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The first series of Thomas & Friends started airing on 9 October 1984 in the UK. Ringo Starr narrated all twenty-six episodes in the UK and twenty-five in the US, with George Carlin later re-narrating the entire series for the US on Shining Time Station.

Production

Every episode in Series 1 was based on a story by the Rev. W. Awdry, including a one-off commissioned by the staff, Thomas' Christmas Party. The stories were adapted for television by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton. The seven engines introduced in this series became the core of the cast in later series. The Pilot for the series was an adaptation of Down the Mine, which was remade entirely when the rest of the episodes were shot.

The Pilot

Screenshot Title Original UK release date Episode number #
DowntheMine65Down the Mine (Unaired Pilot)Unaired (Test Screened Mid-1983)#00
The original 1983 pilot episode of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The pilot was based on the Railway Series story Down the Mine and differed from the final aired version. The pilot was never broadcasted, instead it was re-filmed after the series was green-lighted by ITV. Only one scene from the pilot can be seen from the final version of episode.

Episodes

(Note: * means that an episode was not narrated by Ringo Starr in the US and was only narrated by George Carlin in the US.)

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Original UK release date Episode number #
ThomasandGordon14Thomas and Gordon
Thomas Gets Tricked
9 October 1984#01
Thomas enjoys teasing Gordon. But when his teasing goes too far, Gordon decides to teach him a lesson.
EdwardandGordon41Edward and Gordon
Edward Helps Out
10 October 1984#02
Edward's crew feel sorry for him and take him out one day. Then he helps Gordon when he gets stuck on a hill.
TheSadStoryOfHenry52The Sad Story of Henry
Come Out, Henry!
11 October 1984#03
Henry believes the rain will spoil his paintwork and he runs into a tunnel, in which he is eventually bricked up.
EdwardGordonAndHenry46Edward, Gordon and Henry
Henry to the Rescue
12 October 1984#04
Gordon goes too fast and bursts a safety valve right in front of the tunnel. Henry is let out to help Edward pull the train.
Thomas'Train26Thomas' Train
A Big Day for Thomas
15 October 1984#05
Thomas wishes he could pull a train. When Henry is ill, his chance comes with disastrous results.
ThomasandtheTrucks48Thomas and the Trucks
Trouble for Thomas
16 October 1984#06
Thomas and Edward agree to swap jobs. However, Edward's train consists of trucks, which love to play tricks.
ThomasandtheBreakdownTrain32Thomas and the Breakdown Train
Thomas Saves the Day
17 October 1984#07
When James comes off the rails, Thomas quickly comes to the rescue with the Breakdown Train. He is given a branch line and two coaches as a reward.
JamesandtheCoaches36James and the Coaches
James Learns a Lesson
18 October 1984#08
James wets the Fat Controllers new top hat with steam and then bumps his coaches so hard that one of their brakes fail.
TroublesomeTrucks(episode)13Troublesome Trucks
Foolish Freight Cars
19 October 1984#09
James has been confined to the shed but is released to pull trucks. The trucks misbehave, but James does not give up.
JamesandtheExpress42James and the Express
A Proud Day for James
22 October 1984#10
When Gordon is switched the wrong way and gets lost, James is given the Express.
ThomasandtheGuard37Thomas and the Guard
Thomas and the Conductor
23 October 1984#11
Thomas' impatience leads to him forgetting his guard.
ThomasGoesFishing42Thomas Goes Fishing24 October 1984#12
Thomas wants to go fishing but learns the hard way when he takes on river water.
Thomas,TerenceandtheSnow49Thomas, Terence and the Snow
Terence the Tractor
25 October 1984#13
Thomas meets Terence the Tractor and says his wheels are ugly. However, Thomas is shown just how useful they are when he crashes into a snowdrift.
ThomasandBertie47Thomas and Bertie
Thomas and Bertie's Great Race
26 October 1984#14
Thomas meets Bertie the Bus who challenges him to a race.
TendersandTurntables23Tenders and Turntables29 October 1984#15
Gordon and James have trouble on the turntable.
TroubleintheShed8Trouble in the Shed30 October 1984#16
The big engines go on strike so the Fat Controller buys a new engine called Percy to help.
PercyRunsAway50Percy Runs Away31 October 1984#17
Percy forgets Edward's warning about going on the main line and is so startled by Gordon that he runs away.
Coal21Coal
Henry's Special Coal
1 November 1984#18
Henry is not feeling well. The Fat Controller comes to a conclusion that Henry needs Welsh coal to preform well.
TheFlyingKipper38The Flying Kipper2 November 1984#19
Henry is chosen to pull the "Flying Kipper". However, ice jams the points and snow forces down a signal, leading Henry to crash.
WhistlesandSneezes10Whistles and Sneezes*5 November 1984#20
Gordon's whistle jams and he cannot stop whistling while Henry sneezes at some troublemaking boys.
TobyandtheStoutGentleman21Toby and the Stout Gentleman
Toby the Tram Engine
6 November 1984#21
Toby the Tram Engine and his coach, Henrietta, meet the Fat Controller and his family on their holiday, but Toby's line slowly closes down.
ThomasinTrouble19Thomas in Trouble
Thomas Breaks the Rules
7 November 1984#22
Thomas gets in trouble with a policeman. When the Fat Controller hears about it, he buys Toby and Henrietta.
DirtyObjects39Dirty Objects
James in a Mess
8 November 1984#23
Toby and Henrietta often get teased by James about their old-fashioned appearance. However, James crashes into some tar tanker wagons.
OfftheRails25Off the Rails
Gordon Takes a Dip
9 November 1984#24
Gordon decides to jam the turntable to prove a point, but his attempt makes him slide into a ditch.
DowntheMine37Down the Mine12 November 1984#25
Thomas goes to a lead mine to collect some trucks but foolishly passes a danger board and falls down a mine.
Thomas'ChristmasParty41Thomas' Christmas Party25 December 1984#26
Thomas wants to hold a special Christmas party for Mrs. Kyndley. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kyndley's house is snowed in.

