The first series of Thomas & Friends started airing on 9th October 1984 in the UK. Ringo Starr narrated all twenty-six episodes in the UK, later re-narrating twenty-five in the US for Shining Time Station. George Carlin re-narrated the entire series for the US in 1991.


Production

Every episode in Series 1 was based on a story by the Rev. W. Awdry, with the exception of an episode written by the staff, Thomas' Christmas Party, the book based on said episode being commissioned by the staff so as to have every episode in print form first. 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 #
DowntheMine65.png Down the Mine (Unaired Pilot) Unaired (Test Screened Mid-1983) #00
The original 1983 pilot episode of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The pilot was based on the Railway Series story Down the Mine and differed from the final aired version. The pilot was never broadcast, but instead was re-filmed after the series was greenlit 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.)

(Note: ** means that an episode was narrated by George Carlin in the US but was never re-aired on Shining Time Station and was only released on VHS or DVD.)

(Note: *** means that an episode was reused for Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales).

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Original UK release date Episode number #
ThomasandGordon14.png Thomas 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.
EdwardandGordon41.png Edward and Gordon
Edward Helps Out
**
9 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.
TheSadStoryOfHenry44.png The Sad Story of Henry
Come Out, Henry!
***
16 October 1984 #03
Henry believes the rain will spoil his paintwork and he runs into a tunnel, in which he is eventually bricked up.
EdwardGordonAndHenry48.png Edward, Gordon and Henry
Henry to the Rescue
16 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'Train26.png Thomas' Train
A Big Day for Thomas
23 October 1984 #05
Thomas wishes he could pull a train. When Henry is ill, his chance comes with disastrous results.
ThomasandtheTrucks47.png Thomas and the Trucks
Trouble for Thomas
***
23 October 1984 #06
Thomas and Edward agree to swap jobs. However, Edward's train consists of trucks, which love to play tricks.
ThomasandtheBreakdownTrain32.png Thomas and the Breakdown Train
Thomas Saves the Day
***
30 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.
JamesandtheCoaches36.png James and the Coaches
James Learns a Lesson
30 October 1984 #08
James wets the Fat Controller's new top hat with steam and then bumps his coaches so hard that one of their brakes fail.
TroublesomeTrucks(episode)22.png Troublesome Trucks
Foolish Freight Cars
6 November 1984 #09
James has been confined to the shed but is released to pull trucks. The trucks misbehave, but James does not give up.
JamesandtheExpress42.png James and the Express
A Proud Day for James
**
6 November 1984 #10
When Gordon is switched the wrong way and gets lost, James is given the Express.
ThomasandtheGuard37.png Thomas and the Guard
Thomas and the Conductor
13 November 1984 #11
Thomas' impatience leads to him forgetting his guard.
ThomasGoesFishing41.png Thomas Goes Fishing 13 November 1984 #12
Thomas wants to go fishing but learns the hard way when he takes on river water.
Thomas,TerenceandtheSnow3.png Thomas, Terence and the Snow
Terence the Tractor
**
20 November 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.
ThomasandBertie45.png Thomas and Bertie
Thomas and Bertie's Great Race
20 November 1984 #14
Thomas meets Bertie the Bus who challenges him to a race.
TendersandTurntables23.png Tenders and Turntables 27 November 1984 #15
Ever since Thomas got his own Branch-line, the big engines have to shunt their own coaches and they don't like it, then Gordon and James get into trouble on the turntable.
TroubleintheShed8.png Trouble in the Shed 27 November 1984 #16
The big engines go on strike so the Fat Controller buys a new engine called Percy to help.
PercyRunsAway51.png Percy Runs Away 4 December 1984 #17
Percy forgets Edward's warning about going on the main line and is so startled by Gordon that he runs away.
Coal21.png Coal
Henry's Special Coal
4 December 1984 #18
Henry is not feeling well. The Fat Controller comes to a conclusion that Henry needs Welsh coal to perform well.
TheFlyingKipper14.png The Flying Kipper 11 December 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.
WhistlesandSneezes10.png Whistles and Sneezes * *** 11 December 1984 #20
Gordon's whistle jams and he cannot stop whistling while Henry sneezes at some troublemaking boys.
TobyandtheStoutGentleman21.png Toby and the Stout Gentleman
Toby the Tram Engine
18 December 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.
ThomasinTrouble19.png Thomas in Trouble
Thomas Breaks the Rules
18 December 1984 #22
Thomas gets in trouble with a policeman. When the Fat Controller hears about it, he buys Toby and Henrietta.
DirtyObjects39.png Dirty Objects
James in a Mess
25 December 1984 #23
Toby and Henrietta often get teased by James about their old-fashioned appearance. However, James crashes into some tar tanker wagons.
OfftheRails26.png Off the Rails
Gordon Takes a Dip
8 January 1985 #24
Gordon decides to jam the turntable to prove a point, but his attempt makes him slide into a ditch.
DowntheMine37.png Down the Mine 8 January 1985 #25
Thomas goes to a lead mine to collect some trucks but foolishly passes a danger board and falls down a mine.
Thomas'ChristmasParty41.png Thomas' Christmas Party ** 25 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 seven months to film, starting from September 1983 and being finished in March 1984.
  • 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 in their bodies. From the second to eleventh series, the trucks have moulded faces, although some first series style trucks appeared in some of these episodes.
    • The only series to date dubbed in Slovak and Icelandic.
    • The only series in the Finnish dub that Thomas was known in all the episodes as Thomas the Tank Engine.
    • The only series filmed at Clapham Junction, and Clearwater Studios in Battersea, as the next being Shepperton Studios.
    • The only series to be released on Betamax. Two tapes were released and consist of all the episodes. The first includes the first half and the second includes the second half. Kaledioscope re-released the VHS releases on 28th April 1986 and VCI also re-released them on 16th May 1988 with simular tactics from the latter two releases as the Nameboards were used in the opening titles, this also happened for the 1990 Bumper Special as did for the Betamax releases. From 22nd November 1993 the VHS releases were given new covers and renamed from their original versions as well as the next series.
  • 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 broadcast again between 18th November - 24th December 1985 as separate episodes. Repeats of ten-minute blocks include the following:
    • Wednesdays from 8th July - 9th September 1987, ending with The Flying Kipper and Whistles and Sneezes. Thomas' Christmas Party was shown individually on 30th December.
    • Mondays and Thursdays from 5th - 22nd December 1988, then Mondays only from 12th January - 20th February 1989 with a repeat showing of Thomas' Train/Thomas and the Trucks on 27th February which was shortly followed by the second series from 6th March-22nd May 1989 before TUGS was shown on CiTV.
    • Four double bills were repeated on Mondays from 30th July - 20th August 1990.
  • The UK version's iTunes release uses the restored version of the series.
  • The final sets made for the filming of this series were the ones involving Toby's Old Tramway, which explains why the majority of promotional images from the first series take place here.
  • Some sound effects were specially recorded for the first series at the Talyllyn Railway.[1]

References



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