The twelfth series of Thomas & Friends aired in September 2008. 

Production

Series 12 marked the beginning of the show's transition into CGI. HiT Entertainment was originally keen on producing more model/CGI series but the plans fell through because of low finances and budget cuts.

The characters' faces were animated through CGI with the aid of motion-capture animation. The physical models' moulded faces were replaced by white targets with triangles to fix a computer-animated face in post-production.

It was the first series to utilise CGI elements, with the vehicles' faces being animated in CGI and other characters being fully CGI animated. There are twenty episodes in this series and all were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and Michael Brandon in the US. Pierce Brosnan was originally meant to narrate this series in both English dubs, but ultimately Angelis and Brandon returned.

During production of this series, Toby received two new brass models to replace his original perspex model being twenty-four years old at this point.

Episodes

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Written by Original UK release date Episode number #
ThomasAndTheBillboard99.png Thomas and the Billboard Mark Robertson 1 September 2008 #01
Diesel obscures Thomas in a photograph of the engines.
SteadyEddie17.png Steady Eddie Sharon Miller 2 September 2008 #02
Edward takes the Great Waterton water wheel on the scenic route to show off to his friends.
Rosie'sFunfairSpecial87.png Rosie's Funfair Special
Rosie's Carnival Special
Andrew Viner 3 September 2008 #03
Rosie and Emily are pulling a train for a fair, but Rosie wants to pull it alone.
MountainMarvel74.png Mountain Marvel Sharon Miller 4 September 2008 #04
Peter Sam rushes to finish his jobs in order to hear a tale about Proteus from the famous storyteller, Miss Marvel.
HenryGetsItWrong13.png Henry Gets it Wrong Abi Grant 5 September 2008 #05
Henry worries that the workmen are going to cut down the wishing tree.
HeaveHoThomas!36.png Heave Ho Thomas! Sharon Miller 8 September 2008 #06
A large new engine called Hank arrives, but Thomas is determined not to need his help.
Toby'sSpecialSurprise69.png Toby's Special Surprise Sharon Miller 9 September 2008 #07
Toby wants to make an impression by searching Sodor for something special.
ExcellentEmily50.png Excellent Emily Paul Larson 10 September 2008 #08
Emily becomes conceited after receiving praise from Sir Topham Hatt.
ThePartySurprise69.png The Party Surprise Simon Spencer 11 September 2008 #09
Freddie decides to reorganise a winter party from Mr. Percival's house to the Wharf as a surprise for Colin the crane.
SavedYou!20.png Saved You! Paul Larson 12 September 2008 #10
Thomas wants to prove his heroism when he learns a fireman is to be honoured.
DuncanAndTheHotAirBalloon80.png Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon Mark Robertson 15 September 2008 #11
Mr. Percival's twins are getting a ride in the Hot Air Balloon for their birthday, but Duncan wants to take them himself.
JamesWorksItOut47.png James Works it Out Simon Spencer 16 September 2008 #12
When James ignores Hector's advice, he gets caught in bad winter weather.
TramTrouble55.png Tram Trouble Sharon Miller 17 September 2008 #13
Toby and Flora are heading a parade at Great Waterton; Thomas thinks Toby would rather lead the event on his own and tries to distract Flora.
Don'tGoBack11.png Don't Go Back Simon Spencer 18 September 2008 #14
Thomas and Diesel race backwards instead of doing their work, causing them to crash into the other diesels.
GordonTakesaShortcut12.png Gordon Takes a Shortcut Wayne Jackman 19 September 2008 #15
Gordon gets lost while taking a shortcut and refuses to ask for help.
TheManintheHills72.png The Man in the Hills Sharon Miller 22 September 2008 #16
Thomas and the narrow gauge engines collect presents for Mr. Percival's birthday.
ThomasPutsTheBrakesOn44.png Thomas Puts the Brakes On Mark Robertson 23 September 2008 #17
Thomas' brakes malfunction while delivering bricks to repair a bridge.
PercyandtheBandstand62.png Percy and the Bandstand Paul Larson 24 September 2008 #18
Percy is tasked with bringing Lady Hatt to a surprise party, but the unknowing Lady Hatt tells him to go elsewhere.
PushMe,PullYou69.png Push Me, Pull You Sharon Miller 25 September 2008 #19
Skarloey refuses Rheneas' help to pull a train for a puppet show and ends up playing the trucks' games.
BestFriends71.png Best Friends Anna Starkey 26 September 2008 #20
Thomas tries to avoid telling Percy he has been given a job Percy wants to do.

