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The seventh series of Thomas & Friends was first broadcast in October 2003, the same day it was first released on DVD and VHS in the UK. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK, all having at least one version with original music and Michael Brandon in the US, all having at least one version with new music. Michael Angelis also re-narrated four episodes for the US release New Friends for Thomas and Other Adventures. This series was filmed during HiT Entertainment's acquisition of Gullane Entertainment. An episode is paired with the eighth and ninth series airings on PBS and Nick Jr. airings on weekends.

Production

Whilst the acquisition of HiT Entertainment had neared completion, Britt Allcroft not only became a non-executive director, but also started to focus on outside business necessities in her second hometown of Santa Monica, California, USA. Acting as creative consultant would end up being her final involvement with Thomas & Friends.

David Mitton quietly followed suit, deciding not to remain as a full time director for the show anymore. Both of them were joined by Robert Gauld-Galliers, Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell, who shared the same interest.

When the eighth series first aired in 2004 on Nick Jr. in the UK and PBS in the US, a seventh series episode that is thematically similar to the two eighth series episodes in the airing would be shown between them. As there were thirteen of these airings, thirteen episodes of the seventh series were recomposed by Robert Hartshorne for these airings. Additionally, the UK version of the seventh series episode, Rheneas and the Roller Coaster with the new music was released on Bumper Party Collection! On 23rd May 2005.

This continued on 5th September 2005 with the ninth series, but that time, six episodes from the sixth series were used for the airings, thus six episodes from the seventh series were not, one of which was Rheneas and the Roller Coaster. However, they have all been released on home video in the US. The other five episodes are The Refreshment Lady's Tea Shop, Bad Day at Castle Loch, Snow Engine, The Runaway Elephant and The Grand Opening and they are the only episodes of the series to not have a known UK version with the new music.

Conversely, there are only seven episodes of the series known to have a US version with the original music. On the 2004 US VHS/DVD New Friends for Thomas, the episodes Gordon and Spencer, Emily's New Coaches, The Spotless Record and Peace and Quiet were re-narrated by Michael Angelis for American audiences and they retain the original music. On another 2004 US VHS/DVD, Thomas and the Jet Engine, the episodes Harold and the Flying Horse, Bulgy Rides Again and Salty's Stormy Tale are narrated by Michael Brandon as usual yet still retain their original compositions by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell.

This series also uses more stock footage than any other series to date, possibly due to the fact that it was filmed alongside Jack and the Sodor Construction Company.

Episodes

(Note: * means that an episode was released in the US with its original music).

