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Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Last Post: Roll Along Thomas ceases blogging

Well, here it is. Four and a half years later, this is the last hurrah, and after a slew of little exclusives finishing off what was left to be said, the overwhelming Tale of the Brave, the 30th birthday of the TV show, and much later than planned, this is the final furlong of the blog.

Roll Along Thomas was not meant to last forever. I begun it as a tool for any necessary findings within Thomas and used it, at the time, to publicise any videos I would have coming up on my dedicated YouTube channel, nowadays called The Thomas Variety Station, a subsidiary for Roll Along Thomas.

I then realised that I could use this to essentially be a peoples companion to anyone on the look out for news of the brand. A hub in some ways, but a collective to promote merchandise, the TV series and The Railway Series. It dawned on me that the popularity had increased among the fandom and I am still humbled by the recognition to this day. But with my acting studies and my opportunities in the profession rising, I knew I had to slow the blog down.

To condense, I just resided with the fact that not everything needs to be blogged, because I didn't have time, in later days, to talk about the most minute of things and instead focused on the more major news emerging. I even had to return to my desktop when abroad or react quickly on mobile while studying elsewhere. That's how mad its been. But personal prospects can take over you and not everything can last forever.

Now as a BA adult student, I am so fixated in the amount of work that is required to write, perform and be disciplined with, that I am extremely distracted to even think about the internet. I'd like to know how others can really find the time to go back to their most known hobbies. When there's career prospects you are working towards, the important thing, for me, is to focus on that.

I have found doing the work tough at times within the tight time-frames. Thinking up the necessary writing and paragraphs, avoiding repeating myself, making sure links are validated and proof read in order to think more creatively has been a tall order. But its been the weight on the shoulders to publish articles fast that has been the one tough task. The last several were already written weeks in advance. The world is watching...

I am blessed of those higher up and those associated who I have interviewed, spoken to and have met, enabling me to attend official launches and corporate events, leading me to become an occasional reporter for Doctor Who News (and to have been given the chance to have interacted infront of the legendary Tom Baker himself!).

A few to mention include Ben Small, Michael Brandon, Ian McCueSam Blewitt, the many representatives at Hit and Mark Moraghan for being so generous with their time to converse and for granting their blessings. It was also gratifying to have shared words in-front of Veronica Chambers and her late sister. The saviour that is Hilary Fortnam.

I hope to hear if it was worthwhile for all of you reading my work. There's so much in the archives. In some respects, I don't think I was appreciated enough. Being forgotten in lists and the odd few coming back to me then relegating vice-versa. Reading carefully can justify the correct mood that's coming across. I'd like to know what my reward is.

Thank you for using me as your guide for the world of Thomas and for following what I do. It allowed me to develop creativity in my mind and to gift the world. I grew to know more about how important policies were and to respect one another. Its been my duty therefore to gift the audience out there as I've matured and aged as a human being. I will continue to tweet about Thomas when I feel the need and to watch the show itself as a fan religiously.

If you want to know why I did this apart from the families who wanted to find ways to treat their children, I did it for the fans. I wouldn't want to pass the baton on to anyone to take over as I probably would be sceptical about the writing style and the requirements of the format. I do hope I have signalled many to push with their own blogs or websites, to do what they do, and to not do a copy and paste job of what I have done. I hope I will be surprised.

For you all, I can only promise you that big things are in store for Thomas & Friends in 2015. With The Railway Series 70th anniversary fast approaching, expect some big surprises. A few very special events, commendable additions, returning characters, the next special and a real game-changer is afoot. What area does that entail? In the words of The Fat Controller, you will see that some things are worth waiting for.

Would I ever go back to writing here or for the world? That I can't answer. It would have to be on conditions. On a lighter note, and a bit of a lovely parting gift, its perhaps slightly ill-timed and bittersweet that my baby has been given an endorsement.
C'est la vie Roll Along Thomas. See you on the other side.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Feature: Britt Allcroft's Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends TV series celebrates 30th anniversary

Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends celebrated its 30th birthday today.

The TV series made its debut three decades ago today on itv in the United Kingdom on October 9th 1984, with Ringo Starr narrating the first televised episode, Thomas and Gordon.

The Railway Series creator Rev. W. Awdry and Starr at the time promoted the First Season on BBC One's Good Morning Britain in a live interview.
The show was filmed with full scale models at the prestigious Shepperton Studios in London, directed by the late David Mitton.

20 years later, the series' format was refreshed under Hit Entertainment and direction by veteran Steve Asquith in 2004 with the arrival of the Eighth Season on British television.

2009 saw the model era replaced by full CGI of Greg Tiernan and Nitrogen Studios Canada with the Hero of the Rails special, and the 13th Season following on a year later, head written by Sharon Miller.

2013 brought another change in Arc Productions Toronto continuing the CGI tradition and head writer Andrew Brenner starting with King of the Railway, bringing in Rob Silvestri to direct future specials.
That same year, the 17th Season arrived through David Baas before being replaced as director by David Stoten and Don Spencer for the latest 18th Season.

Before the milestone, Channel 5, the current home of new episodes for the UK, aired the first 16 of Season 18 from August 25th to September 16th. With 10 yet for broadcast, several are planned for DVD releases.

The 30th anniversary run has garnered a mostly positive response, some of which had already been received after being previewed on the US Trouble on the Tracks DVD.

Also acclaimed by fans was Tale of the Brave, the eighth feature-length special and the ninth movie overall in the franchise, which found its way onto UK DVD at the start of September.
Throughout its 30 years in the UK and US, Ringo Starr, Michael Angelis, George Carlin, Alec Baldwin, Michael Brandon, Pierce Brosnan and Mark Moraghan have made the pantheon of men narrating the many tales of Sodor.

Mike O' Donnell and Junior Campbell composed the Classic tenure's music before handing over to Robert Hartshorne and Ed Welch for the New Series, the latter for sing-a-long songs. Hartshorne continues to score the show today.

Presently, the day was marked with commendations from fans on social media, bringing attention to the Thomas & Friends UK Twitter and facebook pages.

Creator and producer Britt Allcroft, who masterminded the show's launch and its early classic seasons, paid tribute to its enduring legacy and its fans on her facebook page.

Within a couple of weeks, we found out we had 5 million viewers and all the passion, hard work, and despite the ne'er do wells, the years of preparation were all so very worthwhile. So many wonderful people to remember.
David and all the crew, Ringo, Mike and Junior, plus Lewis Rudd of ITV, who believed enough to take the gamble to give us a national TV slot, and our local bank manager.

Without his confidence, there wouldn't have been money to fund the first series! And you, the incredible fans, Everyone of you. Long live storytelling and the wonders of imagination. With love to you all wherever you are.

Hit Entertainment meanwhile are to focus on the 70th anniversary of The Railway Series in 2015.

With preperations underway, the celebrations are to coincide with a prospected 19th season of the TV show and another special, with an array of special events and surprises in store.