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The fourth series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television in October 1995 in the UK. It aired between 1995 and 1996 on Shining Time Station and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales in the US. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US.
The fourth series saw the introduction of the smaller narrow gauge engines. For ease of filming, Series 5 would introduce larger-scale versions of the characters, and from series 6-12, these larger models were used almost exclusively.
Half of the third series consisted of stories written by the show's staff, but only one original story, Rusty to the Rescue was written by Allcroft and Mitton for the fourth series. The episodes which used the Railway Series did take some liberties with the source material, in order to fill the runtime and make the stories more accessible. From the fifth series onward, all stories would be staff-written, without using the Awdrys' books as a source until the twentieth series which would later finally introduce the Arlesdale Railway. The characters would then be led by their television personas and no longer by their storybook roots.
Stepney, a character based on a real-life engine and used to highlight the preservation movement in the books, was given an entirely different background when he was introduced. This decision carried on into later series, in which he was seen on either a fictionalised Bluebell Railway or as a visitor helping out on the Fat Controller's railway.
|Screenshot||UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|Granpuff||16 October 1995||#01|
|Thomas tells the story of Duke, a narrow gauge engine who worked with Stuart and Falcon. However, when their railway closed, the young engines were sold and the old engine was left abandoned in a shed.|
|Sleeping Beauty||17 October 1995||#02|
|After many years had passed, some rescuers began a journey to find Duke and reunite him with his old friends.|
|Bulldog||18 October 1995||#03|
|Falcon was sent to take the Mountain Road with Duke. However, he was impatient and did not pay attention to Duke's advice. He eventually winded up dangling from a cliff.|
|You Can't Win||19 October 1995||#04|
|One evening, Duke is too ill to manage by himself. Stuart teases him about this, but Duke gets his own back and he proves that he still has a lot of life left in him.|
|Four Little Engines||20 October 1995||#05|
|Sir Handel is pushed off the rails by some angry coaches. Skarloey is the only engine available and is determined to get his passengers home, even when one of his front springs breaks.|
|A Bad Day for Sir Handel||23 October 1995||#06|
|Sir Handel and Peter Sam are brought in to help Skarloey and Rheneas. But Sir Handel is in a bad mood and deliberately derails himself to get out of work.|
|Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady||24 October 1995||#07|
|One day, Henry threatens to leave without Peter Sam's passengers. In a haste to meet his connection, he leaves the Refreshment Lady behind.|
Rusty Helps Peter Sam
|25 October 1995||#08|
|Gordon advises Sir Handel to get out of work by pretending to be ill, leaving Peter Sam and Rusty to take over. However, some trucks mistake Peter Sam for Sir Handel and crash into him at the incline.|
|Home at Last||26 October 1995||#09|
|Peter Sam informs Skarloey of the newest arrival, a careless and bad-tempered engine named Duncan. Soon, Skarloey is sent to Duncan's aid when he is stuck under a decrepit tunnel.|
|Rock 'n' Roll||27 October 1995||#10|
|Rusty is concerned about Duncan, who ignores his warning about a broken section of track. After Duncan derails, Rusty grudgingly comes to the rescue.|
|Special Funnel||30 October 1995||#11|
|Peter Sam's funnel is knocked off by an icicle and is temporarily replaced by a drainpipe. However, Peter Sam gives the other engines a run for their money once his new funnel arrives.|
|Steam Roller||31 October 1995||#12|
|Skarloey tells Sir Handel of an anti-railway steamroller named George, whom Sir Handel vows to pay out. But George and Sir Handel are too evenly hot-headed.|
|Passengers and Polish||1 November 1995||#13|
|Duncan complains about not getting polished. His rudeness reaches its peak when he stops on the viaduct and refuses to move.|
|Gallant Old Engine|
The Gallant Old Engine
|2 November 1995||#14|
|Skarloey tells the story of how Rheneas saved the railway from closure, even after suffering a serious breakdown.|
|Rusty to the Rescue||3 November 1995||#15|
|When Rusty hears that an engine is needed to help run the Bluebell Railway, he ventures out to find one and meets a steam engine named Stepney.|
|Thomas and Stepney||6 November 1995||#16|
|Stepney has been invited to visit the Fat Controller's railway. Thomas is jealous when the visiting engine is talked about more than he is and is shunted for Stepney to pass with a special train that night.|
|Train Stops Play||8 November 1995||#17|
|Stepney doesn't realise that a cricket ball has landed in one of his trucks. Caroline the car sets off with the players in pursuit of Stepney along the branch line.|
|Bowled Out||7 November 1995||#18|
|A stuck-up diesel makes a fool of himself when he sucks an inspector's bowler hat through his air-intake vent. Duck and Stepney volunteer in taking his train.|
|Henry and the Elephant||9 November 1995||#19|
|A circus comes to Sodor but Henry and some workmen are called to investigate a blockage in a tunnel, where he unhappily comes across an elephant.|
|Toad Stands By||10 November 1995||#20|
|Toad advises Oliver on how to regain the trucks' respect. Oliver struggles to pull a goods train but he is so determined that he accidentally pulls S.C. Ruffey apart.|
|Bulls Eyes||13 November 1995||#21|
|Daisy claims that she would simply have to "toot" to scare animals off. However, when she comes across a bull, she realises that it will need more than a command to move it away.|
|Thomas and the Special Letter||14 November 1995||#22|
|After the Fat Controller reads a letter inviting the engines to visit the mainland, Thomas becomes very conceited and puts his big trip in jeopardy.|
|Paint Pots and Queens|
Thomas Meets the Queen
|15 November 1995||#23|
|Henry misses the chance of pulling the Queen's royal train after a paint accident, giving Gordon and Thomas a special opportunity.|
