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The sixth series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television in September 2002 in the UK. Michael Angelis and Alec Baldwin narrated the twenty-six episodes for the UK and US respectively. Angelis also narrated two episodes for the US release of New Friends for Thomas and Other Adventures. Angelis and Michael Brandon later re-dubbed six episodes along with music composed by Robert Hartshorne for the US on PBS Kids and the UK for Nick Jr. in 2005.
After the critical and commercial flop of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Britt Allcroft was forced to step down as both deputy chairman and director of the company, only to retain sharing responsibilities and become Executive Producer. On the other hand, David Mitton turned over as a camera operator and a script consultant for all script writers during production. Phil Ferhle took the liberty in creating what was supposed to be the first Thomas & Friends spin-off - Jack and the Sodor Construction Company directed by Steve Asquith. Two episodes were to be the gateway to the twenty-six episodic series, but it was cancelled because of financial difficulties and the acquisition of HiT Entertainment, so only thirteen episodes were filmed and stored away. However, the 13 episodes were eventually released on DVD in 2006.
In 2005, Michael Brandon and Michael Angelis re-dubbed six episodes; No Sleep for Cranky, A Bad Day for Harold the Helicopter, James and the Red Balloon, Gordon Takes a Tumble, Toby Had a Little Lamb and Edward the Very Useful Engine, with music composed by Robert Hartshorne on PBS Kids in the US and Nick Jr. in the UK, to make them series nine-styled when they chose episodes from this series for the airings.
|Screenshot||UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Written by||Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|Salty's Secret||Robin Kingsland||16 September 2002||#01|
|Salty arrives on Sodor and is dismayed when he is sent to work at the quarry.|
|Harvey to the Rescue||Jonathan Trueman||17 September 2002||#02|
|An engine with a crane on his boiler named Harvey arrives, but the engines think he does not look anything like a normal engine.|
|No Sleep for Cranky||Paul Larson||18 September 2002||#03|
|A story by Salty makes Cranky cranky enough to knock down a shed, forcing him to be stuck with Salty, Bill and Ben for the night.|
|A Bad Day for Harold the Helicopter|
A Bad Day for Harold
|19 September 2002||#04|
|When Percy reaches a broken signal, Harold comes to take his mail onwards - with disastrous results.|
|Elizabeth the Vintage Lorry|
Elizabeth the Vintage Quarry Truck
|Paul Larson||20 September 2002||#05|
|Thomas is hauling a heavy special when his siderods fall off near an old shed. Inside, his crew discovers a disused vintage lorry named Elizabeth.|
|The Fogman||David Mitton|
|23 September 2002||#06|
|Cyril, a fogman, puts detonators on the tracks to warn engines of oncoming mist. The Fat Controller replaces him with a fog horn, which turns out to be more trouble than it is worth.|
|Jack Jumps In||Phil Fehrle|
|24 September 2002||#07|
|Jack the front loader is eager to be really useful but foolishly tries to take a load of rocks up a hill himself, leading to disaster.|
|A Friend in Need||Phil Fehrle|
|25 September 2002||#08|
|Ned the steam shovel knocks the keystone out of a bridge. It begins to fall as Thomas approaches it, so Jack tries to hold it up with his bucket.|
|It's Only Snow||David Mitton|
|26 September 2002||#09|
|Thomas is told to deliver a Christmas tree to the Mountain Village with Toby but becomes cross when he has to use his old snowplough.|
|Twin Trouble||Brian Trueman||27 September 2002||#10|
|Donald and Douglas crash into Trevor's cart and blame the other for the accident. They become so heated that they refuse to work together.|
|The World's Strongest Engine||David Mitton|
|30 September 2002||#11|
|Henry has an unfortunate accident, leading to Diesel returning to the railway. Diesel is insistent on proving that he is the strongest engine in the world, much to the trucks' amusement.|
|Scaredy Engines||David Mitton|
|1 October 2002||#12|
|Halloween rolls around and Thomas, Percy and Duck are sent to the Smelters to collect a special load, where Thomas teases Percy when he gets scared.|
|Percy and the Haunted Mine||David Mitton|
|2 October 2002||#13|
