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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New 'Tale of the Brave' engine to be named Timothy

A new character, due to appear in the 2014 Tale of the Brave movie, has been named.

Serving alongside the mystery Colombian Steam Locomotive is Timothy, a dark blue engine, who has appeared on a book cover aiding the film.
Timothy was revealed as the first Tale of the Brave character to be immortalised for the Take-n-Play range by Mattel.

A steam shovel resembling Ned, who is also depicted on the aforementioned book cover, is speculated to be another newcomer.

The film's synopsis states that the story will explore the theme of bravery, where Thomas and Percy are convinced that there is a monster on the island.

When an unusual engine, with sloping boilers, first appears, Percy believes he must be the monster but the new engine proves to be a good friend and ally. He even helps Percy discover what it really means to be brave.

Tale of the Brave: The Movie is coming soon to DVD in 2014.


Thanks to The Midland Austerity for the alert.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Hoyts to screen 'Spills & Thrills' in Australia in January

Hoyts are to show the Spills & Thrills home video release in their cinemas for Australia in January.

The theatrical chain will screen the Season 17 feature across many cities Down Under in the new year, marking the first episodic foray in cinemas since the The Lion of Sodor feature in the US in 2010.

The Smelly Kipper, The Afternoon Tea Express, Away from the Sea, No More Mr Nice Engine and the presumed Gone Fishing star in the release.
The UK and US DVDs are scheduled for availability in March, making Australia the first to receive the episodes after their premiere on ABC2 television. The summary reads; All aboard for Spills and Thrills with Thomas and his friends!

The Island of Sodor is always bustling with activity, yet when the engines try to be Really Useful they often find themselves in some messy muddles!

James tries to prove he's not afraid of the dark, or too vain to haul smelly fish, but when he pulls the night time Kipper Express, he gets more than he bargained for!
Stephen's need for speed, and Salty's need to impress, sends them both into some sticky, slippery situations.

Hiro shows Diesel that nice engines do finish first and The Fat Controller shows you can't cry over spilt milk... twice! It's full steam ahead for Spills and Thrills on Sodor!


Spills & Thrills rolls into Hoyts cinemas in Australia for a limited time from January 9th 2014.

Thanks to Thomas Stansfield for the alert.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Gwyneth Paltrow originally 'Great Discovery' narrator

It has been revealed that an A-list movie star was to become the narrator of Thomas & Friends in 2007.

In a post by The SiF Blog, Gwyneth Paltrow was in negotiations with Hit Entertainment to take on the role of the storyteller for The Great Discovery feature-length special.
Although not taken to fruition, Paltrow's signing is said to have mirrored Pierce Brosnan's initial agreement of three series and three specials.

Married to Coldplay's Chris Martin, the actress would have become the brand's first female storyteller in English speaking territories as part of a major shakeup for the series.

Paltrow gained global recognition in Shakespeare in Love before starring in major films such as Shallow Hal and more recently as Robert Downey Jr.'s love interest Pepper Potts in the Iron Man trilogy and The Avengers.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Random House Audio takeover Railway Stories audios

BBC Worldwide have announced that the future of its audios have been secured under a new deal.

Following the administration of The Railway Stories audiobook makers AudioGO in October, Random House Audio will continue the reigns to produce new releases.
Their subsidiary for books, Random House, are notable for the creation of many Thomas & Friends titles in the US.

Director of Digital Marketing and Product Development at Random House, Hannah Telfer commented on the partnership.

At Random House, we have long admired the BBC’s audio programme sharing their passion for publishing the highest quality content.

We’re very pleased to be working together to grow the BBC list and are committed to reaching the largest possible audience for their titles.

While a seventh volume of The Railway Stories has long been mooted, the deal will enable future releases of the Rev. W. Awdry audio series to be made.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

'Tale of the Brave' book covers reveal more characters

Another two book covers concerning the Tale of the Brave special have been published by Random House.