|Fish||16 November 1995||#24|
|Extra vans are added to the Flying Kipper and as a result, Henry needs a back engine to help him up Gordon's Hill. Duck offers to help but a badly attached tail lamp causes problems.|
|Special Attraction||17 November 1995||#25|
|Percy is called into the harbour to deal with Bulstrode, a highly disagreeable barge. Bulstrode makes the trucks more troublesome than usual, though he pays dearly for it.|
|Mind that Bike||20 November 1995||#26|
|Tom Tipper, a postal-worker, is unhappy when his post van is replaced by a bicycle. Percy manages to help him out, but not in the way he intended.|
|Screenshot||Title||Composers||Original release date|
|Thomas' Anthem Grand Finale|
(with footage from series 1-4)
|14 September 1999 (US; VHS)|
|Let's Have a Race||Mike O'Donnell|
|4 March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Gone Fishing||Mike O'Donnell|
|21 February 1995 (US; VHS)|
4 November 1996 (US; TV)
3 March 1997 (UK; VHS)
|4 March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Don't Judge a Book By its Cover||Mike O'Donnell|
|15 August 1995 (US; VHS)|
|The Island Song||Mike O'Donnell|
|4 March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Really Useful Engine||Mike O'Donnell|
|20 November 1995 (UK; VHS)|
|That's What Friends Are for|
(no music video)
|Rules and Regulations|
(no music video)
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Little Boys
- Jem Cole (not named)
- Farmer Trotter (not named)
- Diesel (does not speak)
- Bertie (does not speak)
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Terence (cameo)
- Trevor (cameo)
- Bulgy (cameo)
- Coast Guard (cameo)
- Izzy Gomez (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- Harold's Pilots (cameo)
- One Member of the Railway Society (cameo)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (music video cameo)
- Father Christmas (music video cameo)
- Jeremiah Jobling (music video cameo)
- The Stone-dropping Boys (music video cameo)
- The Storyteller (music video cameo)
- Sir Handel
- Peter Sam
- S.C. Ruffey
- Refreshment Lady
- Tom Tipper
- The Inspector with the Bowler Hat
- The Portly Man
- The Crovan's Gate Policeman
- The Dryaw Policeman
- The Important Passenger
- The Elsbridge Cricket Club
- The Painter
- The Tailor
- The Railway Board
- Class 40 (not named)
- The Queen (does not speak)
- The Elephant Keeper (does not speak)
- Other Mid Sodor Railway Engines (indirectly mentioned)
- The Dukes of Sodor (indirectly mentioned)
- This was the first series of several things:
- The first series to feature the Skarloey and Mid Sodor Railways.
- The first series to feature Callan and The Misty Valley Branch Line.
- The first series not to end with a Christmas-themed episode and the first not to feature a Christmas-themed episode.
- The first series to add the Proteus 1 to compose the music.
- The first series to have episodes released on more than one VHS before airing on TV.
- The first series where Bertie doesn't speak in any of his appearances.
- The first series to feature a television series-exclusive engine, with that being Smudger.
- The first series to premiere on Cartoon Network in the UK.
- The first series where Bill and Ben, Diesel, Harold, Terence, Trevor and Farmer Finney all appear in only one episode each.
- The first series dubbed by Mike Erander.
- The first series not to feature Bridget Hatt.
- This was also the final series of a few things:
- The last production to feature stories based on The Railway Series until The Adventure Begins, and therefore the last to have Wilbert Awdry as a technical consultant.
- The last series up until the twentieth series to feature episodes based on the stories from the Railway Series.
- George Carlin's last series as narrator. Alec Baldwin would assume the role from the fifth - sixth series.
- The last production to introduce Railway Series-exclusive characters into the television series until King of the Railway, and the last to introduce a non-standard gauge railway (and engines thereof) from the Railway Series until Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- The last series shown on Shining Time Station.
- The last series released completely on VHS in New Zealand, not counting imports from the UK and Australia.
- The last series dubbed in Ukrainian until the seventeenth series.
- The last series dubbed in Finnish until the eighth series.
- The last series to feature Daisy in an episode until the nineteenth series.
- With a number of 24 out of 26 episodes, Series 4 holds the most episodes released directly to home video before TV, with the exceptions of Rusty to the Rescue and Thomas and Stepney as they aired on TV in the US on 7 January 1995 on the Shining Time Station special Once Upon a Time before released on VHS. The only two episodes that aired on TV in the UK before they were released on VHS were Four Little Engine and Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady.
- The first eleven episodes of this series, from Granpuff to Special Funnel have Michael Angelis' narration recorded in dobey.
- The last fifteen episodes of this series, from Steam Roller to Mind that Bike have Michael Angelis' narration recorded back to normal.
- This series contained the 100th episode of the television series, which was Thomas and the Special Letter.
- This is the only series dubbed by The Family Channel Studios.
- To date, this series introduced the most new characters out of any other series to date.
- Thomas appears in 23 episodes in this series, more than any other series in the Classic Series, but still less than most of the series outside the Classic Series.
- Oddly, a significant amount of sound effects and music are missing in the US versions of most fourth series episodes, a notable example being Rusty Helps Peter Sam, which misses almost all the music in the first half of the episode. The episode also excludes most of Peter Sam's whistles, and adds an unusual high pitched whistle when he cries for help after his accident.
- This series is unique as the first fifteen episodes focused primarily on the Skarloey Railway engines.
- All Chinese narrations from this series credit George Carlin as the narrator and all Norwegian/Hindi narrations credit Michael Angelis, even though the episodes were redubbed.
- In the Ukrainian narration, Michael Angelis' voice can still be heard in the background.