“Hello Toby, what are you doing looking at old tin
Toby's Special Surprise
Series 12 saw the beginning of a brand new hybrid model-CGI partnership, which sadly, will only last one full
series. The wooden models used for people were replaced by moving CGI people and the static faces were used in conjunction
with CGI elements which allowed the engines faces to move, creating a more realistic and innovative version of the Island
of Sodor we have come to know and love, with smaller additons to add realism such as flocks of birds in the sky. The
CGI elements were provided by Nitrogen Studios in Canada, who were very excited in the opportunity on bringing new life to
a classic series.
The biggest surprises of the series had to be the continued presence of Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon –
when Pierce Brosnan had been touted as the new Storyteller for Thomas and Friends. But the surprises continued to come
as neglected characters and models came back to the fold - with the returns of Duck, Oliver, Toad, Stepney, Murdoch, Jack,
Alfie and a range of others who were brought out to mark the final model series.The Great
Discovery was heavily acknowledged also with
both Stanley and Great Waterton itself playing a heavily featured role in the series.
In conjunction with this also, the trend of using characters outwith the ‘core base’ continued also
with both Rosie and Freddie receiving leading roles in two stories of the series.
Once again, this year will see only 20 episodes broadcast and this will be the swan-song for the model unit production
team, and the last of the old guard who have worked with Thomas for 25 years such as Terry and Nigel Permane, David Eves and
Steve Asquith. Prior to his passing in May of 2008, former Producer / Director, David Mitton regarded it as “The end of 25 years of quality film work.”
it is film work that has made a lasting impact and impression on children and those young at heart everywhere. And we'd
like to thank them all for every painstaking moment of their time in doing so.
Hank the American Engine
Flora the Steam Tram
Colin the Crane
Michael Angelis (UK)
Michael Brandon (US)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Christopher
DIRECTOR (Model Set
CGI ANIMATION DIRECTOR (Nitrogen Studios)
In 2013, we
ran a poll on Series 12 to determine what the best episodes of the Series were
as well as what else fans enjoyed about it.Best characters, episodes, and aspects of production are included and
broken down in our poll results blog! Series
12 marked the transitional end for the model unit on Thomas & Friends and
the beginning of the new CGI era, with CGI faces and people being added into
the mix on the Island of Sodor.
12.1 - Thomas and the Billboard
by Mark Robertson
Knapford Station is celebrating its birthday, and to mark the occasion, the Fat Controller has commissioned a special
photograph of his engines to stand as a billboard at the station. The photographer, having trouble fitting
all the engines in, asks Diesel to draw forward, and he unintentionally obscures Thomas. When Thomas sees he's not in
the picture, he lapses concentration and loses the new billboard. The photographer agrees to take another - but
Thomas is determined to keep Diesel out of it, thinking he shut him out on purpose. The engines abandon their jobs repeatedly
throughout the day to attend the photography, much to the annoyance of the Fat Controller - who has to send Diesel to
cover them, and finds everyone at Tidmouth waiting to be photographed. But when Thomas finds out Diesel didn't shut
him out deliberately, the engines allow him into the picture, and Thomas agrees to do all Diesel's work to make up for
all the time lost - so they can all enjoy the party later that evening!
12.2 - Steady Eddie
by Sharon Miller
Edward is asked to take a brand new water wheel to Great Waterton. Feeling the pride of the job, Edward decides
to show off to his friends and chooses not to take the Express line as he has been designated to do, and instead chooses to
go a longer route where more people and engines will see him. However, when he takes a bumpier line, the ropes holding
the waterwheel start to cut through the brass covering of the waterwheel - which eventually cut loose on Gordon's Hill, and
sends the wheel bouncing down the line to land on Gordon's truck of scrap iron heading for the Smelter's. Edward
gives chase and reaches the Smelter's before Gordon, saving the water wheel from being melted down and gets it to Great Waterton
for display after all.
