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The twenty-second series of Thomas & Friends aired on 3rd September 2018 in the UK and on 17th September 2018 in the US.

Production

Development

Series 22, alongside Big World! Big Adventures! marks the third major reboot of the franchise, following the introduction of the Steam Team in Series 8 and the show switching over to full CGI in Hero of the Rails. Both productions were the result of the market research Mattel conducted with audiences around the globe. It was about how Mattel could keep Thomas & Friends relevant in a competitive market, as well as reversing declining toy sales. The one suggestion Mattel was intrigued with came from a child declaring "Thomas is a train but he never really goes anywhere". This evolved into Thomas travelling around the globe and learning about different cultures.

The episodes retained their eleven minute-long runtime, but were now broken into seven minute-long stories, with an additional four minutes reserved for a variety of segments like sing-along karaoke songs, music videos or segments of Thomas talking directly with the audience about lessons learned during a particular episode. Additionally, all episodes have a fantasy sequence and six of the seventeen development goals Mattel chose from the United Nations are featured. Among many other changes, Edward and Henry were removed from the Steam Team to make room for Nia and Rebecca in order to move the gender ratio among the main cast to a 50/50 split between male and female characters, with an episode focused on addressing their removal. Toby was also quietly dropped from the Steam Team for the same reason, and the narrator was replaced with Thomas in a first person perspective. Despite this, Mark Moraghan has said that he will still work on the series. In School of Duck, he voiced an old coach named Dexter who was converted into a school classroom. He also now portrays a character in live-action segments named Mr. Evans, replacing the late Ben Forster's role as Mr. Perkins a year after Forster died on 2nd January 2017 after following a battle with cancer.

Series 22 is set after Big World! Big Adventures! The series is split into two halves: one half with Thomas travelling around the world, visiting China, India and Australia and one half taking place on the Island of Sodor.