Songs

Screenshot Title Composers Original release date
ThomasEngineRollcallSeason12.png Engine Roll Call Ed Welch 1 September 2008 (UK)
They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight,
Shunting trucks and hauling freight...
PeterKayMedley2009.jpg The Official BBC Children in Need Medley Nigel Wright 21 November 2009 (UK)
Can you feel it, can you feel it, can you feel it!
If you look around...

Characters

Characters Introduced

Half Hour Format

When Series 12 aired on PBS Kids, Nick Jr. UK and Treehouse, each broadcast had two episodes from Series 12, a segment dedicated to one of Thomas' friends and past animated learning segments and songs from series 8, 9 and 10 were used.

Good Friends

Being Careful

Good Turns

  • Heave Ho Thomas!
  • Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - James
  • Song: Pride
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Henry
  • Learning Segment: Which Engine for Which Job?
  • Toby's Special Surprise

Right Track

  • Don't Go Back
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Gordon
  • Learning Segment: Over the Bridge
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Gordon
  • Learning Segment: Which Track for Henry?
  • Learning Segment: Emily Huffs out of the Station
  • Percy and the Bandstand

Courage

  • Thomas Puts the Brakes On
  • Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Emily
  • Song: Brave
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Neville and Dennis
  • Learning Segment: Getting There
  • Gordon Takes a Shortcut

Presents and Prizes

  • The Man in the Hills
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Edward
  • Learning Segment: What is Thomas Thinking of?
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Harold and Jeremy
  • Learning Segment: Which Load to Which Station?
  • Excellent Emily

Kindness

  • Tram Trouble
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Toby
  • Song: Responsibility
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Edward
  • Learning Segment: Who Can get to the Washdown?
  • James Works it Out

Pulling Together

  • Rosie's Funfair Special
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Percy
  • Song: Togetherness
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Diesel
  • Learning Segment: Which Load for Which Party?
  • Push Me, Pull You

Adventures

  • Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Thomas
  • Learning Segment: What Does Toby see?
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - The Narrow Gauge Engines
  • Learning Segment: Percy's Treasure
  • Mountain Marvel

