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Friday, 28 December 2012

Feature: Recap on Episode Twenty of Season Sixteen

Christmas Day 2012 closed many chapters in the present Thomas & Friends series.

Sharon Miller's writing tenure had ended, the show's repetitive formula cropped up for the last time and we bidded a fond farewell to the beloved animation of Nitrogen Studios.

Originally scheduled to be Season Sixteen's eighteenth show, The Christmas Tree Express was pushed back till the festive event. Though the US had seen it first on DVD, the day marked the debut UK and Australian televised showing.

It started with Rheneas contemplating to have the best Christmas tree ever. Toby is then made to take Rheneas to Misty Island to find one. But Toby is reluctant to be in Bash, Dash, Ferdinand and the island's surroundings.

The latter five played central roles while Thomas, Skarloey and Rusty delivered a few lines each. Merrick, Sir Handel, Peter Sam and Owen cameod along with Captain, Ol' Wheezy, Hee-Haw and Victor.

The episode finished with an overwhelming negative response, primarily criticising the long wait of one formulaic ten minute episode for the sake of a Christmas themed transmission.

A resurgence of repetition and Ferdinand's that's right! were also let downs. A major continuity error arose when it was realised that despite Toby's fright, he had been in Misty Island and the engines' company before in Toby and Bash.

Criticism continued with the return of The Shake Shake Bridge, Toby's personality drifting away and closing his eyes while travelling fast which was deemed a selfish and dangerous act.

Minor positives came about, mainly directed at Nitrogen's expansive CGI and having a different standard gauge engine interact with the narrow gauge, namely Toby who hadn't done so since a brief scene in 1998's Toby's Discovery.
Another highlight was a showcase for Ben Small who voiced four out of five of his known characters all in the same story. For whatever it seemed, long term fans knew that the end is only just the beginning...

TheTopHatts gives The Christmas Tree Express...

FALL 2013

For a full list of scheduling, visit the Dieselworks Turntable Roundhouse on the right hand sidebar for more details.

Thanks to Thomas & Friends Wikia for information.

What did you think of this episode? Send your reaction in the comments section just under this post for your verdict.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Train Cellar leaks 'King of the Railway' characters

The Train Cellar have divulged new Wooden Railway merchandise in relation to an upcoming episode.

The online retailer's list for forthcoming stock reveals the names of four fresh characters due to appear in King of the Railway alongside potential spoilers and so caution is advised.
More so is references to the mystery name of the castle seen in the backgrounds of recent book covers.

Also due are multiple packs such as the figure of eight set, Adventures of the Mine, King of the Castle and the Thomas King of the Railway double pack.

The King of the Railway Wooden Railways from Fisher Price hit toy shelves worldwide in the fall of 2013, coinciding with the release of King of the Railway: The Movie.

Thanks to lbbrian for the alert.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Australia second in line for 'Go Go Thomas' DVD release

EZYDVD have revealed details about the Go Go Thomas! DVD arriving in Australia in March.

The country Down Under is to be the second to receive the Season Sixteen title after America's March 5th date and before England's March 11th billing.
The description follows; Thomas and his friends are charged up and ready to Go Go! Thomas shows Gordon that being quick is as useful as being strong, while Flynn the fire engine learns to put his pride aside and race to the rescue.

Thomas causes some trouble on the tracks trying to be a model engine for a new photographer, while Spencer's on the move, ignoring warnings about electric engine Stafford's battery.

Thomas pumps his pistons to Misty Island to help fix Ol' Wheezy. Will the number one blue engine be on track and on time? Ready, Set... Go, Go Thomas!

Go Go Thomas! hits Australian DVD shelves on March 6th 2012.


Thanks to NWR1991 for the alert.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

App based on 'Blue Mountain Mystery' launched by Hit

Hit Entertainment and Night & Day Studios have created a brand new app based on Blue Mountain Mystery: The Movie.

Quarry Find on the iTunes App Store tasks the player to locate several items in the Blue Mountain Quarry through eight sets. Clips from the film play as prizes when successful in their searches.

Digital animations from the movie's storybook are used from Tommy Stubbs' illustrations while veteran Keith Wickham narrates. Michael Brandon's storytelling is used on the clips.

The Thomas & Friends Twitter @TrueBlueEngine made the announcement by tweeting the beginning of the app's description which follows.

All aboard for an exciting new game from Thomas & Friends! In this Seek and Find adventure, little engineers will explore the Blue Mountain Quarry.

Watch highlights straight from the movie, and meet new characters, all while playing with their favourite engine friends, including Thomas, Percy and James.