The Little and Big Golden Book versions of the story show Thomas and Percy against quarry backdrops on both covers, with James on the latter.
The Big Golden Book however presents another fleeting appearance from the unknown Colombian Steam Locomotive on a bridge, while a small dark blue engine follows from behind, both hauling trucks.

Another unknown character, a steam shovel, is seen on top of a mountain, bearing a resemblance to Jack and the Pack's Ned.

Three more titles adapting the special are also due, with all formally divulged in late October.

The five Tale of the Brave books from Random House and Golden Books hit US book shelves on July 22nd 2014.

PRE-ORDER THE 'TALE OF THE BRAVE' BOOKS ON AMAZON.COM
THE FEARSOME FOOTPRINTS/THOMAS THE BRAVE
TALE OF THE BRAVE

Thanks to TheDirtyTrain1 for the alert.

Final Season 17 episodes confirmed for Australian TV

ABC2 in Australia are to air the final two episodes of Season 17 for this Christmas.

The festive episodes The Missing Christmas Decorations and Santa's Little Engine were held back after the Down Under run ended on November 1st.
The two are to now be broadcast on the same day before Christmas Day. The Missing Christmas Decorations' synopsis reads; No one knows who is taking the Steamies' Christmas decorations from Tidmouth Sheds.

Until Percy discovers Diesel 10 stealing them and chases him back to the Dieselworks, where he also discovers poor forgotten Sidney.

Santa's Little Engine's reads; Thomas is sent to bring a real sleigh for the Fat Controller to ride in when he plays Santa at the Ulfstead Castle Christmas Fair.

When the sleigh slips down the hill with the Fat Controller in it, Thomas has to rescue him!

The final two episodes of Season 17 debut in Australia on ABC2 on Christmas Eve at 3pm and 3:10pm respectively.

Thanks to Thomas Stansfield for the alert.

New Fisher Price Wooden Railway unveiled for 2014

New stock for the Thomas Wooden Railway range have been unveiled by The Train Cellar.

Expected from the later part of the new year, established characters Duck, Whiff and Lady rejoin the range under new designs alongside new character, Porter.
Adapting scenes from the 17th Series include Salty's Celebration, Bill or Ben?, Hiro's Sticky Spill and James' Fishy Delivery.

Specialist sets involving Merrick, The Ironworks and Brendam are also due while a railway transforming track and an over and under bridge serve as add-ons.


The Thomas & Friends 2014 Wooden Railway series from Fisher Price hits toy shelves worldwide in 2014.


Thanks to Bass Tbone for the alert.

'Spills and Thrills' Season 17 US DVD cover revealed

The cover art for the 2014 Spills & Thrills DVD in the US has been revealed by amazon.

Debuting 6 new never-before seen adventures!, the Season 17 release is to also be available in Britain.
The front cover depicts Cranky, a fish covered James and Thomas at The Docks, appearing to reference a scene from The Smelly Kipper.

The tie-in book duo, Spills & Thrills/No More Mr. Nice Engine!, also carries the same image for one of its covers.

Last week, four more episodes from the 2013 series were confirmed to star in the UK's DVD release alongside the proposed Gone Fishing.

Spills & Thrills from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves on March 4th 2014.


Thanks to PercyTheAmazing for the alert.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Second Series 17 music video 'On a Journey Today' airs

A new song for the TV series has made its premiere in an American broadcast on PBS today.

On a Journey Today, was unveiled as the second song accompanying the 17th Series, taking on the pop genre.
It aired in the Tinsel & Trains broadcast alongside The Missing Christmas Decorations and Santa's Little Engine.

The song was performed once again by Hey Hey Thomas vocalist Mike Ferfolia and the former's composer, Eggplant LF.

Its music video included scenes from the season's episodes The Smelly Kipper, Scruff's Makeover, Thomas' Shortcut, Not Now, Charlie and more.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Spills & Thrills Season 17 UK DVD episodes revealed

amazon.co.uk have revealed the episodes due to star in an upcoming DVD for the UK in 2014.

Spills & Thrills is to be the second release for the country to hold Season 17 episodes after the January title, The Thomas Way.