|While collecting some trucks, Percy is spooked by a mine that sinks into the ground. Donald and Douglas make him even more frightened when they proclaim it is the naughty gnomes.|
|Middle Engine||David Mitton|
|3 October 2002||#14|
|'Arry and Bert play a trick on Percy by shunting trucks in front of him. Henry accidentally bumps him onto the coal tipper, so James takes over.|
|James and the Red Balloon||David Mitton|
|4 October 2002||#15|
|Thomas and James become scared a hot air balloon will steal their passengers.|
|Jack Frost||David Mitton|
|7 October 2002||#16|
|Thomas warns Percy and James of Jack Frost. James is dismissive, but Percy becomes worried. While spending the night in a siding, snow and ice pile around him and James mistakes him for Jack Frost.|
|Gordon Takes a Tumble||David Mitton|
|8 October 2002||#17|
|Gordon tells Salty it would not be dignified for him to pull trucks. That night, Gordon is sent to collect some from the Docks. He is furious and ends up sent down a rickety, old branch line by mistake.|
|Percy's Chocolate Crunch||David Mitton|
|9 October 2002||#18|
|Percy gets cross that he has all the dirty jobs. He desperately tries to not get dirty but has an unfortunate run-in with a chocolate factory.|
|Buffer Bother||Ross Hastings||10 October 2002||#19|
|Ben needs new buffers and Bill becomes jealous. This makes him careless and he ends up damaging his own buffers.|
|Toby Had a Little Lamb||Jenny McDade||11 October 2002||#20|
|During a snowstorm, Toby is flagged down by Farmer McColl, whose sheep are due to give birth and urgently need a vet.|
|Thomas, Percy and the Squeak||David Mitton|
|14 October 2002||#21|
|The famous singer Allicia Botti is coming for a concert and Thomas is chosen to take her. Along the way, Thomas and his crew hear a consistent squeak but think nothing of it, until they discover what it really is.|
|Thomas the Jet Engine|
Thomas and the Jet Engine
|15 October 2002||#22|
|Thomas is given the job of taking a jet engine to Dryaw, but Cranky carelessly turns it on.|
|Edward the Very Useful Engine|
Edward the Really Useful Engine
|David Mitton||16 October 2002||#23|
|The big engines believe Edward should be retired but he proves himself useful when both Duck and Gordon need help.|
|Dunkin Duncan||Simon Nicholson|
|17 October 2002||#24|
|Skarloey, Rheneas and Rusty are sent to work with Duncan at the quarry. Duncan gets too impatient at the incline and ends up falling into a muddy ditch.|
|Rusty Saves the Day||David Mitton|
|18 October 2002||#25|
|The Fat Controller closes Rheneas and Skarloey's line down and sends them to the quarry. But when the quarry will be blasting for two weeks, Rusty decides to use that time to repair the line.|
|Faulty Whistles||David Mitton|
|21 October 2002||#26|
|Peter Sam's whistle has been knocked off by a branch. Duncan finds this funny and remarks that an engine is not one without a whistle, unaware his own whistle has become loose.|
|Screenshot||Title||Composers||Original release date|
|James the Really Splendid Engine||Mike O'Donnell|
|24 September 2002 (US; VHS/DVD)|
|Little Engines||Mike O'Donnell|
|25 February 2003 (US; VHS/DVD)|
|Down by the Docks||Mike O'Donnell|
|22 July 2003 (US; VHS/DVD)|
|Winter Wonderland||Mike O'Donnell|
|7 October 2002 (UK; VHS/DVD)|
|Boo! Boo! Choo-Choo||Mike O'Donnell|
|20 July 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)|
|Never, Never, Never Give Up||Mike O'Donnell|
|23 December 2004 (CHN; DVD)|
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- 'Arry and Bert
- Peter Sam
- Troublesome Trucks
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Harold's Pilots
- Stephen Hatt (not named)
- Stepney (does not speak)
- Annie and Clarabel (do not speak)
- Henrietta (does not speak)
- Terence (does not speak)
- Jem Cole (does not speak)
- Farmer Finney (does not speak)
- The Lighthouse Keeper (does not speak)
- The Railway Board (do not speak)
- Oliver (cameo)
- George (cameo)
- Butch (cameo)
- Tiger Moth (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Refreshment Lady (cameo)
- Nancy (cameo)
- Tom Tipper (cameo)
- The Storyteller (cameo)
- The Special Visitor (cameo)
- The Tailor (cameo)
- One of the stone-dropping boys (cameo)
- The Dryaw Policeman (cameo)
- One Member of the Elsbridge Cricket Club (cameo)
- Anopha Quarry Manager (cameo)
- Bulgy (mentioned)
- BoCo (music video cameo)
