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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Diesel's day turns into tie-in set

The Take-n-Play range has seen another new set linking to the Day of the Diesels special, this time starring Devious Diesel.

Talking Diesel's Fuel & Freight Delivery involves the mischevious oil running engine delivering barrels and pipes.

The description of the set reads; Diesel, as seen in the new Thomas & Friends movie, Day of the Diesels, is always scheming and looking to cause mischief!
Load up Diesel's cargo trucks and hear him say phrases as you send him around the fold-out track!

The set includes die-cast model's of Talking Diesel, Cargo Flatbed and Truck with removable barrels and pipes and also includes track signs, crossing gate and a fold-out track layout.

The product is currently on auction via ebay.co.uk for five days with the current bid standing at £10 along with £5 Economic Delivery.

Talking Diesel's Fuel & Freight Delivery is now available in shops worldwide.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Steam Team delivers large Collection cover

The high-resolution cover for the Season Thirteen box set in the US has been published by Lionsgate Publicity.

The front of Steam Team Collection offers a more detailed look at the promo shot featuring Thomas, Percy and James.
Splish, Splash, Splosh, Creaky Cranky, Thomas and the Runaway Kite and The Lion of Sodor are all included in the release.

The set comprises of sixteen of the twenty episodes from the 2010 Season with the remaining four on the compilation releases not involved in the set, The Birthday Express and Thomas in Charge.

Season Eleven debuts on Australian TV

The Eleventh Series of Thomas & Friends will start to air in Australia by September on ABC2.

The 2007 Season which is already on DVD will make it's debut on the channel starting with the episode, Hide and Peep.
An episode will be shown every day there after with the broadcasting order in the same style as The Complete Series 11 DVD.

The Eleventh Series airs on ABC2 every day of the week starting from September 9th 2011 at 1:05pm with the episode, Hide and Peep.

Thanks to trevorboco for the alert.

milkshake! strikes Gold with Thomas

milkshake! are to release their newest DVD collection of their shows broadcast on five in the UK.

milkshake! Gold will include up to over two hours of running time with a set of DVD extras.
Thomas will for the first time join in the fun with the crew alongside children's favourites such as the Mr. Men, Roary the Racing Car, Bananas in Pyjamas and more.

It is so far currently unknown as to what Thomas & Friends episode will feature in the collection.

milkshake! Gold hits UK DVD shelves on September 12th 2011.

Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Season Four joins iTunes Down Under

iTunes have made the Fourth Series of Thomas & Friends available on their Store.

The 1995 Season is the only Thomas & Friends TV product to be made available on the iTunes Store while the apps and audiobooks accompany it.
However, the episodes have been combined into two for each block with full beginning and end titles also included.

Each episode block can be bought for $1.49 Australian Dollars or alternatively, the set can be purchased at a $19.37 price.

Thanks to TMRReturns for the alert.

Post millenium series and specials on Virgin

Virgin Media have more offers of Thomas & Friends on their On Demand service.

Along with Thomas and the Magic Railroad, their online service also includes two complete series, part of another series and two specials.
The Complete Sixth Series is included along with the last three episodes of the Seventh Series and The Complete Eleventh Series, which first appeared on Demand 5's On Demand service.

Finally 2005's Calling All Engines! and 2007's Pierce Brosnan narrated, The Great Discovery join the Virgin Media bandwagon.


Thanks to ThomasPercyandToby2 for the alert.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

BT and Virgin enter the Magic Railroad

BT Vision and Virgin Media have made the 2000 theatrical film Thomas and the Magic Railroad available On Demand.

Virgin Media's copy of the film can be viewed on their website but only when an account is registered.
BT Vision on the otherhand has added it onto their TV service where by looking through their Kids guide, the movie can eventually be watched for as little as 50p.

Alternatively, another copy exists on the Vision's Film Club section for no price at all, only to film subscribers however.


Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

Vue publishes 'DOTD' promotional still

Vue Cinemas have changed the image on their Day of the Diesels page to a previously seen promotional still from the film.
The image which was originally revealed in a UK magazine release can now be viewed in high quality.