Characters

Characters Introduced

Trivia

  • When the series was first broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom, two episodes would be compiled into one ten minute block with a name board sequence featured in between. For subsequent broadcasts, the stories were shown individually.
  • This series took roughly nine months to film, starting from January 1984 despite being made between 1982 and 1983.
  • According to Ringo Starr, his narration for this series took eight days to record, including retakes for four episodes due to the tone of his voice.
  • The Norwegian, Finnish, Slovenian and early Swedish narrations credit Ringo Starr as the narrator, even though they were re-dubbed in their respective languages.
  • Most of the series' scripts were partially edited for the US versions.
  • In the Ukrainian version, Ringo Starr's voice can be heard in the background.
  • This was the only series for several things:
    • The only series to have its UK recordings released in the US.
    • The only series where lead was used to create the human characters. From the second to eleventh series, all human characters were made from resin, so they could move around more easily.
    • The only series where the trucks have their faces embedded into their bodies. From the second to eleventh series, the trucks have molded faces, although some first series style trucks appeared in some of these episodes.
    • The only model series not filmed at Shepperton Studios. Instead, it was filmed at Clapham Junction in Battersea.
    • The only series to date dubbed in Slovak.
    • The only series in the Finnish dub that Thomas was known as Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • The first seven episodes of this series were all later remade in 2015 for the 45-minute special The Adventure Begins.
  • When first broadcast on ITV, Dirty Objects was paired with Thomas' Christmas Party and Off the Rails with Down the Mine. On VHS however, Dirty Objects was paired with Off the Rails and Down the Mine with Thomas' Christmas Party.
  • On CITV, this series was broadcasted again between 18 November-24 December 1985 as separate episodes. It later re-aired on Wednesdays from 8 July-16 September 1987 and then re-aired again slightly out of order on Mondays from 12-December 1988-27 February 1989 whereas the second season was aired starting on 6 March 1989 at the time TUGS was first broadcast on Tuesdays. 
  • The UK's iTunes release uses the restored version of the series.

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