Dubbing Wikia
Advertisement

Thomas & Friends (formerly Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends from 1984 until 2002) is a British children's Television series based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher Awdry. The series first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom in September 1984.

In the United States, it had its first broadcast on Shining Time Station in 1989. For American audiences, the Series is redubbed using American Railway terminology among other changes done to fit the ideals of the American public (political correctness changing the perceived harshness of some of the dialogue).

Synopsis

These series follows the adventures of a group of anthropomorphised locomotives and road vehicles who live on the fictional Island of Sodor. The books were based on stories Wilbert told to entertain his son, Christopher, during his recovery from measles. Many of the stories from the first four series are based on events from Awdry's personal experience.


Dubbing History

In 1988, producer Britt Allcroft began work on launching the Thomas franchise in the United States. Striking a deal with PBS, she co-created Shining Time Station with Rick Siggelkow, with the show acting as a vessel to introduce Thomas to American audiences. The series would be a half-hour program revolving around one or two episodes of Thomas, and exploring the lessons and morals within the stories. Ringo Starr played Mr. Conductor, an eighteen-inch tall man who told the stories of Thomas to the children who visited the station.

In a bid to fit the ideals of the American public, numerous changes took place to the episodes themselves. Several titles were changed; many technical terms were adapted to suit the American audiences' familiarity, and the title of 'Fat Controller' was politically corrected to 'Sir Topham Hatt' so as not to offend. The original British narration for the series was used, albeit slightly altered throughout with Ringo re-recording some parts to adapt the story with necessary changes, recommended by Allcroft's American television advisors, including child psychologist Dr. Ron Slaby.

After Ringo left Thomas and Shining Time to pursue his musical career, comedian George Carlin was brought in the replace him as Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station and narrator the American dub (while Michael Angelis was brought in for the UK Narration). Carlin also re-narrated Seasons 1 and 2 (11 of which Ringo had not re-narrated for US audiences). Following Shining Time Station's third season in 1992, the preference was to produce specials of that series instead. As a result, Thomas' fourth season was the first one to be released straight to video, which is how much of its future seasons would be released in the US.

Following Carlin's departure from the series after the 4th Season, actor Alec Baldwin would be brought in to narrate the American version of the 5th Season, and would later play Mr. Conductor in Thomas & the Magic Railroad. Baldwin would briefly return to narrate the 6th Season in 2002, before moving on for his acting career. In 2004, British Narrator Michael Angelis would very briefly re-narrate 6 episodes from the 7th and 6th series for the VHS and DVD release New Friends for Thomas & Other Adventures.

With the acquisition of the Thomas & Friends franchise by HiT Entertainment, the series was now redubbed for American audiences terrestrially in the United Kingdom. American-born actor Michael Brandon was brought in as the new narrator for American audiences, narrating Seasons 7 through 16, as well as renarrating six episodes from Season 6. Pierce Brosnan briefly served as guest narrator for the special The Great Discovery, and was initially set to replace Brandon and Michael Angelis in both narrations starting with the 12th Season, but this fell through for unknown reasons.

In 2009, with the transition from models and sets to CGI, the series would move on to feature separate voice actors for the characters. The series' American and British dubs were both recorded in the United Kingdom, featuring the same pool of actors but in different roles for each dub, with some exceptions. Since the 16th Season, many characters gradually began having the same voice actor in the US as the UK dub.

Voice Cast

Model Series (Seasons 1-12)

Image Characters U.K. Dub United Kingdom U.S. Dub United States Seasons
Narrator / Character Voices Ringo Starr Ringo Starr (original airings) 1-2
George Carlin (re-dub)
Michael Angelis George Carlin 3-4
Alec Baldwin 5
Alec Baldwin (original airings & home video releases) 6
Michael Brandon
(re-dub, 6 eps.)
Michael Brandon 7-12

