The eighth series of Thomas & Friends was the first series produced entirely after HiT Entertainment's acquisition of Gullane Entertainment had completed. It was narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and Michael Brandon in the US. It first premiered on VHS or DVD in May 2004 before airing on television in August 2004 in the UK. It was also first broadcast in September 2004 in the US.

Production

After their purchase of Gullane, HiT Entertainment reformed the series. They created a main cast - the Steam Team. In order to establish its presence, all episodes would feature the eight characters in leading roles while other characters were relegated to supporting parts.

Along with the Steam Team came Learning Segments, which was HIT Entertainment's goal to insert an educational standpoint for the show especially for a 22-minute broadcast. The episodes running time was increased to 7 minutes and Sony camera equipment replaced the 35mm movie camera. 

According to Sam Barlow, these adjustments were made to help bring the series back to the United States. On top of those modifications, HiT Entertainment hired Robert Hartshorne as the new composer and Ed Welch as the new songwriter.

Episodes

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Written by Original UK release date Episode number #
ThomasandtheTuba13.png Thomas and the Tuba Dave Ingham 1 August 2004 #01
Thomas is so excited to collect the brass band that he leaves the tuba player behind.
Percy'sNewWhistle34.png Percy's New Whistle James Mason 1 August 2004 #02
Percy blasts his whistle louder and louder, not realising he is causing trouble for Thomas and Bertie.
ThomastotheRescue60.png Thomas to the Rescue Abi Grant
Paul Larson
8 August 2004 #03
Diesel gives Thomas a hard time at the quarry, but gets his comeuppance after taking on a batch of bad fuel.
HenryAndTheWishingTree19.png Henry and the Wishing Tree Abi Grant
Paul Larson
8 August 2004 #04
Henry wishes that he could pull the express, but he soon learns to be careful what to wish for.
JamesGetsANewCoat8.png James Gets a New Coat Abi Grant 15 August 2004 #05
After James gets repainted, he is too busy showing off to help Percy at the coaling plant.
ThomasSavesTheDay75.png Thomas Saves the Day James Mason 15 August 2004 #06
Thomas tries to tackle a dangerous bend without Annie and Clarabel's assistance.
Percy'sBigMistake70.png Percy's Big Mistake Abi Grant 22 August 2004 #07
Percy is frightened he will be sent to the scrapyards.
Thomas,EmilyandtheSnowplough55.png Thomas, Emily and the Snowplough Abi Grant 22 August 2004 #08
Thomas ignores Emily's advice to put on his snowplough.
Don'tTellThomas79.png Don't Tell Thomas Paul Larson 29 August 2004 #09
Thomas feels upset about being left out of a surprise that is being arranged, only to find out the surprise is for him.
Emily'sNewRoute76.png Emily's New Route James Mason 29 August 2004 #10
Emily is scared of a monster in Black Loch.
ThomasandtheFireworkDisplay80.png Thomas and the Firework Display Abi Grant
Paul Larson
5 September 2004 #11
Thomas is upset that James gets the task of delivering fireworks instead of him, but gets his chance when the splendid red engine brakes down.
GordonTakesCharge29.png Gordon Takes Charge Paul Larson 5 September 2004 #12
Percy has not taken passengers in a very long time, so Gordon teaches him how to treat coaches, but ends up showing off.
SpicAndSpan79.png Spic and Span Marc Seal 12 September 2004 #13
Thomas and Percy try to beat Gordon, Emily and James in a cleanliness competition.
EdwardtheGreat24.png Edward the Great Abi Grant 12 September 2004 #14
Edward races Spencer to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House.
SqueakRattleAndRoll27.png Squeak, Rattle and Roll Marc Seal 19 September 2004 #15
Gordon tries to go slowly so his squeaking and rattling will not be heard.
ThomasAndTheCircus93.png Thomas and the Circus Abi Grant 19 September 2004 #16
Thomas is told to take the circus train and to share the load with Percy and James due to its weight. Thomas wants all the glory, so he tries to pull the circus train all by himself.
ThomasGetsItRight60.png Thomas Gets it Right Robin Rigby 26 September 2004 #17
Thomas wants to make multiple journeys, but he is disappointed when he has to deliver eggs for Farmer McColl.
AsGoodasGordon27.png As Good as Gordon Abi Grant 26 September 2004 #18
Emily gets a chance to pull the express and tries to do as good of a job as Gordon.
Fish(Season8)21.png Fish Paul Larson 3 October 2004 #19
Thomas is sent to help Arthur on the coastal branch and is told to take only five trucks at a time, but Thomas wants to get the job over and done with.
Emily'sAdventure56.png Emily's Adventure Paul Larson 3 October 2004 #20
Emily learns to use her manners whilst collecting timber for repairing Farmer McColl's barn roof.
Halloween37.png Halloween Dave Ingham 10 October 2004 #21
Emily accidentally scares herself as well as Thomas, 'Arry and Bert.
YouCanDoItToby57.png You Can Do it, Toby! Paul Larson 10 October 2004 #22
Toby has to look after Wellsworth while Edward is at Brendam, but is nervous about being Gordon's banker.
JamesGoesTooFar53.png James Goes Too Far James Mason 17 October 2004 #23
James refuses to help his friends when given an important job.
ChickensToSchool59.png Chickens to School Paul Larson 17 October 2004 #24
A lack of sleep gets the better of Thomas as he mixes up his jobs.
TooHotForThomas48.png Too Hot for Thomas Paul Larson 24 October 2004 #25
Thomas is dismayed when he has to get ingredients to make ice cream on a hot day at the seaside.
PercyandtheMagicCarpet34.png Percy and the Magic Carpet Abi Grant 24 October 2004 #26
Percy is disappointed about delivering a carpet until Salty suggests it could be magic.