Thomas fans of all ages are sure to enjoy discovering the magic in this exciting new app.

Quarry Find from Hit Entertainment and Night & Day Studios is available to download for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad from the App Store on iTunes.


Licensing and Hit talk 'Day Out with Thomas' makeover

A recent advertisement for the Day Out with Thomas railway events in the UK has led to more details being spilled over its future.

The online trailer uploaded by the official Thomas & Friends YouTube in November teased a makeover for the rail tours. A variation on the Engine Roll Call opening theme is heard.

Now Licensing.biz have made an insight by mentioning that the updates will be in line with the CGI TV series, as will the launch of new activities at the events, new merchandise, a dedicated ticketing website and a TV campaign.

Hit Entertainment's Group Director for Live Attractions, David King spoke to Licensing over the changes.

Hit Entertainment has implemented these significant changes to our Day Out With Thomas events to create an even greater immersive experience for Thomas & Friends fans of all ages.

The forthcoming national advertising campaign is set to drive even greater numbers of visitors to these already popular events.

The Day Out with Thomas has since been revamped with details added on when visits by the engines will occur in the East, the North, Scotland and Wales.

Day Out with Thomas is now touring nationwide in the United Kingdom through to December 2013.

'Full Steam Ahead' DVD boxset for US February release

A brand new DVD boxset is to arrive for American audiences in the February of the new year.

Full Steam Ahead was unveiled by Lionsgate Publicity and will hold the titles, Team Up with Thomas, Wobbly Wheels & Whistles and Railway Friends.

Coming for the Spring, a run time of 140 minutes and a free Take-n-Play engine assist the collection.

A variation of a promo shot depicting Thomas from the Hero of the Rails movie is featured on the front cover.

Full Steam Ahead from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves on February 19th 2013.

'Go Go Thomas!' US DVD coming for March 2013 release

The American Go Go Thomas! DVD has been confirmed for availability in the March of 2013.

Containing the same episodes as the UK's, the release date was revealed by DVDEmpire.comSince then, Lionsgate Publicity's press release has revealed a total of four extras to feature.

Extras include;
The Great Sodor Engine Race Game
Go Go Thomas! Karaoke Music Video
Guess Who? Puzzles
Fun & Activities with Driver Perkins
The description reads; Thomas and his friends are charged up and ready to Go, Go! Thomas shows Gordon that being quick is as useful as being strong, while Flynn the fire engine learns to put his pride aside and race to the rescue.

Thomas causes some trouble on the tracks trying to be a model engine for a new photographer, while Spencer's on the move, ignoring warnings about electric engine Stafford's battery.

Thomas pumps his pistons to Misty Island to help fix Ol' Wheezy. Will the number one blue engine be on track and on time? Ready, Set Go, Go Thomas!

Go Go Thomas! from Lionsgate Entertainment hits US DVD shelves on March 5th 2013.

Thanks to Duckfan and MrTrainfan1000 for the alerts.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Host of books due by Random House and Golden Books

Random House and Golden Books are to issue new book releases for the future of the Britain and America.

A compilation titled Thomas' Big Book of Beginner Books will involve Stop, Train, Stop!,  A Crack in the TrackGo, Train, Go!, Blue Train, Green TrainTrains, Cranes & Troublesome Trucks and Fast Train, Slow Train.

Following this are the two travel themed Busy, Busy Thomas and Thomas' Favorite Places and Faces with illustrations provided by Tommy Stubbs.
The Little Golden Book Library will reside with the adaptations of the five specials The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels and Blue Mountain Mystery.

The collection plus the above three releases are due for both the UK and US. For the States alone, Thomas' Night Before Christmas and Thomas' Christmas Star are set during the festive period.

Interestingly and last on the bill is The Missing Christmas Tree which has seemingly taken minor inspiration from the Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree episode.

On a snowy Christmas Eve at the Town Square, Thomas the Tank Engine volunteers to let the children of Sodor decorate him while his friends search for the missing Christmas tree.

The new books from Random House and Golden Books hit UK and US book shelves from July 23rd 2013 to January 7th 2014.


Thanks to SteamTeam for the alert.

'Xmas Tree Express' boards ABC2's Thomas celebrations

Australian channel ABC2 are to host a selection of Christmas themed episodes in time for the festive season.

Over the course of three days, the television station will play a single episode each for the first two days before cramming in another six on Christmas Day.

The network premiere of The Christmas Tree Express will end the event before resuming a remainder run of Season Eleven.