CGI Series

Image Character U.K. Dub United Kingdom U.S. Dub United States Seasons
Main Characters
Narrator Michael Angelis Michael Brandon 13-16
Mark Moraghan 17-21
Thomas Thomas & Friends.png Thomas Ben Small Martin Sherman 13-18
John Hasler Joseph May 19-24
Edward Thomas & Friends.png Edward Keith Wickham William Hope 13-24
Henry Thomas & Friends.png Henry Kerry Shale 13-24
Gordon Thomas & Friends.png Gordon 13-24
JamesCGIpromo2.jpg James 13-18
Rob Rackstraw 19-20 (ep. 24)
Rob Rackstraw 20 (ep. 26)-24
Percy Thomas & Friends.png Percy Keith Wickham Martin Sherman 13-18
Nigel Pilkington Christopher Ragland 19-24
Toby Thomas & Friends.jpg Toby Ben Small William Hope 13-18
Rob Rackstraw 19-24
Emily Thomas & Friends.png Emily Teresa Gallagher Jules de Jongh 13-24
NiaBWBA.png Nia Yvonne Grundy 22-24
Rebecca Thomas & Friends.jpg Rebecca Rachael Miller 22-24
Sir Topham Hatt Thomas & Friends.png The Fat Controller /
Sir Topham Hatt
Keith Wickham Kerry Shale 13-18
Keith Wickham 19-24
Secondary Characters
DuckCGIpromo.png Duck
(Montague)
Steven Kynman 17-23
Donald Thomas & Friends.png Donald & Douglas Rob Rackstraw 20-21
Douglas Thomas & Friends.png Joe Mills 20-21
Olivercgi.png Oliver 18-24
Bill Thomas & Friends.png Bill & Ben Jonathan Broadbent 17-19
Rasmus Hardiker 22-24
Ben Thomas & Friends.png Jonathan Broadbent 17-19
Matt Wilkinson 22-24
HarveyPromo.png Harvey Keith Wickham 17-23
Spencercgi.png Spencer Matt Wilkinson Glenn Wrage 13-22
Rosie Thomas & Friends.png Rosie Teresa Gallagher Jules de Jongh 13-16
RosieCGINWR.png Nicola Stapleton 21-24
Whiff Thomas & Friends.png Whiff Keith Wickham William Hope 14-22
Stanley Thomas & Friends.png Stanley Matt Wilkinson Ben Small 15-18
David Menkin 19
Rob Rackstraw 20-23
John Schwab 20 (ep. 8)
Hirocgi.png Hiro Togo Igawa 13-24
Charliecgi.png Charlie Matt Wilkinson Glenn Wrage 13-15
Ben Small 16-18
Bashcgi.png Bash & Dash William Hope 14-16
Dashcgi.png Keith Wickham Kerry Shale 14-16
Ferdinandcgi.png Ferdinand Ben Small Glenn Wrage 14-16
Scruffcgi.png Scruff Matt Wilkinson Kerry Shale 14-19
Belle Thomas & Friends.png Belle Teresa Gallagher 15-24
Stephen.jpg Stephen Bob Golding 17-21
Connorcgi.png Connor Jonathan Forbes 17-20
Caitlincgi.png Caitlin Rebecca O'Mara 17-19
Jules de Jongh 20-23
Porter Thomas & Friends.png Porter Steven Kynman David Menkin 17-23
David Menkin 20 (ep. 8)
21 (ep. 8)
Timothy Thomas & Friends.png Timothy Tim Whitnall 18-19
Gatorpromo2.png Gator Clive Mantle 18
Samson Thomas & Friends.png Samson Robert Wilfort 18-22
Ryan Thomas & Friends.png Ryan Steven Kynman 20-21
Glynn Thomas & Friends.png Glynn Keith Wickham 20-23
Diesel Thomas & Friends.png Diesel Kerry Shale Michael Brandon 13-16
Martin Sherman 17-18
Kerry Shale 19-24
DaisyCGI.png Daisy Tracy-Ann Oberman 20-24
Maviscgi.png Mavis Teresa Gallagher Jules de Jongh 13-16
Teresa Gallagher 17-21
Arrycgi.png 'Arry & Bert Kerry Shale 14-21
Bertcgi.png 14-15
William Hope 16-21
Diesel10cgi.png Diesel 10 Matt Wilkinson 17
Saltycgi.png Salty Keith Wickham 14-24
Den Thomas & Friends.png Den 15-23
Dart Thomas & Friends.png Dart Rupert Degas 15-16
Steven Kynman 17-23
Paxton Thomas & Friends.png Paxton 17-24
Norman Thomas & Friends.png Norman Keith Wickham 17-24
Sidneycgi.png Sidney Bob Golding 17-24
Winston Thomas & Friends.png Winston Matt Wilkinson 16-24
Staffordcgi.png Stafford Keith Wickham 16-20
Philip.png Philip Rasmus Hardiker 19-24