From its description, the so far unbroadcasted The Smelly Kipper, The Afternoon Tea Express, Away from the Sea and No More Mr Nice Engine will appear on Spills & Thrills alongside the proposed Gone Fishing.
The description reads; All aboard for Spills & Thrills with Thomas and his friends!

The Island of Sodor is always bustling with activity, yet when the engines try to be Really Useful they often find themselves in some messy muddles!

James tries to prove he's not afraid of the dark, or too vain to haul smelly fish, but when he pulls the night time Kipper Express he gets more than he bargained for!
Stephen's need for speed, and Salty's need to impress, sends them both into some sticky, slippery situations!

Hiro shows Diesel that nice engines do finish first and The Fat Controller shows you can't cry over spilt milk...twice! It's full steam ahead for Spills & Thrills on Sodor!

The US version, due for release in the same month of March, is to precede the UK's by four weeks.

Spills & Thrills from Hit Entertainment hits UK DVD shelves on March 31st 2014.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Season 17 UK festive episodes confirmed for Channel 5

It has been confirmed that Season 17 will return to the UK for a fourth outing on television.

Channel 5 milkshake! is to air the season's festive themed stories during the Christmas season.

No Snow for Thomas, Santa's Little Engine, The Missing Christmas Decorations and Frozen Turntable are all due for broadcast on the week of Christmas Day, with episodes from previous seasons preceding and following.

It now leaves No More Mr Nice Engine, Away from the Sea, Thomas' Shortcut, The Smelly Kipper, Gone Fishing and The Afternoon Tea Express in the wilderness, which are poised for broadcast sometime in early 2014.
Channel 5 milkshake's Thomas & Friends Christmas;
Surprise, Surprise
Monday December 16th at 7:35am.
Percy the Snowman
Tuesday December 17th at 7:35am.
Tree Trouble
Wednesday December 18th at 7:35am.
Henry's Magic Box
Thursday December 19th at 7:35am.
Snow Tracks
Friday December 20th at 7:35am.
No Snow for Thomas
Monday December 23rd at 7:35am.
Santa's Little Engine
Christmas Eve at 7:35am.
The Missing Christmas Decorations
Christmas Day at 6:55am.
Frozen Turntable
Boxing Day at 7:35am.
The Christmas Tree Express
Friday December 27th at 7:35am.
King of the Railway: The Movie
New Years Day at 8:50am.

The lineup will culminate with the terrestrial debut of King of the Railway: The Movie which was revealed earlier today by digiguide, although the listing has since been removed.

Season 17 of Thomas & Friends returns for four days on Channel 5 milkshake! in the UK on December 23rd, with the episode No Snow for Thomas.

'King of the Railway' UK TV debut for New Years Day

King of the Railway: The Movie is to mark its debut on British television in the new year.

The 2013 special is to air on the UK's Channel 5 milkshake! on the first day of 2014 as part of the broadcaster's Christmas lineup.
The special's airing will be preceded by festive episodes from the Animated Series with more to be announced.

milkshake! spoke to Roll Along Thomas in October over the non-consistent airing of the 17th Series and its remainder of episodes.

King of the Railway: The Movie marks its UK TV debut on Channel 5 milkshake! on New Years Day at 8:50am.

Thanks to Daniel Coffey for the alert.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Rev. W. Awdry daughter Hilary Fortnam passes away

The Rev. W. Awdry's daughter Hilary Fortnam has died at the age of 69.

One of the surviving children of The Railway Series author's family, Fortnam passed away at her home in Highworth, UK on Monday November 25th 2013 after battling cancer for a decade.

Fortnam became a driving force in keeping her father's legacy alive. She continued to support and promote her father's works, attending events associated with the books and the Thomas brand.
In 2011, Fortnam criticised the TV series over the removal of the term christmas, forcing Hit Entertainment to make edits through DVDs and recent televised episodes.

Her husband of 47 years, Alf, praised her for her care and determination; She was losing strength and energy. She was in pain. She died at home and all her children, her sister and brother were able to see her the weekend before.

