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The third series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television on 25 February 1992. It first aired in the US in 1991 on Shining Time Station, with the last ten episodes following in 1993. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and by George Carlin in the US and New Zealand.
Before production of the third series, Clearwater Features closed down, with The Britt Allcroft Company becoming the sole producer of Thomas. Producer Robert D. Cardona departed the programme before the third series, and Britt Allcroft took his place as co-producer alongside David Mitton. According to Robert Gauld-Galliers, "Gordon Goes Foreign" was originally intended for production, but it was not filmed because its production costs would have gone over-budget.
The series was a mix of episodes derived from the Railway Series, magazines stories (written by the series' former head writer, Andrew Brenner) and some original stories by Allcroft and Mitton. One of the primary reasons for diverging from the original books was that many of the stories not yet used featured large numbers of new characters, which would be expensive to produce. Another reason was that the producers wanted more stories about Thomas, the nominal main character. The Rev. W. Awdry took umbrage with the looser adaptations of his stories, and publicly criticized the original episodes for their lack of realism.
|Screenshot||UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|A Scarf for Percy||25 February 1992||#01|
|Percy wishes he could wear scarves, but he gets more than he bargained for when he runs into Sir Topham Hatt's baggage.|
|Percy's Promise||3 March 1992||#02|
|Percy keeps a promise with Thomas to take the children going to the Vicar's Sunday School home. Along the way, he gets some help from Harold when he gets stuck in a flood.|
|Time for Trouble||17 March 1992||#03|
|Toby ends up stranded on the main line due to his small water tanks, causing trouble for James and the Express.|
|Gordon and the Famous Visitor||24 March 1992||#04|
|Gordon is jealous when a famous engine comes to visit the railway. He declares domeless engines to not be respectable, but the tables turn when his dome blows off at the viaduct.|
|Donald's Duck||31 March 1992||#05|
|Duck is given his own branch line for working hard and becomes conceited, which makes Donald cross until Duck and his driver play a joke on him.|
|Thomas Gets Bumped||7 April 1992||#06|
|Thomas' branch line is closed due to bent rails on the line. He begins to think he's lost his passengers to Bertie.|
|Thomas, Percy and the Dragon||7 April 1992||#07|
|Percy teases Thomas about being frightened all the time, but when Thomas is delivering a dragon in the night, Percy ends up getting a fright.|
|Diesel Does it Again||14 April 1992||#08|
|Diesel is sent to help Percy and Duck with goods work at the harbour, but ends up causing more trouble for the two engines.|
|Henry's Forest||14 April 1992||#09|
|When a storm comes, Henry's favourite forest experiences severe devastation. His friends soon team together to cheer him up.|
|The Trouble with Mud||21 April 1992||#10|
|Gordon refuses to get a washdown, and winds up having to do goods work instead of pulling the express.|
|No Joke for James||21 April 1992||#11|
|James gets comeuppance for his egotism after he tricks Thomas into pulling some smart new coaches, leaving Gordon to pull some trucks.|
|Thomas, Percy and the Post Train|
Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train
|28 April 1992||#12|
|When a mail ship ends up getting delayed, Thomas and Percy worry that Harold will replace the mail train.|
|Trust Thomas||28 April 1992||#13|
|Bertie learns that he can trust engines like Thomas when he remembers a missing tanker after having an accident with some trucks.|
|Mavis||5 May 1992||#14|
|The new quarry diesel Mavis reorganizes things to her liking, making Toby cross.|
|Toby's Tightrope||5 May 1992||#15|
|Mavis tries to make a plan to go further down the Quarry line, but she ends up putting Toby in danger.|
|Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party||12 May 1992||#16|
|Edward and Trevor help the Vicar with his garden party to fund a seaside trip for the children.|
James Goes Buzz Buzz
|12 May 1992||#17|
|James thinks that he can easily scare off bees, but is proved wrong when he encounters a horde of wild bees.|
|All at Sea||19 May 1992||#18|
|Duck wishes that he could travel at sea, but he changes his mind when he learns that engines are happiest on the rails.|
|One Good Turn||26 May 1992||#19|
|Bill and Ben end up in an argument at the turntable, so Edward and BoCo make a plan to make the twins friends again.|
|Tender Engines||2 June 1992||#20|
|When a new engine visits Sodor, Henry becomes jealous of his two tenders.|
|Escape||9 June 1992||#21|
|Douglas travels to a station where only the diesels work. He meets Oliver and Toad, who are trying to escape from scrap.|
|Oliver Owns Up||16 June 1992||#22|
|Oliver becomes conceited and thinks that he can manage trucks, but is soon proven wrong.|
|Bulgy||23 June 1992||#23|
|A new bus named Bulgy wants railways to be scrapped, and attempts to steal Duck's passengers.|
|Heroes||30 June 1992||#24|
|The Troublesome Trucks trick Bill and Ben into causing a big muddle in the yard, making them late to arrange Gordon's evening train.|
|Percy, James and the Fruitful Day||7 July 1992||#25|
|James and Percy learn their brakes aren't the only thing that get jammed.|
|Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure|
Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure
|14 July 1992||#26|
|Thomas, Percy, Harold and Terence help some villagers after a severe snow storm.|
|Screenshot||Title||Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|Gordon Goes Foreign||n/a||n/a|
|Based on the story of the same name from "The Eight Famous Engines".