It features Belle the Brass Tank Engine and Thomas the Tank Engine at the Docks which beforehand was an alternate version of the special's poster.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

'Steam Team Collection' content revealed

The upcoming US Steam Team Collection release will contain the four main DVD's of Season Thirteen.

In a similar vein to the complete Season Twelve's Adventure Pack, the collection includes only sixteen of the twenty Thirteenth Season episodes.

Splish, Splash, Splosh, The Lion of Sodor, Creaky Cranky and Thomas and the Runaway Kite star in the boxset.
The publicity synopsis for the boxset reads; It's the perfect holiday gift for your little engineer at an incredible price! Enjoy a trainload of fun and adventure with Thomas and his friends in stunning CG animation when this new collection of DVDs pulls into stores just in time for the holidays.

The all-new release Thomas & Friends: Steam Team Collection 4-DVD Pack, arrives November 15, 2011 from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment for only $24.98.

Sixteen fun-filled tales - including exclusive content never before seen on TV - take you once again to the Island of Sodor to ride along with Thomas and all his engine friends as they play in the rain, make special deliveries, work together and celebrate friendship and good fun.

Steam Team Collections hits US DVD shelves on November 15th 2011.

'Thomas & Friends' and family

Thomas & Friends joins another new US Hit Entertainment brand release focusing on family and friendly pals.

Friends and Family stars eight of Hit's characters with Thomas in a Season Twelve episode.

The DVD synopsis reads; Enjoy quality time with friends and family with these warm-hearted tales. Share birthday surprises with Thomas and the Percival Twins, while Angelina and Polly choreograph a special show for their parents.
Then join Bob the Builder and Barney as they show their friends how to be the best big brother and sister they can be. Siblings, friends and parents alike will delight in these stories celebrating love, friendship and fun!

Episodes include;
Thomas & Friends in Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon
Fireman Sam in Danger by the Double
Bob the Builder in Dizzy in Charge
Barney in Big Brother Rusty
Angelina Ballerina in Angelina and Polly's Two-Hour Show
Kipper in Cousins
Roary the Racing Car in Zizzy Spectacular
Timmy Time in Timmy's New Friend (Only on DVD)

Friends and Family hits US DVD shelves, Digital Download and On Demand on November 8th 2011.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Drayton Manor Hotel gives new sheds for steamers

Drayton Manor's Hotel has made it's Thomas related rooms open, courtesy of The Fat Controller.

The Sodor Controller cut open a ribbon along with Thomas Land's Deputy Manager and Hotel Manager to celebrate the Eleven themed family accomodations' reveal.
Colin Bryan, the Deputy Manager spoke of the premiere; It's been a long time coming and we're all really pleased that the hotel is now ready to welcome visitors through the door.
With the hotel now open, we can turn Drayton Manor into more than a theme park.

It will become a leisure resort where families can come and enjoy a few fun-filled days away from it all and let our excellent hospitality team take care of all their needs.

A different Rescue for Japan's Misty Island

Inspired by their Misty Island Rescue, Japan are to release a compilation DVD about rescues.

ハプニング&レスキュ or Happenings & Rescues includes three episodes from the Ninth Series and three episodes from the Tenth Series.

Episodes include;
よわむし (Thomas and the Rainbow)
エドワードのしっぱい (Edward Strikes Out)
まほうのランプ (The Magic Lamp)
エドワードをすくえ (Saving Edward)
きかんしゃ (Wharf and Peace)
トーマスとたんじょうびのはいたつ (Thomas and the Birthday Mail)
Also included, as part of the inspiration is Japan's trailer for the Misty Island Rescue special as an extra.
ハプニング&レスキュ hits Japanese DVD shelves on August 24th 2011.

Runaway DVD lands on Deutschland soil

Thomas and the Runaway Kite has arrived in Germany with a set of different episodes from the Thirteenth Season.

Thomas auf Drachenjagd or Thomas on Dragon Hunt is the third DVD release for Germany focusing on the 2010 Season.

Episodes include;
Toby's Neue Pfeife (Toby's New Whistle)
Das Blumen Durcheinander (A Blooming Mess)
Thomas auf Drachenjagd (Thomas and the Runaway Kite)
Zuhören Hiift (Steamy Sodor)
Piitsch, Platsch, Nass (Splish, Splash, Splosh)
The back cover of the release contains two unseen promotional shots from Toby's New Whistle and Steamy Sodor.