- Sir Handel (music video cameo/cut from the series)
- Duke (music video cameo/cut from the series)
- Toad (music video/deleted scene cameo)
- Bulstrode (music video/deleted scene cameo)
- Percy's Ghost Engine (music video cameo)
- Rusty's Ghost Engine (music video cameo)
- Father Christmas (music video cameo)
- The Barber (music video cameo)
- The Quarry-master (music video cameo)
- The Portly Man (music video cameo)
- Boulder (music video cameo)
- Daisy (cut from the series)
- Bertram (cut from the series)
- Jenny Packard
- The Foreman
- Cyril the Fogman
- Allicia Botti
- The Smelter's Yard Manager
- The Coaling Plant Manager
- The Vet
- Headmaster Hastings
- Farmer McColl (not named in original versions)
- Edward's Ghost Engine (does not speak)
- The Fisherman (cameo)
- The Dockyard Manager (cameo)
- The Captain (cameo)
- Mr. Jolly (factory logo cameo; mentioned)
- This was the first series of several things:
- The first series filmed in 16:9 widescreen. However, most of the first six episodes were matted from full screen, but whenever they use Tidmouth Sheds, The Seaside Village, Tidmouth Beach and the church for locations, the scenes are filmed in widescreen.
- Phil Fehrle's first series as producer.
- Peter Urie's first series as executive producer.
- The first series to have a writing team.
- The first time Robin Kingsland, Paul Larson, Abi Grant, James Mason, Brian Trueman, Robyn Charteris and Jenny McDade wrote episodes for the series.
- Abi Grant's first series as script editor.
- The first series to feature Steve Asquith as a director.
- The first series to have more than two narrators in the English language.
- The first series not dubbed in German, Greek and Portuguese.
- The first series to use a Proteus 3 and Virtuoso 2000 to compose the music.
- The first series where Annie and Clarabel do not speak.
- The first series to premiere on Nick Jr. in the UK.
- The first series since the third to appear on CiTV, marking the television series' return to terrestrial television.
- The first series to see incomplete episodic VHS releases in Australia.
- The first series not to feature Wellsworth since its introduction in the first series.
- The first series where Sir Topham Hatt says "confusion and delay," though the second to feature the phrase because the narrator and other characters said it in two fifth series episodes.
- The first series where the narrator says, "Luckily, no one was hurt," a phrase that also becomes very iconic for the show.
- Kate Buckland's first series as editor.
- This was the last series of several things as well:
- The last series to feature the old Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends logo in the intro.
- The last series in which all of the episodes have at least one US version that uses the original music in the US.
- Britt Allcroft's third and last series as executive producer. She would be a script consultant in the seventh series.
- Alec Baldwin's last series as US narrator.
- The second and last production filmed by Gullane Entertainment after Thomas and the Magic Railroad prior to its acquisition by HiT Entertainment in 2002.
- This series had the most narrators in it out of all series to date.
- From this series onwards, all stories were written by individuals on a writing staff.
- This series was broadcast on Nick Jr. in the UK in late 2002, before airing on CiTV in early 2003.
- On masters of episodes that feature the Gullane endboard, Britt Allcroft is credited as executive producer alongside Peter Urie. On masters that end with either the Nick Jr. UK or HiT Entertainment endboard, Britt Allcroft is not mentioned in the end credits at all.
- This is the only series of several things:
- The only model series to have more than one director.
- The only series until Mark Moraghan's narration of the thirteenth series episode Snow Tracks to have three narrators.
- The only series in which Thomas does not speak in the premiere (not counting Jack and the Sodor Construction Company), as well as the only series in which Thomas does not appear in the finale.
- The only series to have Jonathan Trueman, Phil Fehrle and Ross Hastings as part of the writing team (also not counting Jack and the Sodor Construction Company).
- The only time Simon Nicholson wrote episodes for the series until the tenth series.
- The only series (currently) to air on Kabillion.
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