Hugocgi.png Hugo Rob Rackstraw 20
Skarloeycgi.png Skarloey Keith Wickham 16-24
Rheneascgi.png Rheneas Ben Small 16-18
John Hasler 20
Sir Handel Thomas & Friends.png Sir Handel Keith Wickham 16-24
PeterSamcgi.png Peter Sam Steven Kynman 16-24
Rustycgi.png Rusty Matt Wilkinson 16-24
DuncanCGIpromo.png Duncan Tom Stourton 18-20
Victor Thomas & Friends.png Victor Matt Wilkinson David Bedella 13-16
David Bedella 17-24
Millie Thomas & Friends.jpg Millie Miranda Raison 17-23
Luke Thomas & Friends.png Luke Michael Legge 17-21
Mike Thomas & Friends.png Mike Tim Whitnall 20-24
Rex Thomas & Friends.png Rex Tom Stourton 20-24
Bert Thomas & Friends.png Bert Keith Wickham 20-24
Anniecgi.png Annie & Clarabel Teresa Gallagher 17-24
Clarabelcgi.png 17-24
Henriettacgi.png Henrietta Maggie Ollerenshaw 18-24
TTcgi.png Troublesome Trucks Ben Small 16-18
Christopher Ragland 19-24
ToadPromo.png Toad Joe Mills 18-20
Rockycgi.png Rocky Matt Wilkinson William Hope 13-24
SlipCoach1.png Slip Coach #1 Jonathan Broadbent 18
SlipCoach2.png Slip Coach #2 Rebecca O'Mara 18
SlipCoach3.png Slip Coach #3 Steven Kynman 18
Marion Thomas & Friends.png Marion Olivia Colman 18-20
Lucy Montgomery 24
Jerome Thomas & Friends.png Jerome Tim Whitnall 20-22
Judy Thomas & Friends.png Judy Teresa Gallagher 20-22
Bradford Thomas & Friends.png Bradford Rob Rackstraw 20
Bertie.png Bertie Rupert Degas 15-16
Keith Wickham 17-24
Haroldcgi.png Harold Keith Wickham Kerry Shale 14-24
TerenceCGI.jpg Terence Tom Stourton 21-23
Trevorcgi.png Trevor Nigel Pilkington Christopher Ragland 20-22
BulgyCGI.png Bulgy Colin McFarlane 21-24
Crankycgi.png Cranky Matt Wilkinson Glenn Wrage 13-24
Butchcgi.jpg Butch Rupert Degas 15
Matt Wilkinson 16
Steven Kynman 17-19
Jackcgi.png Jack Steven Kynman David Menkin 20-23
AlfieinCGI.png Alfie Nathan Clarke 20
Tom Stourton 23
Oliverpackcgi.png Oliver Tim Whitnall 20-23
MaxMontycgi.png Max & Monty Tim Whitnall Kerry Shale 20-23
Rasmus Hardiker Rob Rackstraw 20-23
Kevincgi.png Kevin Matt Wilkinson Kerry Shale 13-23
Captaincgi.png Captain Keith Wickham 14-20
Flynn Thomas & Friends.png Flynn Rupert Degas 15-16
Ben Small 17
Kerry Shale 19 (ep. 5)
Rob Rackstraw 19-23
Merrickcgi.png Merrick Matt Wilkinson 17-24
Owencgi.png Owen Ben Small 17-18
Rob Rackstraw 23-24
Reg Thomas & Friends.png Reg Tim Whitnall 18-24
Skiff Thomas & Friends.png Skiff Jamie Campbell Bower 20-24
Big Mickey.jpg Big Mickey Rob Rackstraw 21-24
CarlyT&F.png Carly Lucy Montgomery 21-24
Lady Hatt.png Lady Hatt Teresa Gallagher Jules de Jongh 13-24
StephenBridgetcgi.png Stephen Hatt Matt Wilkinson William Hope 13
Teresa Gallagher 14
Teresa Gallagher 19-24 (ep. 8)
Rachael Miller 24 (ep. 12)
Bridget Hatt Teresa Gallagher Jules de Jongh 13-14
Teresa Gallagher 19-24 (ep. 8)
Rachael Miller 24 (ep. 12)
Dowager Hattcgi2.png Dowager Hatt Keith Wickham 13-24
Farmer McColl cgi.png Farmer McColl Matt Wilkinson William Hope 13-22
Alicia Botti cgi.png Alicia Botti Jules de Jongh 13-14
MayorSodor.png The Mayor of Sodor Keith Wickham David Bedella 13-16
David Bedella 19-21
Mr. Percival.png Mr. Percival Keith Wickham Kerry Shale 16-24
Boxford.png The Duke of Boxford Matt Wilkinson William Hope 15-24
The Duchess of Boxford Teresa Gallagher Jules de Jongh 16-24
Mr. Bubbles.png Mr. Bubbles Keith Wickham Michael Brandon 13-15
Sir Robert Norramby Thomas.png Sir Robert Norramby Mike Grady 17-24

