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David Nelson Godfrey Mitton (27th February 1939 - 16th May 2008) was a Scottish-born British director, producer, writer, model maker and special effects technician. He was the writer, producer and director of Thomas & Friends in its first to seventh series and the co-creator of Tugs.

Career

After leaving the Royal Air Force in the early 1960's, Mitton began his career as a special effects technician on Gerry Anderson productions. These were Thunderbirds, Thunderbirds Are Go, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Thunderbird 6, Joe 90, Doppelgänger, The Secret Service and UFO before founding Clearwater Features with Ken Turner in 1979. Turner would leave later that year and the American-born producer Robert D. Cardona would take his place.

Mitton worked on various TV advertisements through his company before he was approached by Britt Allcroft to direct a series known as Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The television series was based on The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry. Aside from his job as director, Allcroft and him adapted twenty five stories from the books and wrote the first series finale Thomas' Christmas Party. Robert D. Cardona also worked on the series as producer alongside Allcroft and Mitton.

After production finished on the second series in 1986, Mitton wrote seven episodes of his and Cardona's live-action model series TUGS in 1988 and directed nine of them. TUGS had 96 scripts written but only 13 were finished and made into episodes before Clearwater Features went bankrupt in 1990. After TUGS, Mitton joined Gullane Entertainment (at the time known as The Britt Allcroft Company) to return to direct a third series for Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Cardona left the United Kingdom and moved to Canada. Mitton reprised his role as director and producer of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Him and Allcroft also wrote two episodes made for the third series and one episode for the fourth series.

After the death of the Rev. W. Awdry in 1997, Mitton and Allcroft decided to create stories of their own to showcase the crews modeling skills. The other reason Britt and David wrote their own stories was because of the desire to create a theatrical film based on Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The two worked with railway consultant David Maidment who provided real events for Britt and David to write stories about.

In 1999, David Mitton started work on Thomas and the Magic Railroad. He was the model unit creative consultant. Mitton had no involvement in the live action human segments and only worked on the Gauge 1 model scenes filmed in Toronto. Britt Allcroft and David Mitton got on bad terms during production of the film. Because of this, Mitton was denied to use his TUGS models in a scene that would be used as a tie-in between brands. The models, which had already been shipped to Toronto, had to be shipped back to the storage facility in Shepperton Studios. The models were either damaged or destroyed when they arrived back because of poor handling by airport workers. The film gained poor critical reception and did badly in the box office. Allcroft was reduced to executive producer for the sixth series and creative consultant for seventh series before moving to the United States in 2004.

Mitton returned to directed the sixth and seventh series. He provided stories for both series in which writers would adapt into episodes. His last episode as writer was Toby's Windmill, which he wrote with Jan Page. Phil Fehrle also replaced Mitton and Allcroft as producer for the sixth and seventh series, but Mitton continued as director until Three Cheers for Thomas. Mitton worked as model consultant for the two sixth series episodes Jack Jumps In and A Friend in Need which were the only episodes in the first seven series that weren't directed by him, but instead directed by Stephen Asquith. He worked on a spin-off series called Jack and the Sodor Construction Company, also as model consultant. Mitton left the series in 2004. Asquith took his role as director of the show.

Mitton left the series because he was constantly frustrated with HiT Entertainment and the lack of creative freedom he had on the sixth and seventh series.

In 2006, he created a company called Pineapple Squared Entertainment with Gerry Anderson alumni David Lane who Mitton had worked with when he started his career.

Mitton and Lane worked on various projects with their company. Only one project has obtained information. Adventures on Orsum Island was going to be a 26-part television series that was made using CGI. Mitton was a concept director on the show. Only a few episodes of the show were completed.

Mitton suffered a heart attack and died on 16th May 2008, at the age of 69. His death was announced on 28th May 2008. Britt Allcroft wrote a tribute to David Mitton on her website.

Episodes Written

Series 1

Series 3

Both episodes were co-written with Britt Allcroft.

Series 4

Series 5

All episodes are co-written with Britt Allcroft and nine episodes were co-written with Allcroft and David Maidment.

Series 6

Series 7

Director

Series

Producer

Series

Model Consultant

Series

Awards and nominations

  • Nominated - British Academy of Film and Television Arts - Best Animated Film for "Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends", 1985, shared with Britt Allcroft and Robert D. Cardona; 1987 shared with Robert D. Cardona

Trivia

Gallery

External links

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