Mistakes

Trivia

  • Nitrogen Studios began production on this series in November 2007.[1] Additionally, according to writer Andrew Viner's website, the episode Rosie's Funfair Special was commissioned/written in 2007.
  • The face reference book for this series is now owned by Twitter user TomsProps.
  • It cost around £2.5 million to produce all 20 episodes, with a filming cost of about £1,000 an hour, which took the crew about five days to film each episode.
  • This was the first series of several things:
    • The first series where all engines' faces, human characters, animals and environmental surroundings are in full CGI and have animation.
    • Sharon Miller's first series as head writer.
    • Claire Waxler's first series as supervising producer, albeit uncredited, while being her first and only series as animation coordinator.
    • The first series to be in 1080p progressive scan full high definition.
    • The first series to have twenty episodes.
    • The first series produced and to contain CGI by Nitrogen Studios.
    • The first HiT series recorded and edited in 25 FPS (aside from the end credits).
    • The first Thomas & Friends production since Thomas and the Magic Railroad in which humans and animals are shown walking onscreen.
    • The first series to premiere on Milkshake! before the half hour airings on Nick Jr. in the UK.
    • The first series since their debuts where 'Arry and Rocky appear, but do not speak in any of their appearances.
    • The first series where Stephen Hatt does not appear.
    • The first series to have Mark Robertson write episodes for the series.
    • The first series in which Butch does not appear since his introduction in the fifth series.
    • The first series where each of the characters has their own voices in the Italian and Korean dubs.
    • The first series where James only speaks in two episodes and does not visit the narrow gauge railway.
    • The first series where Ffarquhar Quarry does not appear.
    • The first series not to be dubbed in Dutch.
  • This was also the last series of several things as well:
    • The last series to use models and resin faces, however, the resin faces were used in background shots and scenes where objects obscured the faces.
    • The last series to feature Thomas' shocked face without the bucktooth before the subsequent transition to CGI.
    • Simon Spencer's last series as producer and showrunner.
    • The last series filmed at Shepperton Studios.
    • The last series where Stepney, Arthur, Murdoch, Neville, Freddie, Mighty Mac, Hector, Dusty Miller, Alice, Mrs. Percival, the Dockyard Manager and three Members of the Railway Board appear.
    • The last series to feature the eighth series music.
    • The last series to feature songs composed by Ed Welch.
    • The last series in which the Sodor Island intro is used at the start of individual UK broadcasts.
    • The television series veteran Steve Asquith's final series as director.
    • The last production to have all of the characters voiced by the narrator until Thomas Goes to New York.
    • The last series to have Abi Grant, Simon Spencer and Wayne Jackman as a part of the writing team.
    • The last production to feature the up-scrolling end credits.
    • The last time Paul Larson writes an episode until the seventeenth series as well as the last series where he writes an episode by himself.
    • The final time until the eighteenth series episode, Samson Sent for Scrap to use the brake sound from The Train.
    • The last series until the twenty-second series to introduce more than one engine.
    • The last series to have songs sung by children until The Adventure Begins.
    • The last series to have 7-minute episodes until the twenty-second series.
    • The last series until the seventeenth series to not feature Thomas or any Steam Team member in every episode.
    • Marc Seal and Sharon Miller's last series as Additional Material Written.
    • This series marks the last appearance of Killdane Junction.
    • The last series released in the 2000s. However, episodes from the thirteenth series seen on Splish, Splash, Splosh! were released early in theatres in the US.
  • This was also the only series of several things as well:
    • The only series to use a hybrid model/CGI mix.
    • Dino Athanassiou's only series as CGI director.
    • Pete Atkin's only series as voice director.
    • The only series where Stepney speaks in the US dub, but not the UK dub.
    • The only series where Ben appears without Bill.
    • The only series where Alfie, Cranky and Arthur appear, but do not speak since their introductions.
    • The only series not shown on Japanese television, but some episodes have been shown exclusively at Thomas Land's 3D Theatre and Video on Demand in Japan.
    • The only series to not be completely dubbed in Japanese.
    • The only CGI series not to have a full voice cast for the characters outside of France and Korea.
    • The only series to have Anna Starkey write an episode for the series.
    • The only series to have Andrew Viner write for the series until the sixteenth series.
    • The only series where Flora, Hank and Colin appear. Colin was meant to appear in King of the Railway, but was cut for unknown reasons.
    • The only series to not include an original music video.
    • The only series where every non-human character introduced only appeared in one episode each.
  • Aside from the Teacher and the tree specialists, all of the characters introduced in this series have only ever appeared in their debut episodes.
  • This series contained the 300th episode of the television series, which was James Works it Out.
  • Pierce Brosnan was originally hired to narrate this series after The Great Discovery, but he was withdrawn from the series and Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon returned to replace Brosnan. Brosnan is known to have recorded narration for, at the very least, several episodes of the series.
  • This is the second series after the ninth series in which Spencer does not appear.
  • In the UK, this series had been shown before The Great Discovery, meaning that the audience may not have known about Stanley or Great Waterton.
  • This series was never shown in Hungary, Norway, Romania, Poland and the Netherlands, meaning audiences would not know about any of the new characters introduced in this series.
  • Harvey, Arthur, Cranky, Max/Monty, Annie and Clarabel were the only non-human characters not to utilise CGI face masks. However, two pictures from a magazine story show Harvey with a CGI face.
  • Donald, Douglas, Mavis, Salty, Neville, Sir Handel, Rusty, Mighty Mac, Freddie and the large scale models of Thomas, James and Percy were the only non-human characters not to utilise resin face masks. However, the side of Mac's resin face can be seen in one episode and the side of Thomas' can be seen in two respective episodes.
  • Despite using CGI for the engines' faces primarily for close up shots, there are scenes that show some characters with their face castings, mostly for some long and medium shots.
  • One year later in 2009, the twelfth series along with the eighth to the eleventh series aired at 5:35 or 5:40 am on Sundays and Mondays until the rights from live action model animation expired in 2012.
  • This series is Gordon and Percy's least prominent, as they only speak in four episodes each.

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