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Friday, 30 April 2010

Thomas UK website videos update

The UK Thomas & Friends website's videos section has been given an update. Previously, there was only an odd number of over 20 videos whereas the US website has 62 which left us UK fans left out.

But, the UK website now has all the videos from the US website, but in their respective narration and voices which means that the british version also has 62 videos.
The videos also include the exclusive Who's This? interactive clips that feature Kevin, Charlie, Hiro, Victor and others rather than the Steam Team.

The videos can now be seen on the website's videos page for the UK. 

Monday, 26 April 2010

Thomas on the Little Big Club DVD

Thomas is featured in Hit Entertainment's first Little Big Club DVD. The DVD features 6 episodes from some of Hit's television series including Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu and Barney.

The collection also includes 3 downloadable colouring sheets, a Thomas & Friends sing-a-long music video and a Fireman Sam interactive DVD Game.

The DVD runs at 85 minutes and will feature the Thomas & Friends 65th anniversary promo trailer. 

amazon.com's page of the DVD includes a 30 second trailer of the release:
The synopsis of the DVD reads:
The Little Big Club: Collection One invites you to join in the fun with your favourite friends.

Watch all new episodes from Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Angelina and Fireman Sam and great episodes from Barney and Pingu.

Play with unrivalled special features including 3 downloadable colouring-in sheets, a sing-a-long song and interactive game. Its time to 'Watch & Play' with 'The Little Big Club'.

Episodes include:
- Fireman Sam - New Hero Next Door
- Thomas & Friends - Play Time
- Bob The Builder - Scoop The Artist
- Angelina Ballerina - Angelina's Crazy Solo
- Pingu - Pingu's Balancing Act
- Barney - Magic Caboose/BJ The Great

DVD Extras include:
- Fireman Sam's Interactive Game - Radar to the Rescue
- Thomas' Sing-a-long Song - You're the Leader
- Bob's Classic Mini Project - Rowdy Roley
- Angelina Ballerina's Little Stars - Homemade Costumes
- Colouring-In Time with Barney, Pingu and Angelina

The DVD hits UK shelves next Monday on May 3rd.

Hero of the Rails wins BVA award

Hit Entertainment's marketing campaign for Thomas & Friends - Hero of the Rails was honoured at last week's British Video Association awards. The 60-minute special picked up the Children's Marketing Initiative of the Year. 

It was promoted through TV, print and online advertising, a special microsite, a Leicester Square cinema premiere in 53 VUE cinema screenings nationwide, promotional merchandise, including a booklet, branded badge and whistle set and free poster, as well as tie in competitions and retail promotions.
Brand Manager of Hit Entertainment, Victoria Bushell said, I am thrilled with the win for Hero of the Rails, which became Hit Entertainment's highest selling new DVD release last year. We were up against some really strong campaigns and delighted the judges awarded ours as the best.

This is the second year in a row that Hit has been awarded in the category at the BVA's. In 2009, Hit was awarded for the campaign surrounding Thomas & Friends - The Great Discovery.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Thomas boosts Mattel Q1 profits

Toy maker Mattel Inc. are pleased that their profits have boosted for the first quarter of 2010, mainly from new toy lines such as World Wrestling Entertainment and the new Thomas & Friends line co-operated by Fisher Price.

Analyst Margaret Whitfield said, Toys always hold up better than other segments within retail, and retail activity in general seems to have improved. There's a sense that consumers are coming out of hiding.
The US toy maker also has a strong lineup this year compared with previous years.

Barbie sales rose by 5 percent, Hot Wheels rose 9 percent, while WWE and Toy Story rose 35 percent. Fisher Price sales rose by 5 percent, helped by the Thomas and Friends line and American Girl sales rose 6 percent.

CEO Bob Eckert said, We expect them to perform more akin to evergreen toy brands rather than one-hit wonders.

Season 1-11 Boxset - Restored & Revamped?

You may have heard that the complete series from seasons 1-9 will be getting re-released alongside 10 & 11 for a complete boxset, something tells me that because you may have seen this...:
The covers for 10 & 11 are getting a re-vamp, but something tells me that the covers for 1-9 will have the same effect too.

Also, the bffc have listed the content for season 1 & 2 which both contains the 65th Anniversary promo and title cards each, meaning that they are being re-issued, which could bring a strong possibility that season 1-3 will be getting restored picture.

They also have relisted seasons 8 & 9 with title card's each along with the same promo.

If these appear to be true, I might consider myself selling my old season 1-9 DVD's at a big car boot sale near me later in the summer to get the boxset that will be cheaper than all previous 9 combined, which will hopefully have the earlier series restored, and all updated with covers, ident's and promo's included.

Season Thirteen a hit Down Under

Season Thirteen of Thomas & Friends has become a hit on Australia's ABC Kids Channel. The first run of the 2010 series ran on Monday to Friday at 4:10pm, pulling in a 47% increase in viewers on the channel.

In the first quarter of 2010, Thomas made a 43% audience share across all australian TV channels.

Hit Entertainment's Senior Vice President of Production and Programming, Christopher Skala commented on the increase. We are thrilled that so many Australian viewers are enjoying the new series of Thomas & Friends. The full CGI animation really enhances the visual experience and the fact the engines can speak for themselves adds a fresh feel and texture to the stories. 

The data of the increase was revealed by Haven Licensing.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Extended and unseen CGI pictures

I was surfing the net and I discovered a few of these pics I have seen before, some I haven't seen, but it took a some time.
These pictures are promotional stills from Hero of the Rails and Season 13. You might have seen a few of them before, but perhaps not a couple! You're probably thinking what do I mean by extended, well I mean extended as in that some of the pictures are in fuller frames which reveals more picture rather than most website having the nack of cropping them.

