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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

New narrator Mark Moraghan leads new series changes

Season Seventeen is reported to herald a number of changes within its creative team.

Railway Mischief, the first glimpse of new episodes, was released today on DVD in Walmart stores across America. Fans have since ramped up information on the changes made to the show.

After being involved with Thomas & Friends from Season Six to Season Twelve, Paul Larson has returned to pen a number of episodes including Steamie Stafford with his longtime collaborator Laura Beaumont.

Gordon and Spencer writer Lee Pressman is also back who is been responsible for writing three of the newest stories, Kevin's Cranky Friend, Scruff's Makeover and Wayward Winston.

Assisting Hit Entertainment and producer Ian McCue is Halim Jabbour, who has revealed on his Linked in profile that the new series was made in 2 years within a budget of $6 million (£3.9 million).

The co-producer has also noted that the episode count has reverted back to its original quantity of 26. Sam Wilkinson serves as railway consultant.

With chief creative officer of Arc Productions Kallan Kagan producing the animation, Rob Silvestri has seemingly dropped out of the directing chair. David Baas has been named as his replacement.

But perhaps the most significant change is the departures of the longest running US storyteller Michael Brandon and Michael Angelis, whose impressive 21 year stint as UK narrator has come to an end.

Replacing them in English speaking territories and keeping in line with its Liverpudlian roots is Mark Moraghan.

The actor and singer is best known to UK viewers for playing Barry, one of the iconic scousers present in the comedy Harry Enfield and Chums.

He has had roles in major UK dramas including Brookside, London's Burning, Casualty, Holby City and Heartbeat.
More recently, he starred in CBBC's Rocket's Island, formally known as The Knot. The 50 year old is perhaps known to US viewers as Judge Monroe in the 1995 Sylvester Stallone starred film, Judge Dredd.

Mark's commitment to Thomas was first confirmed in November 2012 when The Vocal Booth posted a picture with him and voice director Mike Moran.

The brand new seventeenth series of Thomas & Friends airs this Autumn.

Railway Mischief from Lionsgate Entertainment is out now to buy on US DVD in Walmart.


  1. Michael Brandon wasn't my favorite, but I am shocked to see Michael Angelis gone! :0 I guess when somebody does something for a long time, you're surprised when they leave! Welcome to Mark Moranghan!

  2. Just as the show is starting to have a few re-introductions or mentionings of locations and engines not seen for so many seasons,like Duck and Grosby station, they go and replace Michael Angelis, not a very good and wise decision in my opinion, as far as have been able to tell from listening to Mark Moraghan's narration, he will never be quite as good as Michael has, or even Ringo Starr for that matter.

    1. Actually, I disagree, I think Mark's been what the series has needed for a while now - someone new and enthusiastic to freshen things up a bit. Given that his tone and style is like a cross between Angelis and Johnny Morris, it's incredibly well-suited to the series, and I can only hope he continues for a very long time to come.

  3. So far from the first five episodes, they were pretty decent, not as cringe-worthy as the previous 4 seasons... And having a new narrator for the show was definitely a nice change (no offense to MB and MA, but their voices were starting to deteriorate over time)...

    1. After watching them another time or two, I've realized that episodes have threes, but they're not three strikes. Thomas has again been shoehorned into every episode so far this season, and Steamie Stafford's a tad dull. But, I do like Moraghan's enthusiastic tones. Listen to the way he reads the titles. It seems a lot more enthusiastic then some of Brandon's later works. I was mad when Michael Angelis left the US after one release, but now we have a guy just like him in the US. The sound is extremely similar!