Episodes

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Written by Original UK release date Episode number #
NumberOneEnginepromo2Number One EngineDavey Moore3rd September 2018#01
Thomas gets into trouble when racing with Hong-Mei, another blue, number one tank engine.
ForeverandEverpromoForever and EverAndrew Brenner4th September 2018#02
Gordon has a tantrum about all the changes the Fat Controller made to the railway.
ConfusionWithoutDelaypromo3Confusion Without DelayDavey Moore5th September 2018#03
Rebecca, a big new tender engine, comes to the Island of Sodor and works so hard not to be late that she keeps leaving stations too early.
TrustyTrunkypromo2Trusty TrunkyBecky Overton6th September 2018#04
Thomas is very surprised when an elephant comes to his rescue.
WhatRebeccaDoespromoWhat Rebecca DoesDavey Moore7th September 2018#05
Rebecca is worried that, unlike the other engines, there is nothing special about her.
ThomasGoestoBollywoodpromoThomas Goes to BollywoodBecky Overton10th September 2018#06
When an action movie is filmed on the Indian railway, Thomas is desperate to be involved.
ThomasintheWildpromoThomas in the WildDavey Moore11th September 2018#07
Thomas is excited about taking a film crew to a nature reserve, but gets distracted in finding a giant panda in the wild.
ThomasandtheMonkeyPalacepromoThomas and the Monkey PalaceBecky Overton12th September 2018#08
Thomas is pulling a truckload of coconuts when he encounters some cheeky monkeys.
AnEngineofManyColorspromoAn Engine of Many ColoursMichael White13th September 2018#09
After a crash, James is waiting at the Steamworks to be repaired and gets worried he will be repainted a different colour.
OutbackThomaspromoOutback ThomasTim Bain14th September 2018#10
Thomas sees Shane taking passengers on an outback adventure and is impressed by Shane's showmanship - and decides to do it himself.
SchoolofDuckpromo2School of DuckLee Pressman17th September 2018#11
When a storm destroys a classroom at Harwick School, Duck tries to find a coach to take the children in.
TigerTroublepromoTiger TroubleBecky Overton18th September 2018#12
When Thomas learns that tourists come to India to try to see tigers, he wants to see tigers too.
SeeingisBelievingpromoSeeing is BelievingAndrew Brenner19th September 2018#13
Thomas' friend Merlin comes to Sodor from the Mainland for the first time and Percy wants to see him.
ApologyImpossiblepromoApology ImpossibleBecky Overton20th September 2018#14
Philip learns that sometimes even the smallest engine's actions can make them the bigger engine.
TheWaterWheel(episode)promoThe Water WheelDavey Moore21st September 2018#15
Thomas thinks he has been given a very silly cargo until Hong-Mei explains that it is a very important water wheel, made from bamboo.
SamsonandtheFireworkspromoSamson and the FireworksLee Pressman5th November 2018#16
Samson is terrified of fireworks and when he mistakes the sound of a warning detonator for fireworks, he is so frightened that he races off into the fog and gets lost.
RunawayTruckpromoRunaway Truck
Runaway Car
Davey Moore3rd December 2018#17
Thomas tries to save an accident-prone truck who is racing down the tracks.
Thomas'AnimalArkpromoThomas' Animal ArkLee Pressman10th December 2018#18
It's Christmas and the boiler at the Animal Park breaks down, so Thomas needs to find a way to keep the animals warm.
CycloneThomasPromoCyclone ThomasTim Bain17th December 2018#19
Thomas wants to be just like Isla, a Flying Doctor's plane, who transports Dr Claire to remote places where it is hard for patients to get to hospitals or doctors for treatment.
KangarooChristmaspromoKangaroo ChristmasTim Bain22nd December 2018#20
Thomas is in Australia for Christmas and is disappointed that it is different from Sodor. But in the meantime, he must help a little girl retrieve her toy kangaroo from a real one.
ThomasandtheDragonpromoThomas and the DragonDavey Moore5th February 2019#21
Thomas is terrified when he is given the honour of bringing a dragon to the Chinese New Year celebrations.
RosieisRedpromoRosie is RedDavey Moore14th February 2019#22
After the engines tease Thomas that Rosie is his "special friend", he acts rudely towards her.
TheCaseofthePuzzlingPartspromoThe Case of the Puzzling PartsDavey Moore18th February 2019#23
Sidney is shunting a flatbed of engine parts, but he cannot remember what he is supposed to be doing with them. Paxton thinks this sounds like a kind of mystery that can only be solved by a Special Agent.
BanjoandtheBushfireBanjo and the BushfireTim Bain19th February 2019#24
Thomas offers a lift to a ranger while working in the Australian Rain Forest. Thomas is excited to learn from her about all the animals that live there, but he is too loud and impatient to be very useful.
CountingonNiapromoCounting on NiaLee Pressman20th February 2019#25
When the Fat Controller asks Nia to take Thomas' coaches, Annie and Clarabel and pick up passengers from Knapford Station, she has great trouble finding the right platform.
HuntTheTruckPromoHunt the Truck
Hunt the Car
Michael White15th May 2019#26
Bill and Ben's latest game consists of hiding trucks and making other engines hunt for them.