She was a lovely mother and cared very much for her three children. She was very fortunate to have had two more grandchildren in the last two years. We have six now.

That was a source of great pride to her. She loved me for who I was. She was creative and inspiring in her own right.

In the mid 80s, Fortnam developed a fixation in Christian faiths and worked as a lay minister in her town's St. Michael and All Angels Church, where her funeral was held on December 2nd.

She is survived by her children Rachel, Simon and Sara, her husband Alf, her sister Veronica Chambers and her brother Christopher Awdry.

Friday, 29 November 2013

'King of the Railway' characters added to Engine Depot

The Thomas & Friends website has added several characters to its Engine Depot page.

Four characters introduced in the King of the Railway special are available in profile on the Sodor resident portal.
Connor and Caitlin are the newest additions alongside Ulfstead Castle's The Earl and his estate engine, Millie.

Despite the special's representation, Stephen appears absent whilst the new profiles remain hidden.

The first update for 2013 comes a year after the previous inclusions of Scruff, Stafford, Norman, Paxton and Sidney.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE 'KING OF THE RAILWAY' CHARACTERS ON THE THOMAS & FRIENDS WEBSITE

Original TV series models sheet memorabilia auctioned

A rare item of Thomas & Friends memorabilia was auctioned off on ebay today.

A contact sheet depicting film strips of various engines from the TV series was sold on the auctioneering website in the US for $24.99.
The collection of photos shows various measurement angles of engines introduced in the Fourth Series.

Some of the photos suggest utilisations for the 2004 to 2009 era of the official Thomas website's Engine Depot page.

The listing described it as a very rare and unique 22" x 16.5" (approx) contact sheet highlighting many of the models used in the hit TV show Thomas & Friends. Printed on Kodak paper.

Thanks to Daniel Coffey for the alert.

'The Thomas Way' UK DVD cover and content revealed

The cover for the UK version of The Thomas Way DVD has been published by play.com.

The 2014 disc, which carries the same cover art as its US counterpart, is to also feature the same Season 17 episodes as its original release.

The Thomas Way, The Switch, Percy's Lucky Day, Calm Down, Caitlin! and The Lost Puff however, will also be joined by the addition of Luke's New Friend.
Really Useful Engines, Mr. Perkins' Postcard, The Earl's Quiz, Mr. Perkins' Story Time and Who's That Engine? meanwhile serve as the extras, formally seen on the US Santa's Little Engine DVD.

The description reads; Get ready for fun and frolics on Sodor as the engines find out that there is always something new to learn!

While Thomas and Duck learn how to steam ahead together with a special delivery, Luke and Millie find out what it's like to drive in each other's tracks - literally!

Percy steams straight into a lucky encounter with Bill and Ben, Caitlin gets a lesson in how things are done and Paxton works hard to recover Thomas' lost puff.

With so much activity on Sodor, it's important to remember that the only way is not always the Thomas way!

The Thomas Way from Hit Entertainment hits UK DVD shelves on January 27th 2014.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

'Tale of the Brave' new character promo shot emerges

A new promotional image concerning an upcoming character has emerged on the internet.

The so far nameless character, who is due to appear in next year's feature-length special Tale of the Brave, stars in the low quality shot which appears in the Pairs minigame on the Tracks4Thomas website.
The newcomer, based on a Colombian Steam Motor Locomotive, has been described as an unusual engine with sloping boilers.

Three of the 2014 film's book covers were published earlier this week with one of them depicting the aforementioned engine.

Tale of the Brave: The Movie is coming soon to DVD in 2014.

Thanks to Adam Abrahart for the alert.

Monday, 25 November 2013

'Tale of the Brave' double book release cover published

Another two book covers for the Tale of the Brave special have been published by Random House.

Five tie-in books were revealed for release in July coinciding with the 2014 film's release in the fall.
For the double release Thomas and the Fearsome Footprints/Thomas the Brave, Percy and Thomas are seen depicted in the rainy night for the Thomas the Brave art.

Fearsome Footprints' cover meanwhile, sees an astonished Thomas on an industrial estate discovering a reptile's footprints on the ground.