ABC2's Thomas & Friends Christmas schedule;
Salty's Surprise
December 23rd at 2:50pm
Henry's Magic Box
Christmas Eve at 6:15pm
Percy the Snowman
Christmas Day at 6:20am
Merry Winter Wish
Christmas Day at 2:35pm
Merry Misty Island
Christmas Day at 2:45pm
Tree Trouble
Christmas Day at 2:55pm
Surprise, Surprise
Christmas Day at 3:10pm
The Christmas Tree Express
Christmas Day at 3:20pm

The stories range from the Fourteenth up to the latest Sixteenth Series. Channel 5 in the United Kingdom are due to air their Thomas themed Christmas as reported earlier this month.

ABC2's Thomas & Friends Christmas begins on December 23rd at 2:50pm with the episode, Salty's Surprise and culminates with The Christmas Tree Express on Christmas Day at 3:20pm.

Thanks to Thomas Stansfield for the alert.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hornby rejects new Thomas & Friends stock for 2013

Model makers Hornby have announced their 2013 range but have missed out a certain brand from the list.

In a U-turn and for the first time since 2010, new stock of Thomas & Friends are not part of Hornby's releases for the new year. In 2011, Murdoch's model resulted in acclaimed receptions from reviewers.

Earlier this year, Hornby insisted to Roll Along Thomas that the Thomas range was not over; We are not aware of any plans to stop or discontinue the Thomas and Friends range.

While the releases for the 2013 range will be announced at the end of this year, we are confident the Thomas and Friends range will continue.

In November, BBC News revealed a fall in sales in relation to their London Olympics merchandise. A reason that is thought to have attributed to Thomas' rejection was a 15% decline in general UK purchases.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Animators Nitrogen Studios launch official Twitter page

Ex Thomas & Friends animators Nitrogen Studios have created their own official Twitter page.

The Canadian studio owned by husband and wife team Greg Tiernan and Nicole Stinn joined the social networking website today.

An announcement was alerted from Nitrogen's latest vehicle Kodee's Canoe's page who tweeted; The creators and studio behind Kodee's Canoe have JUST joined the twitter universe. Who will be the first to follow?

Beforehand, @NitrogenStudios debuted their first tweet; Finally, a Nitrogen Studios twitter account. We had better catch up and tweet like crazy before the end of the world in 7 days...

The team's last contribution to Thomas in Blue Mountain Mystery left a lasting impression on fans with the most complex CGI ever seen in the show to date.

'Go Go Thomas' reworked for 2012 on 'Sticky Situations'

Ever popular song, Go Go Thomas has had alterations injected on its lyrics with the US the first to realise.

Available as an extra on the December Sticky Situations DVD, the changes begin to occur before the chorus section with the most notable coming at 25 seconds in.

On the tracks, though the trees, over the hills and by the sea, on the way for work and play, really useful every day!

Edward, Emily, James and Toby too, Gordon, Henry, Percy coming through, Thomas and friends all know what to do, they're the really useful crew!

To avoid referencing Hiro's secret restoration from Hero of the Rails, the line, all the friends are helping him out, removes the word him completely, with Sam Blewitt reprising his singing role to dub the new lyrics.

Scenes from Season Sixteen replace existing footage from the aforementioned special in the video while a small dose of Season Fourteen and Day of the Diesels clips are thrown in to keep up to date with the intervening years.

Furthermore, sound bytes of the engines' whistles and background noise for the vocals attribute to more ambience. Engine Roll Call was the first song to apply the same actions.

Sticky Situations from Lionsgate Entertainment is available to buy on US DVD.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

'Diesel's Delivery' and 'Up and Away!' adapted for vtech

Two episodes from the Animated series have been picked up by vtech to join their e-book reader.

Diesel's Special Delivery and Up, Up and Away! are the duo that are now available on the V.Reader device in both the UK and the US.

Compacted into a card, the learning tool allows users to interact with the stories, play games, explore educational activities and more, with new voice material recorded by Michael Brandon for the US version.

VTechToys, who have uploaded a demonstration video onto YouTube, detail the product further; In this e-book for kids, your child will love reading about Thomas and Percy delivering Mr. Bubbles' big balloon to the Big Balloon show.

The fun continues with a second story that follows Diesel as he makes a special delivery. As your child plays with this V.Reader software, they will learn vocabulary, letters, syllables, and more!

Another addition to the voices is also noted in the video's description reading; Uses the real voices of Thomas, Percy and Diesel.

Thomas & Friends on the V.Reader from vtech is now available to buy in UK and US stores.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

'Blue Mountain' and 'Tree Express' for Channel 5 Xmas

Channel 5 is to launch Blue Mountain Mystery on UK television on New Year's Day as part of the Christmas season.