After an argument with a big city engine over what the name of a station on the Other Railway is, Gordon is determined to find out.
|Screenshot||Title||Original release date||Episode number #|
|Thomas and the U.K. Trip||30 and 31 December 1991 (Japan only)||n/a|
|Two children's television characters from Japan, Gachapin and Mukku, visit the United Kingdom. During their visit, they come to Sodor to meet Thomas, Sir Topham Hatt and the other engines. During the second half, they visit real railways and learn how steam locomotives work.|
|Screenshot||Title||Composers||Original release date|
|Thomas' Anthem (US)|
Thomas We Love You (UK)
|17 August 1994 (US; VHS)|
4 March 1996 (UK; VHS)
|I'm Thomas the Tank Engine||Seiji Katsu|
|30 December 1991 (Japan only)|
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Vicar of Wellsworth
- The Little Boys
- Stephen Hatt (not named)
- Jeremiah Jobling (not named)
- Jem Cole (not named)
- Mrs. Kyndley (not named)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (not named)
- Lady Hatt (not named)
- Henrietta (does not speak)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster (cameo)
- Harold's Pilots (cameo)
- Percy's Ghost Engine (mentioned)
- The Firelighter (mentioned)
- British Railways Diesels (mentioned)
- The Mainland Diesels (mentioned)
- Father Christmas (mentioned in the UK version)
- Daisy (mentioned in music video)
- Engine Inspector (dropped; mentioned)
- The New Signalman
- The Railway Foreman
- The Quarry-master
- Toad (does not speak)
- The Railway Society (do not speak)
- The Injured Sailor (does not speak)
- City of Truro (not named; does not speak)
- Flying Scotsman (not named; tender, water tanker, and cab only)
- Farmer Trotter (not named)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- Coast Guard (faceless; cameo)
- Izzy Gomez (faceless; cameo)
- Bulgy's Friend (mentioned)
- Anopha Quarry Manager (mentioned)
- Big City Engine (dropped)
- This was the first series to boast several elements of Thomas & Friends:
- The first series narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US, as well as the first to be narrated by Carlin which had not been previously released with Ringo Starr's narrations.
- The first series to have episodes not based on stories by either Awdry.
- Britt Allcroft's first series as producer.
- Angus Wright's first series as executive producer.
- The first series to use Rockwell font.
- TUGS models and props make their Thomas & Friends debut.
- Junior Campbell and Mike O'Donnell used the EMU Proteus 2 Orchestral to create the score. However, some of the music made with the Roland Jupiter 6 synthesiser for the first and second series was used.
- The first series where Thomas's shocked face gains a buck tooth.
- The first series dubbed in Finnish.
- The first series which introduced music videos.
- The first series to have slow motion effects.
- From this series on, characters would say "be quiet" instead of "shut up," presumably to make the show's language gentler.
- The first series to air in the United States via Shining Time Station before airing in the United Kingdom a year later.
- The first series to have episodes released on home video before their television broadcast in the UK.
- In the US, the first series to not have a Christmas-themed series finale.
- The second and third series have the largest gap between any two series: six years. The second series first aired back in 1986 alongside subsequent re-runs of the first and second series which later ceased in 1991 and the airing of the third series in 1992.
- Gordon Goes Foreign was originally going to be an episode in this series, but it was cancelled due to its high budgetary demands. It is unknown if any of the other episodes made for this series were replacements for it.
- In the Ukrainian version, Michael Angelis and George Carlin's voices can be heard in the background, as a dubbing track was not used. The first thirteen episodes have Carlin's voice while the last thirteen episodes have Angelis' voice. Angelis is also credited as narrator in the first thirteen episodes despite Carlin's narration in the background and the episodes being re-dubbed.
- This is the only series dubbed by Gary Dixon and Gavin Beckwith.
- For much of the series, Tidmouth Sheds appears to be much larger on the inside than in the first two series. While all the exterior scenes depict the shed with the usual six berths, there are nine tracks seen in most interior views.
- This is the only series where George Carlin's narration was released on VHS in New Zealand. However, when the third series aired on television in New Zealand outside Shining Time Station, Michael Angelis' narration was used instead. This is also the case when The Complete Third Series was released on DVD in New Zealand.
- Model maker John Holmes did not receive credit for working on this series until 1992.
- At the very end of Michael Angelis' early narrations, the credits were shown with a still of the final shot of each 16 episodes there were certain parts of dialogue exclusive to these home videos but were cut out when the series aired in 1992. When shown on television and in future video and DVD releases, the credits were shown alongside a still of Thomas.
- This was the last series broadcast on CITV until 2003 when the sixth series was shown. Series 4 and 5 would air on Cartoon Network instead.
- From Thomas Gets Bumped to Buzz, Buzz, each CITV broadcast featured two episodes compiled into a ten-minute block. The difference here was that only the title card for the second episode was shown after the first episode.
- This series was produced in association with Fuji Television Network, Inc. as indicated by a message at the end of each episode. At the end of the first sixteen episodes, the message is in white, while at the end of the last ten episodes, it is yellow.
- When this series was repeated on CITV from 8 January to 9 July 1993, some episodes were cut to fit the timeslot.
- According to The Thomas the Tank Engine Man, it cost £1.3 million to produce all twenty-six episodes.
- It was during this series that footage of Tidmouth Sheds was shot uniquely for the Japanese-exclusive special Thomas and the U.K. Trip.
- All at Sea and Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure were the only episodes in this series not based on The Railway Series or a magazine story.
- The Flying Scotsman makes an obscured appearance once in this series. He is not fully shown until 24 years later with the release of the special, The Great Race.
- The last ten episodes of this series, from Buzz, Buzz to Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure, were all filmed in a different period after the previous sixteen episodes. As such, some changes on the details on the models and sets have been made:
- S.S. Roxstar gained red smokestacks.
- Thomas' red lining on the back of his cab was removed.
- Henry's brake pipes were also removed.
- Percy's second happy face from the second series gained teeth (which were not present in a deleted scene from Thomas, Percy and the Post Train).
- The interior shots for Tidmouth Sheds featured eight berths instead of the usual six.