Notes

  • Ringo Starr's US narration only covers 25 of the 26 first season episodes, and only 16 of the 26 second season episodes.
    • Ringo Starr's narration for the episode "Thomas & the Missing Christmas Tree" was released on the VHS for the Shining Time Station Christmas special 'Tis a Gift. This, however, was the UK Narration with any lines mentioning Sir Topham Hatt as "The Fat Controller" removed.
  • The UK Narration was once released in the United States on The Early Years three disc DVD set in 2004.
  • Michael Angelis re-recorded some of his narration for the U.S. DVD New Friends for Thomas and Other Adventures.
  • Michael Brandon's narration of the 7th Season has only been released with a re-composed score by Ed Welch and Robert Hartshorne (composers for Seasons 8-12) rather than the original score by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell. The only exceptions are three episodes released on the Thomas and the Jet Engine DVD in 2004.
  • Despite attempts to use strictly American terminology for the dub, there have been several instances where British terminology is used.
    • Various merchandising released in the US still use British terminology (referring to Sir Topham Hatt as "The Fat Controller" and the Freight Cars as "The Troublesome Trucks").
    • In "The Flying Kipper", Ringo's original narration referring to the conductor as a guard is left intact. This is repeated in George Carlin's narration.
    • Since the sixth Season, the narrator has inconsistently referred to the Trucks by their American standard (Freight Cars) and their British standard (Troublesome Trucks).
  • Various instances of characters' US voices being slipped into the UK version are known to occur (or vice versa).
  • David Menkin was asked to replace Martin Sherman as the voice of Thomas after his departure, but Menkin declined in support of Sherman.

Transmission

Shining Time Station

Date(s) Channel Country
1989-1998 PBS United States United States
1998-1999 Fox Family
2000 Nickelodeon
(Nick Jr.)

Thomas & Friends

Date(s) Channel Seasons Country
2004-2017 PBS 6-21 United States United States
2005-2015 PBS Kids Sprout 1-18
2000, 2017-2019 Nickelodeon (Nick Jr.) 19-21

See Also

External Links

Advertisement