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.
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 running time was increased to 8 minutes and Sony camera equipment replaced the 35mm film.
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.
|Screenshot||UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Written by||Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|Thomas and the Tuba||Dave Ingham||1st August 2004||#01|
|Thomas is so excited to collect the brass band that he leaves the tuba player behind.|
|Percy's New Whistle||James Mason||1st August 2004||#02|
|Percy blasts his whistle louder and louder, not realising he is causing trouble for Thomas and Bertie.|
|Thomas to the Rescue||Abi Grant|
|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.|
|Henry and the Wishing Tree||Abi Grant|
|8th August 2004||#04|
|Henry wishes that he could pull the express, but he soon learns to be careful what to wish for.|
|James Gets a New Coat||Abi Grant||15th August 2004||#05|
|After James gets repainted, he is too busy showing off to help Percy at the coaling plant.|
|Thomas Saves the Day||James Mason||15th August 2004||#06|
|Thomas tries to tackle a dangerous bend without Annie and Clarabel's assistance.|
|Percy's Big Mistake||Abi Grant||22nd August 2004||#07|
|Percy is frightened he will be sent to the scrapyards.|
|Thomas, Emily and the Snowplough||Abi Grant||22nd August 2004||#08|
|Thomas ignores Emily's advice to put on his snowplough.|
|Don't Tell Thomas||Paul Larson||29th 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's New Route||James Mason||29th August 2004||#10|
|Emily is scared of a monster in Black Loch.|
|Thomas and the Firework Display||Abi Grant|
|5th 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.|
|Gordon Takes Charge||Paul Larson||5th 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.|
|Spic and Span||Marc Seal||12th September 2004||#13|
|Thomas and Percy try to beat Gordon, Emily and James in a cleanliness competition.|
|Edward the Great||Abi Grant||12th September 2004||#14|
|Edward races Spencer to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House.|
|Squeak, Rattle and Roll||Marc Seal||19th September 2004||#15|
|Gordon tries to go slowly so his squeaking and rattling will not be heard.|
|Thomas and the Circus||Abi Grant||19th 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.|
|Thomas Gets it Right||Robin Rigby||26th September 2004||#17|
|Thomas wants to make multiple journeys, but he is disappointed when he has to deliver eggs for Farmer McColl.|
|As Good as Gordon||Abi Grant||26th September 2004||#18|
|Emily gets a chance to pull the express and tries to do as good of a job as Gordon.|
|Fish||Paul Larson||3rd 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's Adventure||Paul Larson||3rd October 2004||#20|
|Emily learns to use her manners whilst collecting timber for repairing Farmer McColl's barn roof.|
|Halloween||Dave Ingham||10th October 2004||#21|
|Emily accidentally scares herself as well as Thomas, 'Arry and Bert.|
|You Can Do it, Toby!||Paul Larson||10th October 2004||#22|
|Toby has to look after Wellsworth while Edward is at Brendam, but is nervous about being Gordon's banker.|
|James Goes Too Far||James Mason||17th October 2004||#23|
|James refuses to help his friends when given an important job.|
|Chickens to School||Paul Larson||17th October 2004||#24|
|Lack of sleep gets the better of Thomas as he mixes up his jobs.|
|Too Hot for Thomas||Paul Larson||24th October 2004||#25|
|Thomas is dismayed when he has to get ingredients to make ice cream on a hot day at the seaside.|
|Percy and the Magic Carpet||Abi Grant||24th October 2004||#26|
|Percy is disappointed about delivering a carpet until Salty suggests it could be magic.|
|Screenshot||Title||Composers||Original release date|
|Sounds||Ed Welch||18th May 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)|
|Emily||Ed Welch||15th August 2004 (UK)|
|Surprises||Ed Welch||29th August 2004 (UK)|
|A World Around You||Ed Welch||21st September 2004 (US; VHS/DVD)|
|Determination||Ed Welch||12th September 2004 (UK)|
|Patience||Ed Welch||26th September 2004 (UK)|
|Ode to Gordon||Ed Welch||10th October 2004 (UK)|
|Engine Roll Call||Ed Welch||1st August 2004 (UK)|
- 'Arry and Bert
- Annie and Clarabel
- Troublesome Trucks
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Farmer McColl
- Sodor Brass Band
- The Dockyard Manager
- The Coaling Plant Manager
- Anopha Quarry Manager
- Stephen Hatt (not named)
- Murdoch (does not speak)
- Trevor (does not speak)
- Lady Hatt (does not speak)
- Refreshment Lady (does not speak)
- Allicia Botti (does not speak)
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford (do not speak)
- Henrietta (cameo)
- George (cameo)
- Caroline (cameo)
- Butch (cameo)
- Tiger Moth (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Nancy (cameo)
- Cyril the Fogman (cameo)
- The Photographer (cameo)
- The Storyteller (cameo)
- The Captain (cameo)
- Harold's Pilots (cameo)
- Toad (faceless; cameo)
- Bulstrode (faceless; cameo)
- City of Truro (picture cameo)
- The Mayor of Sodor (mentioned)
- Mr. Jolly (factory logo cameo; mentioned)
- Duck (music video cameo)
- Oliver (music video cameo)
- Rheneas (music video cameo)
- Rusty (music video cameo)
- The Fisherman (mentioned, music video cameo)
- Bill and Ben (deleted scene)
- Donald and Douglas (mentioned, music video/deleted scene cameo)
- Lorry 2 (scrap model cameo)
- The Ice-Cream Factory Manager
- The Black Suited Railway Inspector
- The Halloween Engine (does not speak)
- The Clowns (do not speak)
- Kuffy the Clown (not named; does not speak)
- Farmer Collett (cameo)
- The Dairy Manager (cameo)
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.