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Written by Original UK release date Episode number #
Emily'sNewCoaches14Emily's New Coaches*Jan Page6th October 2003#01
On her first day, Emily takes Annie and Clarabel, which makes Thomas cross. He eventually forgives her after saving him from hitting a broken down Oliver.
PercyGetsitRight48Percy Gets it RightPaul Larson7th October 2003#02
Percy is worried over a wobbly line and tries to tell Sir Topham Hatt, but he is too late as Thomas sets off to collect a prize bull.
Bill,BenandFergus31Bill, Ben and FergusBrian Trueman8th October 2003#03
Bill and Ben become fed up with Fergus' orders and decide to rebel, which leads to trouble.
TheOldBridge6The Old Bridge
The Old Iron Bridge
Paul Larson9th October 2003#04
Skarloey puffs across a damaged bridge and ends up dangling over the river below. He becomes afraid to cross it again until Rheneas runs out of water on the bridge.
Edward'sBrassBand45Edward's Brass BandRobyn Charteris10th October 2003#05
Edward is excited when he is to take the brass band to a concert until a huge boiler from a ship knocks him on his side, leaving Bertie to take the brass band.
What'stheMatterwithHenry?39What's the Matter with Henry?George Tarry13th October 2003#06
Thomas, Percy and Henry are sent to collect coal trucks and take them to the docks. Henry is feeling ill but Thomas and Percy do not believe him and leave him a long line of trucks.
JamesandtheQueenofSodor38James and the Queen of SodorPaul Larson14th October 2003#07
Gordon is irritated with James' boasting so he tricks him into collecting the Queen of Sodor. James does not realise it is actually an old barge until he arrives.
TheRefreshmentLady'sTeaShop41The Refreshment Lady's Tea Shop
The Refreshment Lady's Stand
James Mason15th October 2003#08
The Refreshment Lady is very busy, so Peter Sam is chosen to take her around the railway to find a spot for her new tea shop.
TheSpotlessRecord60The Spotless Record
Spotless Record
*
Paul Larson16th October 2003#09
A new tank engine named Arthur has a spotless record, meaning he has never been naughty or had an accident. Thomas gets a cheeky idea and plays a trick on Arthur to spoil his spotless record.
Toby'sWindmill55Toby's Windmill
Toby and the Windmill
David Mitton (story)
Jan Page
17th October 2003#10
Toby's favorite place is the old windmill. One night, the windmill is put in danger when it is struck by lightning.
BadDayAtCastleLoch43Bad Day at Castle LochJenny McDade20th October 2003#11
Donald and Douglas are instructed to take a special load for Callan Castle's reopening. Disaster strikes when a fallen tree and landslide leave them stranded all night.
RheneasandtheRollerCoaster35Rheneas and the Roller CoasterJames Mason21st October 2003#12
Rheneas is concerned he may not be special enough for some schoolchildren until he is diverted onto an old mountain line and has a wild ride.
Salty'sStormyTale41Salty's Stormy Tale*Polly Churchill22nd October 2003#13
Salty becomes upset when Thomas and Percy make fun of him. On the way home, Salty and Fergus come across a lighthouse with its generator broken down.
SnowEngine59Snow Engine
Oliver the Snow Engine
Jenny McDade23rd October 2003#14
Oliver hates snow but changes his mind after he slips on some icy rails and he and Toad must spend the night crashed through a giant snowman.
SomethingFishy33Something FishyPaul Larson24th October 2003#15
Sir Topham Hatt is looking for engines to run the coastal line. Arthur wishes to, as he has already been there and sees it as his favourite place. Thomas is chosen instead and he complains about the smell of fish.
TheRunawayElephant29The Runaway ElephantGeorge Tarry27th October 2003#16
When Duncan is asked to take an elephant statue to a new park, he carelessly leaves behind the brake van.
PeaceAndQuiet32Peace and Quiet*Paul Larson28th October 2003#17
Murdoch arrives to help with the goods work but gets annoyed when Salty and Harvey continuously ask questions.
FergusBreakstheRules19Fergus Breaks the Rules
Thomas and the Search for Fergus
Jan Page29th October 2003#18
Diesel is sent to help Fergus at the Cement Works, where he tricks Fergus into venturing into the scrapyard.
BulgyRidesAgain60Bulgy Rides Again*Brian Trueman30th October 2003#19
More summer holidaymakers are flocking to Sodor, but Thomas and Emily are under maintenance, so Sir Topham Hatt puts Bulgy back into service.
HaroldAndTheFlyingHorse44Harold and the Flying Horse*Robin Kingsland31st October 2003#20
The Vicar is organising a Village Fete but Harold feels left out and wishes to help in some way. He gets his chance when Pegasus, the carthorse, gets stuck in a ditch.
TheGrandOpening54The Grand OpeningJames Mason3rd November 2003#21
Harold has engine trouble, so Sir Topham Hatt and Lady Hatt choose to ride the hot air balloon to the opening of a new station instead.
BestDressedEngine48Best Dressed EnginePolly Churchill4th November 2003#22
The engines are celebrating May Day and they are all decorated. James comes up with a "Best Dressed Engine" competition but Gordon sees decorations as undignified.
GordonAndSpencer49Gordon and Spencer*Lee Pressman5th November 2003#23
Gordon meets a splendid but arrogant streamliner named Spencer who is taking the Duke and Duchess of Boxford to a party. Gordon advises Spencer to take on water, but he refuses to listen.
NotSoHastyPuddings52Not So Hasty Puddings
Not So Hasty Cakes
Thomas and the Avalanche
Robyn Charteris6th November 2003#24
Thomas is cross with Elizabeth for telling him he is not reliable enough when Sir Topham Hatt assigns her to deliver some Christmas puddings to the harbor.
TrustyRusty45Trusty RustyJames Mason7th November 2003#25
Rusty alerts the other engines about damage to the Old Wooden Bridge, but Duncan does not trust him, especially when he needs more coal for the journey home and the nearest coal bunker is on the other side of the bridge.
ThreeCheersforThomas61Three Cheers for Thomas
Hooray for Thomas
Jan Page10th November 2003#26
Thomas takes some children to their annual sports day and starts to dream of winning a medal. Percy suggests having a race so Thomas races Bertie again, but he has to stop to help Sir Topham Hatt.