Songs

Screenshot Title Composers Original release date
Sounds(song)5.png Sounds Ed Welch 18 May 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)
"All Aboard!" and "Close the doors!"
Whistle blows and the engine roars...
Emily'sNewCoaches7.png Emily Ed Welch 15 August 2004 (UK)
There's no one quite like Emily
Friendly, emerald Emily...
SnowEngine41.png Surprises Ed Welch 29 August 2004 (UK)
Surprises, surprises, they come all shapes and sizes
You never know what's round the bend...
ThomasAndTheCircus39.png A World Around You Ed Welch 21 September 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)
Have a look about you, take in what you see
There's a world around you wherever you may be...
YouCanDoItToby57.png Determination Ed Welch 12 September 2004 (UK)
Don't give up, show determination.
Don't give up. You'll be a big sensation...
Patience16.png Patience Ed Welch 26 September 2004 (UK)
Patience is a virtue, so it never hurts to
Take a little time to see...
SqueakRattleAndRoll1.png Ode to Gordon Ed Welch 10 October 2004 (UK)
We'll sing a song for Gordon,
He's big, he's fast, he's proud...
EngineRollcall45.png Engine Roll Call Ed Welch 18 May 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)
They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight,
Shunting trucks and hauling freight...

Characters

Characters Introduced

Half Hour Format

Series 8 was the first series to use a half hour format to air Thomas & Friends, airing in the UK on Nick Jr., PBS Kids in the US and Treehouse in Canada. In the airing, two Series 8 episodes, one Series 7 episode, a few Learning Segments and a song were paired. In the Nick Jr. airings in the UK, Michael Angelis' narrations of Series 7 episodes are paired with Robert Hartshorne's music replacing Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell's music.

Sounds

Differences

Personality

  • James Gets a New Coat
  • Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Percy
  • Song: Emily
  • Best Dressed Engine
  • Learning Segment: Being Blue
  • Thomas Saves the Day

