Thomas & Friends (Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends until 2002) is a British children's television series, first broadcast on the ITV network on 4 September 1984. It is based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son Christopher Awdry. These books deal with the adventures of a group of anthropomorphised trains and road vehicles who live on the fictional Island of Sodor. The books were based on stories Awdry told to entertain his son Christopher during his recovery from measles. Many of the stories are based on events from Awdry's personal experience.