Thomas auf Drachenjagd is now available in German retailers.

DVD's tinned up for German compilation set

Germany has been treated to a new Thomas & Seine Freunde DVD set which contains five releases.

The Limited Edition, Tin Box comes with a sizebale tin to store the five DVD's along with a built-in carrier handle so that fans can take the discs on the go.
The following releases are included;
Alle Loks im Einsatz! (All Locomotives in Use!)
Starke Loks Unterwegs (Powerful Locomotives Travelling)
Thomas und der Regenbogen (Thomas and the Rainbow)
Die Mutigste ok der Welt (The Locomotive of the World's Bravest)
Special: 11 Neue Abenteuer! (Special: 11 New Adventures!)

Tin Box - 5 Disc Limited Edition is now available in German retailers.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

'Merry Winter Wish' official British DVD cover

Play.com have published the cover for the third Season Fourteen DVD for the UK.

Merry Winter Wish which is confirmed for a Halloween release follows the same cover as the American version apart from the usual classification icons.
The description of the DVD has also been published which reveals that the same four episodes from the US release will appear for British fans; Merry Winter Wish, Thomas and the Snowman Party, Henry's Magic Box and Merry Misty Island.

Next stop, Winter Wonderland! Join Thomas and his friends as they celebrate Christmas in these four enchanting tales. Thomas has a special delivery for the season - the Star of Knapford, a festive light that makes wishes come true!
The children are excited for the Snowman Party in the Town Square but it's up to Thomas to find the snowman a special hat before the party can begin. Then Henry helps The Fat Controller prepare a secret surprise for all of Sodor.

Watch Bash, Dash and Ferdinand prepare for the first ever Misty Island Christmas party. The more friends the merrier, so join the fun and see that winter wishes do come true with Thomas & Friends!

Merry Winter Wish hits UK DVD shelves on October 31st 2011.

PBS Sprout confirms 'DOTD' televised showing

As promised, PBS Sprout have revealed when Day of the Diesels will air on their channel in the US.

The new special will be shown this Wednesday as revealed in a commercial filmed by Brian_Mahon on Dailymotion.
Previously in a press release by Hit Entertainment, PBS were expected to broadcast the hour long episode in the Fall of 2011.

Day of the Diesels makes it US network premiere on PBS Sprout, this Wednesday August 24th 2011 at 1pm ET.

Thanks to Thomasfan for the alert.

Play.com releases Diesels UK DVD/Blu Ray covers

Play.com have published the covers from the upcoming Day of the Diesels DVD/Blu Ray releases in the UK.

The front DVD cover as revealed previously by ask a mum? can now be viewed in a larger size while the back is also featured, with a new promotional shot.
Although presumed to not have been originally included for the British version, the Hear the Engines Coming music video will be included as sighted on the back cover.

Meanwhile, the official Blu Ray cover has also been published with a banner at the top indicating the Double Play feature.

Day of the Diesels hits UK DVD/Blu Ray shelves on September 26th 2011.



Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Announcement: TheTopHatts teams with SiF & more

Now you may have seen on SiF's Fansite's news that their Episode Guide page has been renovated and is now revealed, there is also some other things that are being seen.

The Friday has delivered three things that has involved me such as my recent interview with Nicholas Jones now published on their website's Interviews page.
Also added, as part of their Season Fifteen page has linked my Season Fifteen on DVD? poll along with my blog now listed on the Friends of SiF Links.

All of this was down to agreements with me and Ryan from SiF who I am thanking tremendously for getting my website recognised further and further while at the same time, me contributing to the Fansite.
To celebrate, the new background which I promised has been revealed on the blog which includes all the main characters from the TV Series with ones from the model era that I will update to their CGI states when happend.

The images of the characters are coupled with a Railway Series-esque art implementation which I wanted to do as if the blog is giving out the message in saying, This blog is not only for the TV Series fans...

The updates on the SiF website are now available.

Thank you Ryan and SiF,
from TheTopHatts.