The broadcaster is not only due to transmit the movie, but will also screen festive episodes in the run up to Christmas and the new year.

One of the episodes is the long awaited UK broadcast of The Christmas Tree Express which has already been seen on the US DVD, A Very Thomas Christmas.

The schedule listed by digiguide shows that a total of seven stories will form Channel 5's Thomas celebration.
Channel 5's Thomas & Friends Christmas schedule;
Emily's Winter Party Special
Christmas Eve at 7:35am
Merry Misty Island
Christmas Day at 6:00am
The Christmas Tree Express
Christmas Day at 7:35am
Henry's Magic Box
Boxing Day at 6:00am
Salty's Surprise
Boxing Day at 7:35am
Blue Mountain Mystery
New Year's Day at 9:10am
The Party Surprise
January 2nd 2013 at 6:00am

Christmas Tree Express' description teases; Rheneas wants to go to Misty Island to find a Christmas tree. It will make a nice surprise for his friends at the Blue Mountain Quarry.

But when he asks Toby to take him there, Toby is strangely reluctant. He's a little scared; he's heard that there are strange things on Misty Island...

Blue Mountain's paragraph reads; In a feature-length special, Thomas turns detective when he befriends a runaway engine at the Blue Mountain Quarry.

Channel 5's Thomas & Friends Christmas begins on Christmas Eve at 7:35am with the episode, Emily's Winter Party Special and culminates with The Party Surprise on January 2nd 2013 at 6:00am.

All episodes can be watched in high definition on Channel 5 HD and an hour later on Channel 5's timeshift service, Channel 5+1.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Official website adds steam, diesel and electric to depot

The Thomas & Friends website has at last added the remaining Animated era engines to the Engine Depot.

With calls from fans running consistently for sometime, the official website has finally taken action to respond to the many pleas for updates on the character profiles.

Successfully, Season Fourteen's Scruff, Season Sixteen's Stafford and Day of the Diesels' Norman, Paxton and Sidney are available to read and weep on the site.

More so, the CGI incarnation of Whiff has replaced its Season Eleven photo on the respective profile.

A background into Norman's relation with another diesel is explained; Norman is Dennis’ twin and a diesel engine who often breaks down. If he were fixed properly, he would show what a Really Useful Engine he is.

The caring side of Paxton is elaborated; Paxton is a young, gentle diesel who likes the Steamies, especially Thomas. He can be a bit gullible, enabling other Diesels to take advantage of him.

Scruff's relationship with Whiff is also talked about; Scruff the Scruncher is a boxy steam engine. He loves being dirty and doesn’t like being cleaned.

He’s a kind engine who often hides in sidings when others want to take him to the washdown. Scruff loves working with Whiff at the Waste Dump.

The reasoning for Sidney's lack of screen time follows with a never before mentioned cut scene; Sidney is a bit of a forgetful engine. He starts his day at one location and ends up at another, not remembering how he got there!

When it was his turn for repair at the Dieselworks, he was hoisted up and had his undercarriage removed. Being patient, Sidney was happy to wait...and wait...and wait.

He sat there happy to pass the time with any engine that happened to be visiting. Percy helped him get a new set of wheels and now he’s back on track!

An insight into Stafford reveals an unbeknown character trait;  Stafford is an electric engine who runs on batteries. He is very helpful and has a great sense of humour.

His range isn't as far as the Steamies and the Diesels. He often needs to remind the other Sodor engines that his batteries are low and need charging.

Lastly, Whiff's gullible side is detailed; Whiff’s has a look and a smell all of his own! He's a cheery, little tank engine with a very special job - he collects rubbish!

Whiff doesn't care about his appearance, he only cares that he gets the job done. Whiff loves collecting rubbish and doesn’t notice the turned up noses he passes along the way.


Thanks to TinyGordon for the alert.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Exclusive: 'Blue Mountain Mystery' for UK TV premiere

Blue Mountain Mystery is to gain a terrestrial broadcast on UK television this Christmas season.

Channel 5 is to debut the acclaimed movie during the Christmas celebrations, though no accurate dates and times are known.

As part of its milkshake! slot, the network's run has also involved the transmissions of fellow specials Calling All Engines!, Misty Island Rescue and Day of the Diesels.

Roll Along Thomas has presented a response returned from milkshake!; Blue Mountain Mystery is on over the Christmas period however we have not confirmed a date or a time but stay tuned to milkshake! for updates.

The announcement marks exactly three months to the day since Mystery was made available on DVD in the country.

Blue Mountain Mystery marks its UK TV debut on Channel 5 and Channel 5 HD this Christmas.

Thanks to SI3DFilms.