|Annie & Clarabel|
|Class||LBSCR coaches No. 100|
|Livery||NWR yellow-orange, NWR orange, NWR maroon with a yellow stripe (since 1921)|
|Line||Knapford Junction to Ffarqhuar branchline|
|Built||1921 on Sodor|
|First Appearance||Thomas and the Breakdown Train|
Teresa Gallagher (UK/US)
Annie and Clarabel are Thomas' two coaches, whom he loves very much.
In a sense, Annie is actually the oldest character in the Railway Series. Long before Wilbert Awdry wrote the stories, he was a model railway enthusiast. In 1921, while still at school, he built a model coach. In 1941 he constructed models of Thomas and his coaches to run at a local village fair, and so used that 1481 coach as Annie. He built a new coach to represent Clarabel.
Unlike most of the characters in the Railway Series, Annie and Clarabel do not appear to be based upon any specific prototype. However, they are fairly typical of suburban coaches, such as might have been used for branch and secondary services. Christopher Awdry has suggested in a character profile that they may have been rebuilt from older, six-wheeled coaches by The Fat Controller. Unlike most of the engines, the history of Annie and Clarabel before their first appearance in the books has been kept very vague
The television versions of the characters bear a strong resemblance to coaches of the Metropolitan Railway, part of what is now the London Underground. Annie and Clarabel, along with Old Slow Coach, are the only coaches to have facial features, except for the Narrow Gauge Coaches from Season 4. Annie and Clarabel are also very similar to The Old Coaches from Season 1.
Accusations of sexism
The 1980s saw a number of allegations of sexism levelled at the books, so much so that Birmingham City Council banned the Railway Series from their libraries. The accusations centred around the fact that the engines in the books were almost invariably male, while the coaches were always female. Therefore, the "men" had all the power, while the "women" were entirely passive. Annie and Clarabel, being the most prominent coach characters in the books, were seen as the clearest examples of this allegation He cameoed Clarabel only in Calm Down Caitlin
Defenders of the series pointed out that the coaches were not always passive, and that Annie and Clarabel would often prove to be more perceptive and sensible than Thomas. Britt Allcroft, the producer of the television series, claimed that gender issues were irrelevant. In her words, "Thomas and friends are neither male nor female- they are magic."
Nonetheless, for the fourth season of the television series, it was announced that there would be more female characters than ever before. In actual fact, one female vehicle was introduced along with eleven new male ones - no more than in previous seasons. However, existing female characters got greater focus, and many of these male ones were dropped later on.
In the television series (non-English)
- Annie and Clarabel's theme is their Season 1 theme.
Counterparts (Female Version)
- Petra and Pearl - Theodore Tugboat
- Leeta and Lyco - Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sophie and Sadie - Salty's Lighthouse
- Midge Smoot's Granddaughters - Shining Time Station
- Skunk and Squirrel - Wee Sing: Grandpa's Magical Toys
- Baby Peach and Baby Daisy - Super Mario Bros.
- The Brown Dog and the Purple Poodle - Garfield and Friends
- Gracie and Gladys - Tiny Toon Adventures
- Sasha and Kiki - Animaniacs
- Ichabod and Izzy - Dr. Seuss
- Patty and Selma - The Simpsons
- Kat and Ana - WarioWare (Portfolio Version)
- Mia and Tia - Cars 1; both love Thomas and Lightning McQueen
- Parvati and Padma Patil - Harry Potter
- Belle and Bella - Pokemon
- Nell and Lucy - Wreck-it Ralph
- Mabel and Penelope - VeggieTales
- Gumdrop lasses - Adventure Time
- Chill and Sprocket - Skylanders
- Katie and Sadie - Total Drama
- Buffy Shellhammer and Dr. Jane Goodfellow - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Tuffnut and Ruffnut - How To Train Your Dragon 2
- Molly the Mole-Cricket and Polly the Mole-Cricket - Maya the Bee
Counterparts (Male Version)
- Donald and Douglas - Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends/The Railway Series
- Frank and Eddie - TUGS/Salty's Lighthouse
- Phillip and Fillmore - Theodore Tugboat
- Tex and Rex - Shining Time Station
- Larry and Steve - Rugrats
- Lenny and Carl - The Simpsons
- Vern and Johnny - Family Guy