And as an added bonus, an enlarged image of Season Thirteen's Charlie released as publicity, but not by Hit if you were going to think that!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Creaky Cranky - US cover and content

Hit Entertainment's digital newsroom Hit News Online have confirmed the content and posted the front cover art for the upcoming Season Thirteen DVD Creaky Cranky, which is due to hit US DVD Shelves on July 13th 2010 (which I will say is a day after my birthday! Even though I don't live in the US!)

The episodes include:
- Creaky Cranky
- Tickled Pink
- Steamy Sodor
- The Early Bird
In between the episodes, Driver Perkins will make a return to the season thirteen DVD's for a third time with new introductions.

The CGI version of the Sounds song and music video is included on the DVD as an extra.

The synopsis for the DVD reads:
Thomas and his friends deliver cargo-loads of fun in this collection of uplifting episodes! Ride along as Thomas helps to deliver mail, mend engines, and prepare for the Spring Party on the Island of Sodor. Watch as Thomas learns that it pays to listen to advice, there's more to a train than its undercoat, and that sometimes it takes a team of friends to reach your true destination.

Lionsgate Publicity will post a larger version of the cover on their website in due course for upcoming DVD's in their range for July.

The DVD is likely to be in the UK soon as the previous two season thirteen DVD's have the same episodes, although it is not known when it will be released in the UK.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Runaway Kite - UK cover and content

The bbfc have posted the content that will appear in the second thirteenth series DVD, Thomas and the Runaway Kite, which will hit UK DVD shelves on May 24th 2010.

Episodes include:
- Thomas and the Runaway Kite
- The Biggest Present of All
- Toby's New Whistle
- Buzzy Bees
DVD Extras includes the return of Driver Perkins in Watch with Mr. Perkins, whose links in between the episodes are specially filmed for the DVD. Also the CGI version of the Determination music video as seen on the official website, will also be included in the release.

Also, the 65th Anniversary promo as seen in the last two DVD's released in the UK will start off the DVD.

The synopsis for the DVD reads:
Join Thomas & Friends as your favorite engines from Sodor embark on exciting new adventures in this Thomas & the Runaway Kite DVD.

There's a kite on the loose and Thomas must catch it before the wind blows it from Sodor! With Gordon, Charlie and Toby by his side, Thomas learns that a helping hand keeps him right on track when it comes to rescuing kites, saving a swarm of bees, and preventing railway disasters from taking flight! Hop on board for a high-flying ride with Thomas & Friends in these all-new, never-before-seen train adventures.

The front cover differs from the US version, as I have noticed that the UK Season 13 covers have Thomas much more aligned rather than tilted to one side on the US Covers.

The information for the content can be found here:

Hit reaches agreement with creditors

Hit Entertainment have now reached an agreement with credit experts to conclude their $579 million debt which will now allow them to amend and extend their credit facilities.

Previously, Hit become emroiled in a breach last year in the winter after becoming heavily in debt, resulting in Hit owing millions worth of money to banking convenants after a fall in toy and DVD sales in the US.
Jeffrey Dunn, president and CEO of Hit commented, We are delighted to conclude these negotiations with our lending group and are grateful for their support.

This allows us to focus on what we do best, making great entertainment for kids.

Hit are now currently paving the way to expand the company.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

US Preview clips from Season Thirteen

Although I am from the UK, I was a bit gutted to hear that the US weren't getting the thirteenth series of Thomas until the Autumn, which I felt was wrong as we brits got to see it late January to mid February.

However, toy makers Fisher Price have since a few months ago created a Thomas & Friends website, mainly for the US people out there.

The good news for you Americans and Canadians is that preview clips from 10 of the Season Thirteen episodes are available in the Videos section which mainly features the first two minutes from each of the ten featured.
These previews are also in Widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, rather than the small 4:3 resolution screen size that the Americans always get for the DVD Releases (apart from Hero of the Rails) and TV Broadcasts  .

The episode previews featured on the website include the following:
- Splish, Splash, Splosh!
- The Lion of Sodor
- Tickled Pink
- Thomas and the Pigs
- Percy's Parcel
- Snow Tracks
- Slippy Sodor
- Time for a Story
- Play Time
- The Early Bird

All can be found on the link below:

Exclusive: Unseen Learn with Thomas

Here's an exclusive for you! I had found this unseen video for some time now which features two learning segments that were for some reason, dropped in the final edit. It clearly would have been included on a DVD release or broadcast on one of the 30 minute shows.                

The video is on a website by an animation and illustrator known as 'Scraggie' who has worked on many other animated children's TV Shows. His work on the learning segments was to provide small illustrations imposed onto the 3D Vector graphics, such has a pair of ice skates onto a flag, as seen in the image on the left.

The learning segments also include unheard drafted narration from 'Michael Angelis'.

At about 3/4 in, the video arubtly stops for some unknown reason which nearly reaches the end of the video, it is either that, or it is just my laptop that is doing that.
The video can be viewed here:


The large scale Thomas from Jack and the Pack

Now you might have seen another picture of the large scale model as used in the Jack and the Pack spinoff series, here is another view of the model I found while on Google, it took me a while though!

The model can be seen in Japan's Thomas Town attraction.

TheTopHatts starts the blog!

Hello everyone, TheTopHatts here. I decided to create this blog for fans of THOMAS & FRIENDS and THE RAILWAY SERIES that will show exclusive content posted by me including never-before-seen images, new information from both the show and the original books, interviews, DVD's and more!

Please enjoy my blog and don't forget to visit my YouTube Channel here: