old scrap. Frankly, we’ve seen scarier episodes of the Great British Bake Off.