What do you think of the announcement and what's your view on the new background?
Send a comment to this post below.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

'Day of the Diesels' magazine issue due for UK

The next Thomas & Friends magazine in the UK due after it's Play & Learn release will be themed to Day of the Diesels.

The magazine due out at the end of August includes Thomas and Diesel 10 on the front cover.
Also to be featured is a competition inside Issue 622 to win 1 of 20 Day of the Diesels DVD's.

The Day of the Diesels themed magazine issue will be available in UK retailers on August 31st 2011.

Final 'Day of the Diesels' UK DVD cover published

ask a mum? have unveiled the final version of the Day of the Diesels UK DVD cover.

The differences compared to the US release are the usual classification logo's alongside a Kids Go Free to Thomas Land tag.
The tag which is a coupon inside the casing offers a young Thomas fan the chance to visit Drayton Manor's Thomas theme park in Staffordshire, UK for free.

The coupon has been included in previous releases such as The Lion of Sodor and Pop Goes Thomas.

Day of the Diesels hits UK DVD shelves on September 26th 2011.

Competition released for 'DOTD' UK VIP premiere

ask a mum? have set up a competition to win tickets to see the new Day of the Diesels special in Leciester Square's Vue Cinema, UK.

The prize for winning is a family of four entry to be part of the VIP Celebrity event with a screening of the film and also includes the after party.
The end of the day for the family will culminate with them recieving a goodie bag containing Day of the Diesels related goodies and merchandise.

The runners up of five will be sent a copy of the feature-length special's DVD release. The competition can be entered by signing up to ask a mum?'s website and answering a simple question.

Day of the Diesels rolls into Vue Cinemas nationwide on the morning of September 17th 2011 with the Celebrity Premiere taking place in Leciester Square.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Feature: Promos from the CGI era

Discovery Kids' website in Brazil have published many promo shots from the CGI Series of Thomas & Friends.

There are some you may have recognised before and some that have been seen by little with images from Hero of the Rails, Season's Thirteen and Fourteen and Misty Island Rescue. 

Also included is a few of the Engines' profile shots rendered in a laminated style which can be seen in the UK magazine releases.

Hero of the Rails

Season Thirteen

Misty Island Rescue

Season Fourteen
Magazine Artworks

Thanks to SI3DFilms for the alert.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Exclusive Interview with...: Producer of 'The Thomas the Tank Engine Man' documentary, Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is a journalist and is famous to mature fans of Thomas and the Railway Series for making the 1995 produced Thomas the Tank Engine Man documentary as part of the BBC's Bookmark series.

The documentary has since been rarely shown on TV, the last being a repeat back in the late 90's but however shared a lot of interesting insights into the world of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Jones interviewed many faces linked to Thomas including the Rev. W. Awdry, David Mitton and Britt Allcroft.

Through an exchange of six or seven emails during mid July, Nicholas was very kind through the many talks we had. He has kindly let me interview him with many answers being informative and some that may surprise people.
A week later on Friday August 19th, the interview will then be transferred to the SiF Fansite as part of their Interviews page, with special thanks to Ryan for agreeing to add and publicise my interview.

To start off Nicholas, how did you start off in the industry before becoming a Journalist?
I worked in BBC Radio and in fact only do journalism as a spin-off from my TV work. I got into radio really by a) going to university and b) attending an early radio journalism course at the long-defunct National Broadcasting School.

You have since set up your own company Quanta Films, how do you feel about this achievement?
It is always good to have a company through which to make a film. The real sense of pride comes from building up a library of copyrights. However it is very hard work and most of one's efforts produce little results.

How did you first become involved with the 'Thomas the Tank Engine Man' documentary?
My mother wrote an article in 1993 about Wilbert Awdry for 'The Oldie' magazine and spotted that in 1995 it would be 50 years since the Thomas book was written. I then went to see Wilbert and he agreed to take part in a possible film. I offered the idea ot both Channel 4 and BBC TWO and to my amazement they both wanted to make it.

Was it hard preparing and setting up the project?
Preparing to film Mr Awdry, his friends and family was not difficult. In those days there was far less material available to do research, ie no internet. But setting up filming the shoot of Thomas Series 4 was a nightmare. The makers were impossible to deal with.