12.3 - Rosie's Funfair Special / Rosie's Carnival Special (US)
Written by Andrew Viner
Rosie is disappointed when she is only asked to be Emily's back engine when delivering the Funfair Special from the
Docks to Maithwaite. Enroute, Rosie decides to help Emily by taking half of the train herself, and does this by breaking
the couplings in the middle of the train - not knowing Emily is already at the other end. On the way, more couplings
break and send their loads all over the line, one of which derails Emily, until Rosie arrives with only two trucks
- much to the annoyance of the Fat Controller. However, she goes back and makes amends by putting everything right,
and then agrees to be Emily's back engine, as intended originally.
12.4 - Mountain Marvel
by Sharon Miller
Peter Sam is excited to hear that Mary Marvel, the famous storyteller will be coming to the Island to tell stories
at a special show. In his haste to get back in time for Mary's show, Peter Sam decides to take a shortcut back
to the Transfer Yards - only to come across an old statue of Proteus on a flatbed. He is determined to be the star
of the show by bringing it down and asks all the other engines not to go down the shortcut. However,
when he goes to take it back, Peter Sam finds that the statue and the milk churns he is carrying are too heavy to handle,
and ends up crashing into the buffers and spilling the contents of the churns. Instead, he asks his friends to help
him out, and Freddie takes the statue to the party in his place. Sadly, Peter Sam misses the storytelling, but makes
it back just in time for the unveiling of the statue - and declares that they are all the stars of the show.
12.5 - Henry Gets It Wrong
Written by Abi Grant
The Sodor Wishing Tree is struck by lightning, and Henry is asked to take some special engineers to the site.
Edward tells Henry that sometimes, special engineers have to cut trees down - and this worries him. Henry then makes
a plan to prevent the engineers from getting there - and takes trucks from Thomas, Percy, Toby and Emily to block
all the lines to the Wishing Tree so that no-one can get at it. However, when Salty brings the engineers in his place
and can't get through, Harold warns Henry that it's totally necessary - the workmen need to save the tree. So Henry
does the right thing and moves the trucks out of the way and completes the deliveries for the other engines. And Henry
is most pleased when the workmen save the tree.
12.6 - Heave-Ho Thomas!
Written by Sharon Miller
Thomas is set to work with Hank, an engine who the Fat Controller has brought from America. However, when Hank
makes mention of the fact that Thomas is small when complimenting him, Thomas sees red and decides to show Hank that he is
as strong and useful as any engine. Time and again as they set about their work, Thomas refuses Hank's help with the
train he is pulling - until he bursts a cylinder and he is forced to admit, he does need Hank's help after all! Hank
is gracious and helps Thomas go about finishing all the jobs in time for Hank's welcome party at Knapford.
12.7 - Toby's Special Surprise
by Sharon Miller
When Thomas, Emily and Henry are given special jobs and he isn't, Toby thinks it is because his friends have all
found something special in the past, such as the seals at Black Loch, the Flagpole for the Scottish Castle and Great Waterton.
Before going to do his own job, Toby decides to go off and discover something of his own, so that the Fat Controller
will think he is special too. However, all Toby comes across are old tin cans and a wellington boot stuck in a tree,
which make him late for collecting workmen going to Great Waterton. And to make matters worse, when he comes across
something shiny in the long grass at the side of the line, he runs out of coal. However, Toby manages to attract the
attention of The Fat Controller and Whiff who come to find Toby, and tell him he is special after all. And when
Rocky lifts the old metal out of the grass, they find it is special after all - it's the sign for the old Great Waterton Tram
Shed, and Toby feels very proud of it.
12.8 - Excellent Emily
by Paul Larson
Winter storm has caused trouble all over the Island, and Emily is the only engine to complete her work in time. The
Fat Controller compliments her by calling her ‘Excellent Emily’, and sends her to fetch Trevor for an important
job at the Airport. However, the praise goes to her smokebox, so much so that she disregards the advice of Murdoch,
Thomas and Duck - only to come up against several obstacles, until she sinks in muddy tracks, and Murdoch has to rescue her.
She then realises that she needs to listen to her friends, and asks Murdoch what route would be best to take to the Airport.
She arrives safe and sound with Trevor, who clears the runway in time for Jeremy the Jet to land, and Emily admits that all
the Fat Controller's engines are excellent.
12.9 - The Surprise Party
Written by Simon Spencer
Colin the Crane works at the Wharf, fixed firmly in place, and feels left out of Mr Percival's Christmas celebrations,
which are always held at his house, next to the Narrow Gauge sheds. Freddie decides to bring the party down to Colin
at the Wharf and arranges for everything to be moved without telling the Thin Controller. Freddie's silliness almost
causes them to lose the Christmas tree which is taken away on a barge before he finally catches up with it and saves it.
In the end, he does speak to the Thin Controller who agrees to have the party at the Wharf so that Colin can be part
of the celebrations.
12.10 - Saved You
by Paul Larson
When a Fireman saves Lady Hatt's cat, Thomas begins to wonder if he can be a hero as well. However, when
he does try acts of heroism, everything seems to go wrong for him. A Water Tower due to go on Duck's flatbed falls and
smashes...Harvey is diverted away from a fallen tree, which he is due to remove from the line anyway...! And when Thomas
"saves" Toby from being hit by Gordon, he finds he's made another mistake - as Gordon was bringing an engineer to fix him!
In the end, Thomas decides to go and put everything right and asks Percy to collect the Fireman for the medal ceremony in
his place. But, he does end up saving the day after all when he finds Bertie the bus stuck in mud, helps the children
to the ceremony on time.
12.11 - Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon
Written by Mark Robertson
Mr Percival decides to give the twins a change for their birthday treat by hiring in a Hot Air Balloon instead of having
Duncan take them for their usual train ride. But Duncan feels disappointed, and when he's asked to take the Hot Air
Balloon to Mr Percival's house, he does everything he can to get rid of it - to the point where it floats away, and then comes
crashing down on Mr Percival's weather vane - tearing a hole in the balloon. Mr Percival tells Duncan that he was going
to be part of the twins' birthday treat by bringing them to the house, but instead, Duncan decides to put things right by
collecting the Balloon Repair man to fix the balloon so the twins can still get their treat.
12.12 - James Works It Out
Written by Simon Spencer
One winter's day, James, Stanley and Thomas are working with trucks and need to make deliveries to Great Waterton.
Hector the Hopper is concerned about the bad weather, but James objects to his warnings and decides to do things his
way instead for fear of being shown up by Hector. However, when they run into trouble after going the wrong route, James
knows he needs Hector's help in getting the train to Great Waterton, and is very grateful when they do finally arrive safe
12.13 - Tram Trouble
by Sharon Miller
Thomas is pleased to hear that Toby is to lead the first Great Waterton parade, however, begins to fret when he discovers
that he is to share the honour with Flora, a new steam tram on the Island. So when Thomas is asked by the Fat Controller
to let Flora meet Toby, he continually sidetracks her, hoping that Toby will leave the shed and lead the parade on his
own. However, the plan backfires when Flora eventually runs out of coal at Arlesdale End. But Toby is glad to
see her, as he was worried about leading the parade on his own, and so Thomas allows Flora to take some of his coal and head
for Great Waterton with Toby, while he goes off to collect something very special from the Docks - a brand new tram
car for Flora to pull.
12.14 - Don't Go Back
Written by Simon Spencer
Diesel challenges Thomas to a race around the Quarry to determine who's the faster of them both. However, when
the two engines begin racing, they cause all sorts of trouble around the yard - with Thomas crashing into Diesel at the Hopper,
then bashing Mavis as she's getting a washdown, and finally, the two of them crashing into 'Arry and Bert and sending
them through the back of the engine sheds. But Thomas soon learns sense when he realises they've both forgotten to fill
Henry's order. Thomas sets about fixing everything by helping Mavis, 'Arry and Bert back to safety, and arranging
Henry's trucks. But, the two engines decide to have one more race - and this time, they both win!
