Who is Bruno in Thomas & Friends?
Let’s talk about Bruno! Thomas & Friends characters just got an exciting new addition – Brake Car Bruno - the first autistic Thomas & Friends character in the TV series. Voiced by nine-year-old British autistic actor Elliott Garcia, the new episodes will broadcast from late September 2022 in the UK. Here's everything you need to know.
Who is Bruno the Brake Car?
The perfect fit to the popular TV show, Bruno is a joyful, pun-making brake car. He is great at his job and keeps big, heavy cargo steady with his strong brakes—a vital role in Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go.
Mattel, the company who owns the franchise said that it had “carefully curated Bruno’s character to ensure an accurate fictional representation of autism”. This includes working with key autism organisations, such as Autistic Self Advocacy Network and National Autistic Society UK (NAS UK), whom helped to cast Elliot as Bruno in the popular children’s TV show.
The new Thomas Brake Car Bruno is said to have a love of routine, timetables and schedules. He also communicates to other characters when he feels anxious or overwhelmed by “flapping his ladders” and occasionally wears ear defenders to minimise loud noises – all reflecting familiar autistic children behaviour.
Why train toys for autistic children can help
According to the National Autistic Society (NAS), autistic child behaviour may feature “intense and highly-focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. It can be art, music, gardening, animals, postcodes or numbers. For many younger children it's Thomas the Tank Engine, dinosaurs or particular cartoon characters. ”
The organisation also explains how these ‘special interests’ can be used to help support youngsters too, such as encouraging them to eat more volume or variety by “eating from a Thomas the Tank Engine plate, cutting food into rocket shapes, or exploring foods from the country or region of their favourite singer or sports team.”
Where can I see Bruno the Brake Car?
As well as feature in the new Thomas & Friends series, Bruno will appear in a YouTube series, Thomas & Friends podcast and music album, as well as merchandise.
The inclusion of Bruno has been positively received by the autism community, made up of over 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.
Tom Purser, Head of Guidance, Volunteering and Campaigns at NAS, said: “It is important that everyone sees autistic characters on our screens because there are 160,000 school-age autistic children in the UK and they want to see their stories told…. it is also important that non-autistic children get insight and understanding into what it can be like to be autistic.”
Toddler mealtimes with Munchy Play
Munchy Play is proud to be an official licence partner of Thomas & Friends, our toddler-friendly range includes a blue Thomas Train Plate, a red James plate and green Percy plate, along with the new Hot Wheels collection.