You were indeed given access to visit the filming of the Fourth Series of 'Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends', what was it like seeing the models and sets in all their glory?
We had to pretty well charge onto the set to film them, because we were being ignored by the PRO for the shoot. But it was a grat surprise to see this huge trainset, under very bright lights, with a busy crew. I was very impressed, and found the models wonderful.

What was it like meeting David Mitton, the Director?
A charming man, confident in his abilities, who gave us his opinions despite being very busy. I found him the only agreeable person in the studio. His death was sad.

You secured a lengthly interview with the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, how was that for you?
It took a lot of effort but it was a very interesting day. Sadly, he had got up specially for us the day before, only to collapse so we had to film him in bed, heavily medicated. I am very glad I got the chance to film him - no-one else had so much time with him.

Upon meeting Awdry, did you recieve any nerves about meeting the man who created it all?
No, because I had met him already and we were very well prepared. I was more worried about his health. It was a hot day in September and his bedroom got very warm with the film lights. But he was determined to put his all into our filming shoot.

What was Wilbert like in person, did you get along well and become friends after production on the documentary finished?
A very honest man. I think he rather liked me - he liked the fact that I knew his books and could remember extracts from over 30 years. We certainly got along well, but I did not see him again. I wrote to him after he received his decoration (due, in part, to the film I think).

What was the most interesting thing you shot or saw during the making?
His bedroom was lined with books written in the Manx language. I aske dhim if he had read them. "I've read them all five times", he said! I didn't know there were any books in Manx... Also, it was fun going in the signal box on the West Somerset Railway.

How was your knowledge of engines, railways and Thomas before, during and after filming?
I always had quite a detailed knowledge of railways and enignes. As a child, the steam engines we played wiht a smodels (Hornby etc) still actually ran on the real railways. I was particularly pleased to access the Ivo Peters archive colleciton (for the shots of the trains climbing the Lickey). My rail knowledge enabled me to choose good archive for the film.

Was there any footage that was left in the cutting room floor?
Most of it! We overshot greatly. I'd say we used under 10% of what we shot.

When Wilbert died, BBC TWO granted your request to repeat your documentary on their channel, how did you feel about it?
He died the night my first documentary about Sir Frank Whittle went out, by coincidence. I rang the BBC and to my surprise, they agreed to show the film without any hesitation. I was very flattered and pleased.

You are a fan of 'The Railway Series', do you have a favourite book, character and/or story?
My favourite story will always be out of the Mountain Engines book - Skarloey etc. I vaguely recall being read the story as a child. Also, I recall the story of Henry and the rain. I've a photo pf me clutching the postcard of him bricked up - probably taken in 1962 when I was 4... But in recent years I came to like Percy - I asked Wilbert if he were his favourite enigne. He wouldn't say - but I suspect it was!

Do you still keep in contact with key contributors involved in the film such as cast and crew?
I can still contact Wilbert's daughter Veronica. But actually none of the production crew kept in touch afterwards. It was a difficult film to make (apart from filming Wilbert and his friends).

The phenomenom of Thomas is insanely large and the character is recognised in almost every country, what's your view on that?
I find it amazing! I think that money has become the sole reason for the interest today's producers and publishers have in Thomas. Yet money played no part in the original ideas. I think that the focus on money has ruined the whole thing.

The TV Series is still running to this day, have you watched more episodes such as the HiT Entertainment produced ones, do you have a favourite episode?

I have to confess I have never watched the TV series except where my work required it, and that meant those exisitng by 1994. I would only be interested in stories from the original Railway Series. However, I thought the TV verison of Thomas and the fish in his tank looked lovely.

If you have seen it, what is your view on the CGI Series and were you suprised when the announcement was made to produce Thomas in CGI?
I'd like to see the CGI version. I'm not at all surprised by the decision to make it in CGI - the sheer cost of producing a series like Thomas meant a move to CGI was inevitable.

Ringo Starr was involved in the first two series and Michael Angelis still voices the series ever since his first in 1991, what do you think of their performances, have you met them?
Sadly I've never met either. We could not persuade Ringo to appear in the documentary. I was astonished when I learned Ringo was to do the voice but he has been a great success. He clearly loved the stories and that comes across.