Songs

Screenshot Title Composers Original release date
FiveNewEnginesintheShed9Five New Engines in the ShedMike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
16th March 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)
Good morning sunshine, brand new day
Busy day for the railway...
JamesandtheRedBalloon70The Red BalloonMike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
23rd December 2004 (CHN; DVD)
There's so much to see on the Island of Sodor
Waterfalls and windmills, valleys of green...
FergusBreakstheRules41There Once Was an Engine Who Ran AwayMike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
23rd December 2004 (CHN; DVD)
There once was an engine who ran away,
Just up and went...
ToadStandsBy4Troublesome TrucksMike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
23rd December 2004 (CHN; DVD)
The engines always think they are so clever
And so they like to bump the trucks around...
Salty'sStormyTale63SaltyMike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
23rd December 2004 (CHN; DVD)
There's a dockside Diesel we know well
Who can spin a yarn...
It'sOnlySnow50The Whistle SongMike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
23rd December 2004 (CHN; DVD)
Engines all have whistles, as everybody knows.
And as they leave the station, you'll hear the whistle blow...

Characters

Characters Introduced

Trivia

  • This was the final series of many things:
    • David Mitton's final series as director.
    • Phil Fehrle's last main series as producer.
    • Peter Urie's last series as executive producer.
    • The final series to have Robin Kingsland, Brian Trueman and Jenny McDade write episodes for the series to date.
    • The final series to include music composed by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell and thus the final series to use the original opening credits and theme.
    • The final series dubbed by The Maidstone Studios.
    • The final series dubbed by Mike Erander.
    • The final series to have Britt Allcroft involved in production, as well as the only series to have her as script consultant before moving to America.
    • The final series produced with any of the above mentioned people's involvement.
    • The final series to use 35mm film.
    • The final series in 4:3 fullscreen in Japan (as well as the last series to be released on Japanese video tapes).
    • The final series to use music composed with Proteus 2, Prophet 2000, Proteus 1, Proteus 2000, Proteus 3 and Virtuoso 2000.
    • The final series of the main show to use stock footage from episodes produced by Clearwater Features.
    • The final series in Japan where episodes ended with a nameboard sequence of the characters featured.
    • The final series to feature Terence until the twenty-first series.
    • The final series to feature Donald and Douglas until the eleventh series.
    • The final series to feature Duck, Stepney and Oliver until the twelfth series.
    • The final series until the twelfth series to feature Toad with a face.
    • The final series to feature Duke.
    • The last series in which Robyn Charteris wrote episodes for the series until the thirteenth series.
    • The final series not dubbed in Greek and Portuguese.
    • The final series to feature Thomas' unused panicked face mask from the third series.
    • The second and final series sponsored by Milkybar on CiTV.
    • A spin-off series called Jack and the Sodor Construction Company was filmed in 2003 but was not released until 2006.
  • This was also the first series of several things:
    • Jocelyn Stevenson's first series as executive producer.
    • The first series to use the Thomas & Friends logo in the opening titles.
    • The first series where Edward, Toby, Duck and Cranky only speak in one episode each.
    • The first series not dubbed in Norwegian or Slovenian.
    • The first series produced by HiT Entertainment.
    • The first series not fully released on VHS in any country.
    • The first series where Thomas is given a new wincing face mask since the original made its last appearance in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
  • This marks the only series for several things:
    • The only series to have Jan Page, George Tarry and Polly Churchill as episode writers, as well as the only series to have them and Nickelodeon UK involved.
    • Jan Page's only series as script editor.
    • The only series to have all of its episodes recomposed with new, different soundtracks, which was done by Robert Hartshorne. They also use the eighth series intro with Engine Roll Call as the theme. In the sixth series, this only happened with six episodes.
    • The only series to have Lee Pressman write episodes for the series until the seventeenth series.
    • The only model series made in the 2000's that does not have Abi Grant involved.
    • The only series to use stock footage from music videos.
  • This series was never shown in Norway, Spain, Germany or Slovenia.
  • The CiTV broadcasts of this series saw the return of two episodes being compiled into one ten-minute block. The only difference is that the opening titles were shown again at the end of the first episode. At the same time, CiTV also compiled the previous episodes from the sixth series into ten-minute blocks.
  • This series was produced in association with Nickelodeon UK, as indicated by the endboard seen on Nick Jr. airings of the episodes.
  • The series was later aired from 5th January-16th February 2004 when it was rebroadcast on CiTV.
  • CiTV aired Snow Engine on Christmas Eve 2004 with two other episodes airing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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