1. ITV Report

The Devon family with a YouTube following greater than the population of Wales

The Phillips family, from Devon, run a hugely successful YouTube channel. Credit: ITV News West Country

A family from Devon have amassed an online following greater than the population of Wales - by posting videos of toy trains on YouTube.

The Phillips family started a YouTube channel 12 years ago to showcase toys they planned to sell on eBay.

But their videos quickly took on a life of their own, amassing millions of views and a loyal following of subscribers.

Dad Ian later quit his job working in a bank to become a full-time YouTuber, and both his wife and two sons now also work for the channel.

Dad Ian quit his job in a bank to work on the channel full-time. Credit: ITV News West Country

People were actually looking at the YouTube site to watch these videos rather than through eBay and our following grew, our subscribers grew.

Rather than just filming trains going around the track, we started putting stories to them.

– Ian Phillips

Since launching their channel, the family have amassed more than 4.5 billion views and an army of more than 3.3 million subscribers - which is more than the population of Wales.

billion views across all of their YouTube videos
million subscribers

Their online success has also allowed the family to launch their own brand of toys, known as the Funlings.

The Funlings, which feature in the videos, are little green people that the family made using a 3D printer.

One of the Funlings. Credit: ITV News West Country

Five rooms of their family home are now taken up with miniature film sets, and mum Alison said she still can’t quite believe how big the Funlings have become.

We just can’t believe people know who we are - people that we’ve never met before in places we’ve never been to, and they know who we are.

It’s quite amazing.

– Alison Phillips