Listening

Surprises

Responsibility

Determination

Sharing

Patience

Difficulties

Confidence

Helping

Weather

Trivia

  • This was the first series of several things:
    • The first series since the third series where Diesel appears in more than one episode.
    • The first series with Paul Larson & Abi Grant as head writers (not counting Jack and the Sodor Construction Company).
    • Simon Spencer's first series as producer and show-runner.
    • The first series not to have Britt AllcroftDavid Mitton, Robert Gauld-Galliers, Mike O'Donnell, Junior Campbell, Phil Fehrle, Peter Urie, Jan Page, Brian Trueman, George Tarry, Jenny McDade, Polly Churchill, Robin Kingsland, Lee Pressman, Mike Erander, The Maidstone Studios and Gullane Entertainment involved in production at all since they began working on the show.
    • The first series in the US where all episode titles are the same as the UK.
    • Sam Barlow's first series as story executive.
    • Marc Seal's first series as a part of the writing team.
    • The first series of the main show to have Steve Asquith as a director, following the Jack and the Sodor Construction Company spin-off series. Stock footage directed by David Mitton, however, was used up to and including in Edward the Great and in music videos.
    • The first series to have music composed by Robert Hartshorne in the UK as Series 7 in the US used music by Robert Hartshorne, the UK did not until 2004.
    • The first series to have songs written by Ed Welch.
    • The first series to use the font, Flange BQ (Bold), for title cards and credits. replacing the Rockwell letter font
    • The first series in which Duck, Donald, Douglas, Oliver, Bill, Ben, Terence and the Skarloey Railway do not appear since their debuts, although Donald and Douglas were mentioned in one episode and they also appear in a deleted scene from another episode. Bill and Ben also appear in another deleted scene of yet another episode. Duck, Oliver, Rheneas and Rusty also made stock footage cameos in some songs.
    • The first series to use a new opening and closing title, the Island of Sodor introduction sequence and Engine Roll Call as the theme. The original opening, however, is used in the Greek version.
    • The first series shot using BetaCam videotape, as opposed to 35mm film.
    • The first series that established the Steam Team.
    • The first series to air on PBS outside of Shining Time Station.
    • The first series to air on American television in a half hour format since the fifth series on Fox Family's Storytime with Thomas.
    • The first series dubbed in Indonesian and European Spanish.
    • The first series to use the term 'steamie' to describe the steam engine characters.
    • The first series to not introduce any new engines, excluding the Halloween Engine.
    • The first series dubbed in German, Greek and Portuguese.
    • The first series to feature Thomas' unused anxious face mask from Series 3 since the PC game, Trouble on the Tracks.
    • The first series to feature Edward's unused sleepy and unamused face masks from Series 4.
    • The first series to feature Thomas' upset face mask since the fourth series episode, Paint Pots and Queens.
    • The first series since Series 5 where food items are transported in open wagons. According to Sam Barlow, this was done to visually reinforce the contents of rolling stock in order for young children to believe it.
  • This was also the last series of several things as well:
    • Abi Grant's second and last series as script editor.
    • The last series broadcast on CiTV in the UK, who would lose the license to Channel 5 in 2006.
    • The last series narrated by Leo Morimoto in Japan, as well as the last series to feature the original Japanese voice cast from Aoni Production.
    • The last series to feature stock footage from David Mitton before his death in 2008, thus also being the last series to use footage from the Britt Allcroft Company and Gullane Entertainment, with an exception of the Jack and the Sodor Construction Company spin-off series.
    • The last series to be completely released on VHS in the US.
    • The last series to see any VHS releases in the UK and Australia, despite being incomplete.
  • This was also the only series of several things as well:
    • Paul Larson's only series as script editor.
    • The only series Dave Ingham and Robin Rigby were a part of the writing team (not counting Rigby's cancelled Jack and the Sodor Construction Company episodes).
    • The only series to use an extended version of the theme for the end credits.
    • The only series in the HiT Entertainment era where the title cards are not read aloud by the narrator. This is also the last series in which this happens.
    • The only series in the HiT Entertainment era to feature Tidmouth Sheds in its original form before its rebuilt in Calling All Engines!
    • The only series in the model era to not have any narrow gauge engines since their introduction in the fourth series. They were also absent in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth series.
    • The only series where Percy is given a new wincing face.
  • This series contained the 200th episode of the television series which was As Good as Gordon.
  • A deleted scene from Squeak, Rattle and Roll suggests that Thomas would have appeared in the episode. Had he actually appeared, this would have been the first series where Thomas appears in every episode instead of the ninth series. Regardless of whether he would have spoken in the episode or not, the thirteenth series would still be the first series where Thomas speaks in every episode.
  • Only thirteen episodes of this series were aired to CITV on 3rd January-18th April 2005 and 1st June-24th August 2005 ending terrestrial television until October 2006 when the series had its new home, Channel 5's Milkshake for future use except the classic series which ended a year previously.
  • The Milkshake! rerun of Series 8 aired from 16th October-28th October 2006.

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