Surprise Adventures is an audiobook released in 1998 by MCI on cassette in the UK. It was later rereleased in 2000 by ABC Music and EMI on cassette and CD in Australia. It features all ten songs from Series 5, along with a story written by Alec Reid and narrated by Michael Angelis.
Thomas' adventures began one winter when the mail arrived late from the mainland. Very soon, he was helping Harold the Helicopter with a daring rescue. As you listen to this brand new story, you will discover you can have fun joining in with ten songs about Thomas and his friends.
The engines are resting after Christmas but more work needs to be done. The Fat Controller explains to Thomas that the Christmas mail is delayed and that he and Percy are to take it. However after a rather silly accident involving Percy, Thomas is to take all the mail, leaving him puffed out the next morning.
Thomas is ready for work again and on the way he explains to Percy that he will soon be rescued. As he is working he discovers Donald's duck, Dilly, who is stranded on the ice and cannot move due to an injured wing. However, Harold comes to the rescue, and Thomas and friends look after her, despite her nonstop quacking.
Spring soon arrives, followed by Summer. Thomas is needed to take seven coaches to Gordon, but Thomas needs help and Bill and Ben are the only engines left. In the end, the Fat Controller agrees that Bill and Ben can help.
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Henry (does not speak)
- Gordon (does not speak)
- Donald (mentioned)
- It's Great to be an Engine
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Accidents Will Happen
- Night Train
- The Snow Song
- Harold the Helicopter
- Donald's Duck
- Percy's Seaside Trip
- Every Cloud has a Silver Lining
- Come for the Ride
- On the UK song list, a small advert for the VHS Spooks and Surprises can be seen.
- Six of the songs on this audiobook were later reused on Thomas' Songs and Roundhouse Rhythms, three on the full release of Thomas' Train Yard Tracks and the last on the sampler version of the latter.
- The UK cover was reused from the 1997 VHS Playtime.
- This was the only Thomas audiobook released by MCI (VCI's music division).
- The episodes, Thomas Comes to Breakfast, Down the Mine and Thomas, Terence and the Snow are referenced.
- The original master was split into two halves for the cassette releases, but was joined together for the CD release where Snow Song fades out and a wind effect fades in. The earlier audiobook release Thomas and the Best-Kept Station Competition retains its original split with a gradual fade out and fade in of the two halves.
- The line "Thomas explained the situation to the driver" after Donald's duck calls for help suggests that the engines are able to understand animals, whereas their drivers cannot.
- This audiobook marks Dilly's only speaking role to date. Throughout the story, she is never mentioned by name but is addressed as "Donald's duck".
- The CD release came as a bonus with a unique version of the Australian Thomas and the Jet Engine DVD, while being a later pressing it uses the exact same data as on the standalone CD release of three years prior. The disc printing is almost identical with exception of the Digital Audio Technologies Australia logo being absent due to the disc being pressed by a different company.
- There was a re-release of the standalone CD in 2003 that used the same disc as seen in the Australian Thomas and the Jet Engine DVD and CD gift set. It has the same artwork as the original CD release, but a new barcode sticker is placed on the case over the original printed one. The case of this release also lacks the Digital Audio Technologies Australia logo; however, it is present on the disc despite being made by the same company as the CD included with the DVD that lacked this logo.
- Due to Thomas stating that he had the accident with the Ffarquhar Stationmaster's House the previous year, the story of the audiobook logically takes place between Winter of 1961 and Summer of 1962. Despite this, Donald's duck makes an appearance despite not being introduced until after Douglas rescued Oliver from scrap which was in the late 60s.
- On the track list for the UK release, the song Sir Topham Hatt is misspelt as "Sir Topham Hat".
- The intro theme was incorrectly mixed and has the main piano, drums and bass tracks almost solely on the right channel while the other instruments retain their original mix.
- There is an audible pop during the opening theme at the start that is present on all releases of the audiobook.
- On the inner sleeve of the Australian CD release, Nickelodeon as misspelt as "Nikelodeon".