12.15 - Gordon Takes A Shortcut
Written by Wayne Jackman
Gordon and Stanley are both due to take passenger trains to Great Waterton; however, the engine that arrives first
gets to take important passengers, whilst the other has to take workmen. Gordon is adamant he'll win, and decides to
go a different way from his Express Line to beat Stanley to Great Waterton. However, on his way, he ends up in
some very unfamiliar locations and refuses to ask for directions as to where he's going. His unfamiliarity gets the
better of him when he runs into Ben's trucks at the timber yard, causing him to lose his logs, which spill down the hillside
to the tracks below into Stanley's pathway. Gordon decides now he needs the help of the other engines to save Stanley,
and asks Ben, Oliver and Toad to point him in the right direction to the lower line, and reaches Stanley just in time.
Gordon graciously allows Stanley to go on to Great Waterton ahead of him to collect the important visitors.
12.16 - The Man In The Hills
by Sharon Miller
Its Mr Percival's birthday and the little engines are throwing him a party, with Sir Handel telling a story of
The Man in the Hills - a man all dressed in white. Thomas decides, as a special treat, to bring The Man in
the Hills to Mr Percival's party and asks all the little engines to wait while he finds him. However, Thomas finds
two men who fit his description - a Dairy manager and a Baker, both of whom aren't The Man in the Hills.
The little engines are cross because Thomas has held up their plans, and Thomas decides to go and make everything right.
But on the way to the party, Thomas and Freddie find something special etched into the side of a hill - a white figure, who
they realise could well be The Man in the Hills... it's the perfect venue for Mr Percival's party and for Sir Handel to tell
12.17 - Thomas Puts The Brakes On
by Mark Robertson
Thomas is to deliver some special blocks to repair the Sodor River Bridge, but his brakes are continually failing throughout
the journey, causing him to lose the blocks on bends and when he has to make an emergency stop on Gordon's Hill. However,
Thomas won't admit he needs help to Stanley, and eventually, this lands him in trouble as he ends up dangling over the
raging river below when his brakes fail again at the Bridge. In the end, Thomas does admit he needs Stanley's help and
with the help of Murdoch and Rocky, they go off together to find the missing blocks that Thomas lost, and thanks to Stanley,
both Thomas's brakes and the bridge are mended again.
12.18 - Percy and the Bandstand
Written by Paul Larson
Percy is chosen to bring Lady Hatt to a special surprise concert at Great Waterton where Jack and Alfie have been
helping to build a new bandstand. But when Percy collects her, Lady Hatt thinks he is to take her on a tour of her favourite
places - which will make them late. So after feeding the ducks, seeing Dusty Miller and going to the forest to pick
Bluebells, Percy is running late, and he has to use his "Do As I Say Whistle" to attract Lady Hatt's attention and
take her to her special surprise destination without spoiling the surprise. The Fat Controller is pleased with Percy
for not spoiling the surprise and getting Lady Hatt to the concert in time.
12.19 - Push Me Pull You
Written by Sharon Miller
A Puppet Show is coming to the hills of Sodor, and Skarloey wants to pull the Puppet Show Special. However,
it's a very heavy train and he doesn't want to share, even with his best friend, Rheneas. So when they have a tug of
war to decide who will pull the train - the coupling on Rheneas's end breaks, sending Skarloey speeding down the hill, causing
him to crash into Duncan and Rusty, before landing in the pond, and has to be rescued by Rheneas, who takes over the Puppet
Show Special, whilst he goes back to put things right, and arrives just in time to see the Puppet show with his best friend,
12.20 - Best Friends
by Anna Starkey
Percy is desperate to pull the Brass Band to a special concert at Great Waterton, so when Thomas is chosen to pull
them instead, he feels bad and cannot bring himself to tell Percy, and goes about his work with the utmost secrecy, doing
all he can to avoid being spotted by Percy - at the Washdown and on route to meet the band at Brendam Docks, where Percy
soon catches him out, and feels very hurt that Thomas never told him. Thomas feels guilty, and strikes a deal with the
Fat Controller to let Percy bring the Brass Band home again. Percy is delighted, and Thomas is proud to have his best
friend back again.