Songs

Characters

Characters Introduced

Cast

UK, AUS and NZ

US and CAN

Trivia

  • This series marks the first of several things:
    • The first series to use the new intro, credits and Set Friendship in Motion as an intro song.
    • Yong Bao's first speaking role in the TV series (not counting Big World! Big Adventures!).
    • The first series to feature the newly updated Engine Roll Call.
    • The first series since the fourteenth series dubbed in Swedish.
    • The first series since the fifteenth series dubbed in Finnish.
    • The first series since the eighteenth series dubbed in Danish.
    • The first series since the nineteenth series dubbed in Norwegian.
    • The first series to feature Thomas as the narrator.
      • Because of this, this is also the first series since the sixteenth series to have a different narrator in both the UK and US dubs, as well as the first since said series to not feature Mark Moraghan as the narrator.
    • The first series to feature the new Steam Team - Thomas, Gordon, James, Percy, Emily, Nia and Rebecca.
    • The first series in which Dart appears, but without Den.
    • The first series in which Rasmus Hardiker and Matt Wilkinson voice Bill and Ben respectively, since Jonathan Broadbent's departure from the series.
    • The first series since the twelfth series to have seven minute long story segments.
    • The first series since ninth series where Maron station does not appear.
    • Flying Scotsman's first appearance in an episode since the third series and his first full appearance and speaking role in an episode.
    • Ashima, Rajiv, Shane, Yong Bao, Merlin, Nia, The Chinese Diesel, Shankar and Charubala's first appearances in an episode.
    • Rajiv, Shane, Shankar and Charubala's first speaking roles in the franchise.
    • The only series to feature Lei, Tamika and Isla to date.
    • Cyril the Fogman's first appearance in full CGI.
    • Vicarstown Sheds' first appearance in full CGI.
    • The first time the Aquarium Trucks appear in the CGI Series, as well as their first appearance in the series overall.
    • The first series to feature Learn with Thomas segments at the end of every episode.
    • The first series to have episodes written by Michael White and Tim Bain. It is also the first series to have episodes written by Becky Overton since the nineteenth series.
    • The first series not to receive any DVD releases in the United States.
    • The first series to use a fantasy sequence in every episode.
    • The first series in which Donald and Douglas do not appear since their returns in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
    • The first, and currently only series in the television series to date, in which Bertie does not appear.
  • This is the only series for a few things:
  • This is the final series of a couple of things:
    • The last series in which the remaining original members of the Steam Team - as well as Bulgy and Bertie - do not have added details, which they gain in the next series.
    • The last series to have Lee Pressman on the writing team.
    • The last series to have Micaela Winter as producer.
    • The last series where Thomas appears physically in all the episodes.
    • The last series to have episodes written by Andrew Brenner before leaving his position as head writer.
  • Two days before the UK broadcast on Saturday 1st September 2018, Number One Engine, Forever and Ever, What Rebecca Does, and Banjo and the Bushfire were first shown at the Princess Anne Theatre (BAFTA) in London.
  • Rufus Jones, Tina Desai and Hugh Bonneville return to the voice cast.
  • Nikhil Parmar, Siu-see Hung, Windson Liong, Sheena Bhattessa, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Rose Robinson, Genevieve McCarthy, Tim Bain, Tariro Mavondo, Shane Jacobson, Jass Patel, Jessica Hann, Charlie Barnard, Mia Hope Gaywood, Holly Hazelton, Innis Robertson-Pinnell and Damon Denton-Snape join the voice cast.
  • This series introduced a new sequence used at least once in almost every episode, featuring an engine backing up to the selected rolling stock and a close-up of their couplings being hooked, followed by a close-up of their whistle being blown (horns for diesels and a bell if they have one) before the start of the main plot.
  • Davey Moore wrote the most episodes in the total of nine episodes written, whilst Andrew Brenner and Michael White wrote only two episodes, making both write only two episodes each this series.
  • The mist surrounding the frame in the fantasy sequences is very similar to classic cartoon thought bubbles. Depending on who is having the fantasy, it is white for steam engines (and rolling stock) and black for diesels.
  • Emily is the only current Steam Team member to not get a starring role this series.
  • Apart from Thomas reading the titles aloud and talking directly to the audience before and after the stories, Forever and Ever, What Rebecca Does and Apology Impossible are the only episodes this series to not feature narration.
  • Many episodes from this series have been released in audio format on Amazon's US website. The only episodes that have yet to have audio versions released on there are Forever and Ever, Thomas and the Dragon, Thomas' Animal Ark, Thomas and the Monkey Palace, Kangaroo Christmas, and Banjo and the Bushfire.

External links


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