Season Two is considered by a number of fans as the definitive series, do you agree with this and do you have a favourite series?
I think the second probably is the best. I know that Wilbert quite liked it. But I've watched far to few of the TV programmes to have a favourite series. What inspired the documentary was the original books and the TV verison was merely part of the story of an author.

How big is your collection of Railway Series, Thomas books and do you own any of the DVD's/Videos?
Somewhere, I've got all the first series of the Railway Series from when I made the film. Wilbert signed a few of the copies for me.

You have often been campaigning about getting your documentary released on DVD, do you think you will ever see the light of this?
I am not optimistic. One just never knows. Maybe one day people will see the value of the film and I'll get all the necessary agreements to make a version available.

Now the last thing here is about the recent 42nd Railway Series book, Thomas and His Friends. Have you read it yet, what do you think of it and have you also viewed the predecessor, Thomas and Victoria?
I'm afraid I have not seen either book. I prefer to remember the first 12 books, of Wilbert's. 

At the end of a new book, there is a play on of words suggesting that this could be the last Railway Series book, would you like to see more and not see it end?
I'm afraid I think it is time to stop producing more material. The best books have all been written long ago. Wilbert stopped in 1972 for good reason - he had no more ideas.

Finally is there a message that you would like to give to the fans?
Firstly, I am always flattered that so many young people are interested in the film. I know Wilbert would have been delighted. My message is simple: if you enjoy something creative, stick with it and learn as much as possible about it. And for all those, like yourself, with YouTube channels or blogs, let me wish you the best of luck with them.

In support of Nicholas, please be generous enough to purchase his Thomas the Tank Engine Man documentary on the Quanta Films website for a fee of £25 by sending a form via the Contact Us page.

I would like to thank Nicholas Jones for lending his voice on my interview and his support to my blog and YouTube Channel.

'Day of the Diesels' UK DVD content confirmed

bbfc have confirmed the content due to be featured in the Day of the Diesels UK DVD release.

With a title card placed at the beginning of the release, the special itself is the star of the DVD running just over 57 minutes alongside the extras following a similar vein to the Australian release.

Down at the Station's Diesel Engines video goes on for the next 3 minutes and 21 seconds while the A Guide to Steamies & Diesels educational clip will intrigue fans for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
However, unlike the Australian release, the Day of the Diesels Sing-a-Long music video doesn't seem to appear as an extra but however is confirmed to be seen at the end of the film, albeit, without lyrics.

Rounding off is the Sing-a-Long version of the Hear the Engines Coming music video from Season Fifteen and a Guess Who? feature running over 1 minute than the normal 30 seconds.

Day of the Diesels hits UK DVD/Blu Ray shelves on September 26th 2011.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Alternate 'Steamies Vs. Diesels' video released

An alternate version of the A Guide to Steamies & Diesels video has been released on the Official Thomas & Friends YouTube Channel.

The video shows the differences between Steam Engines and Diesel Engines with Thomas and Diesel both taking part.
The version featured on the thomasandfriends Channel has a different narrator voicing over the clip rather than Keith Wickham's.

Also different is the ability to see the video in DVD Quality which is due to accompany the US and Australian Day of the Diesels DVD/Blu Ray releases.

Disney keeps shadow over Hit bid

Disney has not ruled out purchasing Hit Entertainment as the bidding war over the company continues.

President and Cheif Executive for Disney, Bob Iger has spoken out however assuring people that they might not keep buying properties.
There isn't a great strategic hole to fill, we've got so many already, it will be judicious in what we'd be willing to pay for them.

Thanks to Thomasfan for the alert.

High-res promo images for 'Merry Christmas, Thomas!'

Lionsgate Publicity have released five promo images tie-ing in with the release of the US Season Fifteen DVD, Merry Christmas, Thomas!.

However, all the images shown are taken from the Let it Snow episode with scenes from Percy the Snowman, Tree Trouble and Surprise, Surprise being left out.
Merry Christmas, Thomas! hits US DVD shelves on October 11th 2011.