- Thomas and the Tuba
- Learning Segment: Which Whistle Suits Thomas
- Song: Sounds
- Peace and Quiet
- Learning Segment: Sounds
- Percy's New Whistle
- Thomas to the Rescue
- Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Gordon
- Learning Segment: Steamies and Diesels Sounds
- Emily's New Coaches
- Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Thomas, Henry and Toby
- Henry and the Wishing Tree
- James Gets a New Coat
- Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Percy
- Song: Emily
- Best Dressed Engine
- Learning Segment: Being Blue
- Thomas Saves the Day
- Percy's Big Mistake
- Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - James
- Learning Segment: How Does Emily Get to the Station?
- Gordon and Spencer
- Learning Segment: Percy Pulls Out of the Station
- Thomas, Emily and the Snowplough
- Don't Tell Thomas
- Learning Segment: Toby is Surprised to see...
- Song: Surprises
- James and the Queen of Sodor
- Learning Segment: Surprise Destination
- Emily's New Route
- Thomas and the Firework Display
- Learning Segment: Thomas Trundles out of the Station
- Bill, Ben and Fergus
- Learning Segment: Thomas and the Mast
- Learning Segment: Being on Time
- Gordon Takes Charge
- Spic and Span
- Learning Segment: Thomas and Percy play Hide and Seek
- Song: Determination
- Not So Hasty Puddings/Not So Hasty Cakes
- Learning Segment: Truck Trouble
- Edward the Great
- Squeak, Rattle and Roll
- Learning Segment: Which Way Should Thomas and Emily Go?
- Learning Segment: Sharing
- Percy Gets it Right
- Learning Segment: Sharing Trucks
- Thomas and the Circus
- Thomas Gets it Right
- Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Emily
- Song: Patience
- What's the Matter with Henry?
- Learning Segment: The Children Wait for Gordon
- As Good as Gordon
- Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Edward
- Learning Segment: What Thomas needs to do in the Winter
- The Old Iron Bridge
- Learning Segment: Helping One Another
- Emily's Adventure
- Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Emily
- Song: Ode to Gordon
- Trusty Rusty
- Learning Segment: What Makes Percy Feel Better?
- You Can Do it, Toby!
- James Goes Too Far
- Learning Segment: Henry Huffs out of the Station
- Three Cheers for Thomas
- Learning Segment: Getting There
- Learning Segment: Edward Helps Emily up Gordon's Hill
- Chickens to School
- Too Hot for Thomas
- Learning Segment: Painting James
- Song: A World Around You
- Salty's Stormy Tale
- Learning Segment: How does Thomas Get to the Timber Yards?
- Percy and the Magic Carpet
- 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 Steve Asquith as head writer.
- Simon Spencer's first series as producer and show-runner.
- The first series with Michael Brandon as the narrator
- The first series not to have Britt Allcroft, David 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 in the UK as season 7 in the US used music by Robert Hartshorne, UK did nott 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 hurt face mask from Series 3 since the PC game, Trouble on the Tracks.
- The first series to feature Edward's unused unamused face mask from Series 4.
- The first series to feature Thomas' upset face mask since the fourth series episode, Paint Pots and Queens.
- 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 Classic Series, with an exception of the Jack and the Sodor Construction Company spin-off series.
- The last series to use stock footage from episodes produced by 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 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 to not have any narrow gauge engines since their introduction in the fourth 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 14th February-20th July 2005 and 5th July-28th September 2006 ending terrestrial television, the tenth series had started on Milkshake when the eleventh episode, Fish was shown to CITV. The final episode in this airing was Chickens to School. This series then aired on Milkshake from October to November 2006 before showing the repeats of Series 9.