This week also saw an unknown engine, due to be introduced in the special, appear on the Brave Little Engines cover.

The five Tale of the Brave books from Random House and Golden Books hit US book shelves on July 22nd 2014.

PRE-ORDER THE 'TALE OF THE BRAVE' BOOKS ON AMAZON.COM

Sunday, 24 November 2013

'Tale of the Brave' book reveals new character form

A new book tie-ing in with the upcoming 2014 Thomas & Friends special has revealed a new character.

The eighth feature-length special, Tale of the Brave, was ordered by Hit Entertainment in October alongside the commission of an 18th series, both due for the fall of 2014.
Five tie-in books were subsequently unveiled for release in July. Random House have since published the cover art for the Brave Little Engines colouring title.

It shows Thomas travelling under a quarry bridge, while a green engine based on a Colombian Steam Motor Locomotive passes by on the bridge.

Tale of the Brave: The Movie is coming soon to DVD in 2014 while the five Tale of the Brave books from Random House and Golden Books hit US book shelves on July 22nd 2014.

PRE-ORDER THE 'TALE OF THE BRAVE' BOOKS ON AMAZON.COM

Friday, 15 November 2013

'Spills & Thrills' US DVD date revealed for March 2014

The first DVD release for the US in 2014 has had its date confirmed by Walmart.

Spills & Thrills is to be the fourth American release to store Season 17 episodes after Railway Mischief, Santa's Little Engine and The Thomas Way.
Teased over several months, the disc will arrive in the country in early March, with more episodes and extras to be announced.

It was revealed earlier this week that Gone Fishing would join The Afternoon Tea Express for the release.

Spills & Thrills from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves on March 4th 2014.


Thanks to SteamTeam for the alert.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

'Gone Fishing' for 'Spills & Thrills' DVD and Take-n-Play

Season 17 episode Gone Fishing has been revealed to feature in an upcoming US DVD.

The story, which has aired in the US and Australia, brought back Harvey the Crane Engine in his first major role since his introduction in 2002's Harvey to the Rescue.

Inspired by the character's comeback role, Harvey's Heavy Hauler is to be released as a Take-n-Play pack. Its description reveals the 2013 episode's inclusion in the Spills & Thrills US DVD and its original title.
As seen in the "Harvey's Hook" episode on the Spills & Thrills DVD, Harvey is delivering a spinning lathe to the Dieselworks.

Along the way he drops the cargo and wood chips fly everywhere! Includes Harvey, two cargo cars, a spinning lathe tool and a wood chips accessory piece that clips onto Harvey's face.

Also due is Ben & the Cement Canyon which sees one of the China Clay twin engines re-introduced for the die-cast range.

This toy is based on the character from Thomas & Friends, and encourages the development of gross motor skills, as well as sensory and thinking skills. It also encourages imaginative play.

Spills & Thrills is coming soon to US DVD from Lionsgate Entertainment.

'The Thomas Way' and 'Spills and Thrills' for UK DVD

The first new DVDs for the United Kingdom in 2014 have been confirmed by amazon.co.uk.

The new year will see The Thomas Way and Spills & Thrills make their way onto UK release, sometime after hitting the US.
Way's disc is to run at 61 minutes while Spills will contain an extended runtime of 70 minutes.

Episodes from the 17th Series are to be revealed in due course alongside the usual helping of extras.

The Thomas Way and Spills & Thrills from Hit Entertainment hit UK DVD shelves on January 27th and March 31st 2014 respectively.

PRE-ORDER 'THE THOMAS WAY' AND 'THRILLS AND SPILLS' DVDS ON AMAZON.CO.UK

Thanks to SteamTeam for the alert.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Hamleys begins Tracks4Thomas Christmas campaign

Hamleys paved the way for a new Thomas & Friends campaign for charity in the UK today.

The toy retailer's London store in Regent Street opened its doors to the public who were greeted by The Fat Controller to share and present activities.

