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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 broadcast in September 2004 in the US.

Production

After their purchase of Gullane, HiT Entertainment outlined the idea of forming 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, increasing the running time and using Sony camera equipment. According to Sam Barlow, these adjustments were made to help bring the series back to the United States. On top of those changes, HiT 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 #
ThomasandtheTuba13Thomas and the TubaDave Ingham1st August 2004#01
Thomas is so excited to collect the brass band that he leaves the tuba player behind.
Percy'sNewWhistle34Percy's New WhistleJames Mason1st August 2004#02
Percy blasts his whistle louder and louder, not realising he is causing trouble for Thomas and Bertie.
ThomastotheRescue60Thomas to the RescueAbi Grant
Paul Larson
8th August 2004#03
Diesel gives Thomas a hard time at the quarry, but gets his comeuppance after taking on a batch of bad fuel.
HenryAndTheWishingTree19Henry and the Wishing TreeAbi Grant
Paul Larson
8th August 2004#04
Henry wishes that he could pull the express, but he soon learns to be careful what to wish for.
JamesGetsANewCoat8James Gets a New CoatAbi Grant15th August 2004#05
After James gets repainted, he is too busy showing off to help Percy at the coaling plant.
ThomasSavesTheDay75Thomas Saves the DayJames Mason15th August 2004#06
Thomas tries to tackle a dangerous bend without Annie and Clarabel's assistance.
Percy'sBigMistake70Percy's Big MistakeAbi Grant22nd August 2004#07
Percy is frightened he will be sent to the scrapyards.
Thomas,EmilyandtheSnowplough55Thomas, Emily and the SnowploughAbi Grant22nd August 2004#08
Thomas ignores Emily's advice to put on his snowplough.
Don'tTellThomas79Don't Tell ThomasPaul Larson29th 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'sNewRoute76Emily's New RouteJames Mason29th August 2004#10
Emily is scared of a monster in Black Loch.
ThomasandtheFireworkDisplay80Thomas and the Firework DisplayAbi Grant
Paul Larson
5th September 2004#11
Thomas is upset that James gets the task of delivering fireworks instead of him.
GordonTakesCharge29Gordon Takes ChargePaul Larson5th September 2004#12
Percy is taking passengers for the first time in a long time, so Gordon teaches him how to treat coaches.
SpicAndSpan79Spic and SpanMarc Seal12th September 2004#13
Thomas and Percy try to beat the big engines in a cleanliness competition.
EdwardtheGreat24Edward the GreatAbi Grant12th September 2004#14
Edward races Spencer to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House.
SqueakRattleAndRoll27Squeak, Rattle and RollMarc Seal19th September 2004#15
Gordon tries to go slowly so his squeaking and rattling will not be heard.
ThomasAndTheCircus93Thomas and the CircusAbi Grant19th September 2004#16
Thomas is told to take the circus train and to share the load due to its weight. Thomas wants all the glory, so he tries to pull the circus train all by himself.
ThomasGetsItRight60Thomas Gets it RightRobin Rigby26th September 2004#17
Thomas wants to make multiple journeys but is disappointed when he has to deliver eggs for Farmer McColl.
AsGoodasGordon73As Good as GordonAbi Grant26th September 2004#18
Emily gets a chance to pull the express and tries to do as good of a job as Gordon.
Fish(Season8)21FishPaul Larson3rd 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'sAdventure56Emily's AdventurePaul Larson3rd October 2004#20
Emily learns to use her manners whilst collecting timber for repairing Farmer McColl's barn roof.
Halloween4HalloweenDave Ingham10th October 2004#21
Emily accidentally scares herself as well as Thomas, 'Arry and Bert.
YouCanDoItToby57You Can Do it, Toby!Paul Larson10th October 2004#22
Toby has to look after Wellsworth while Edward is at Brendam, but is nervous about being Gordon's banker.
JamesGoesTooFar53James Goes Too FarJames Mason17th October 2004#23
James refuses to help his friends when given an important job.
ChickensToSchool59Chickens to SchoolPaul Larson17th October 2004#24
Lack of sleep gets the better of Thomas as he mixes up his jobs.
TooHotForThomas48Too Hot for ThomasPaul Larson24th October 2004#25
Thomas is dismayed when he has to get ingredients to make ice cream on a hot day.
PercyandtheMagicCarpet34Percy and the Magic CarpetAbi Grant24th October 2004#26
Percy is disappointed about delivering a carpet until Salty suggests it could be magic.

Special

Songs

Screenshot Title Composers Original release date
Sounds(song)5SoundsEd Welch18th May 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)
"All Aboard!" and "Close the doors!"
Whistle blows and the engine roars...
Emily'sNewCoaches7EmilyEd Welch15th August 2004 (UK)
There's no one quite like Emily
Friendly, emerald Emily...
SnowEngine41SurprisesEd Welch29th August 2004 (UK)
Surprises, surprises, they come all shapes and sizes
You never know what's round the bend...
ThomasAndTheCircus39A World Around YouEd Welch21st 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...
YouCanDoItToby57DeterminationEd Welch12th September 2004 (UK)
Don't give up, show determination.
Don't give up. You'll be a big sensation...
Patience16PatienceEd Welch26th September 2004 (UK)
Patience is a virtue, so it never hurts to
Take a little time to see...
SqueakRattleAndRoll1Ode to GordonEd Welch10th October 2004 (UK)
We'll sing a song for Gordon,
He's big, he's fast, he's proud...
EngineRollcall45Engine Roll CallEd Welch1st August 2004 (UK)
They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight,
Shunting trucks and hauling freight...

Characters

Characters Introduced

Introduced in Calling All Engines!

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 produced by HiT Entertainment.
    • The first series with Steve Asquith as head writer, however, episodes with Britt Allcroft as head writer are used in the middle of the television airings.
    • 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 entirely directed by Steve Asquith, 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 and songs by Ed Welch.
    • The first series to use the font, Flange BQ (Bold), for title cards and credits.
    • 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.
  • 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 use stock footage from episodes produced by The Britt Allcroft Company and Gullane Entertainment.
    • 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, though 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 to not have any narrow gauge engines since their introduction in the fourth series.
  • This series contained the 200th episode of the television series which was As Good as Gordon.
  • When broadcast on CiTV from 2005-2006, the episodes were shown with a different theme arrangement and lacked the Engine Roll Call before the credits.
  • 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 on CITV from September 2005 where it ended the terrestrial television rights and later aired after the tenth series and before the ninth series aired on Channel 5.

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