It began the first leg of a Christmas Journey tour which sees Thomas and Sir Topham delivering presents to children's hospitals in aid of charity, en route from Hamleys stores.
The idea stemmed from Thomas' origins as encompassed in The Railway Series, as the website's blurb states; Rev. W. Awdry created Thomas the Tank Engine as part of The Railway Series to cheer up his son when he was sick.

In the same spirit, Thomas & Friends are celebrating Christmas this year by undertaking an epic journey to help The Fat Controller deliver presents to children in hospitals across the UK and Ireland.

The Thomas & Friends UK facebook and Twitter pages are encouraging users to post and share all about the Tracks4Thomas campaign which will lead to virtual tracks being built in order for the journey to reach its next destinations.

Cardiff is scheduled for November 17th with Glasgow and Dublin following on the 24th and December 1st respectively.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Thomas named 34th greatest kids show by Channel 5

Thomas & Friends has been voted the 34th greatest kids TV show in a new UK TV poll.

The franchise, represented by remastered clips of Edward and Gordon and Thomas, Percy and the Dragon, took the spot in Channel 5's three hour 50 Greatest Kids Shows countdown, which aired on November 8th.

Blue Peter was eventually awarded the top spot. Veteran presenter of itv's Tiswas and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Chris Tarrant, questioned the signing of Ringo Starr as the first storyteller.
I wonder at what point you go, " I know who we'll get to be the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine, let's ring Ringo Starr! And also I wonder at what point he went, "That's a great idea, I'll do that".

Phillip Schofield of This Morning fame and former CBBC presenter meanwhile mocked The Fat Controller; I don't know, are you allowed to say The Fat Controller anymore? Probably not. I bet health and safety would stop that.

They'd be outraged at that, you probably can't say that. The Overweight Controller, The Controller with Food Issues.
However, some viewers were frustrated at the show's ranking. @HollowSte tweeted, Top 50 kids tv shows ever and Thomas the tank engine is only at 34? And bunker grove (Byker Grove) is higher? Absolute disgrace!

@JamieCharnley95 followed withOutraged that Thomas the tank engine is 34th, while @roaddoGCaliG was more supportive; Thomas the Tank Engine = Greatest Cartoon Ever!!

Sooty, another long-running children's TV stalwart, ended up 42nd with Basil Brush in 35th and Teletubbies at 23. Thomas was previously 26th in a similar poll run by Channel 4 in 2001 for their 100 Greatest Kids Shows programme.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

'Tale of the Brave: The Movie' logo unveiled in book

The official logo aiding the next Thomas & Friends special has been witnessed in a new book.

Tale of the Brave was announced by Hit Entertainment in October to premiere in 2014. Its logo has since been used on the cover for the Thomas and the Monster book.
Thomas and James are also depicted on the cover, appearing to run away from a mysterious engine.

The special's synopsis reads; When Thomas spots some giant footprints his friend Percy quickly becomes convinced that there is a monster on the island.

When an unusual engine, with sloping boilers, first appears, Percy believes he must be the monster but the new engine proves to be a good friend and ally. He even helps Percy discover what it really means to be brave.


Another four books, along with the aforementioned, are to be published in the US for July 2014.

Tale of the Brave: The Movie is coming soon to DVD in 2014.

Thanks to SteamTeam for the alert.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Railway Stories makers AudioGO enter administration

It has been reported that The Railway Stories audiobook producers AudioGO have gone into administration.

The makers of the Michael Angelis narrated audios of The Railway Series, suspended business actions after irregularities in finance emerged on October 22nd.
Following the departures of 57 employees including managing director Mike Bowen and financial director Bradley Whittock on the 28th of the same month, AudioGO filed for administration.

Member of administrator BDO, Mark Shaw, explained the problems that arose within the company; Significant accounting issues and the consequent working capital requirements at AudioGO led to it being insolvent.

Unfortunately, there was no other option at this stage but to place the remaining UK business into administration as no suitable buyer could be found.

The BBC owned producers of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who audiobooks, were in the early stages of planning a seventh volume of The Railway Stories for 2014.