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The twelfth series of Thomas & Friends began airing in September 2008. It was the first series to utilise CGI elements, with the vehicles' faces being animated in CGI and other characters being fully CGI animated. There are twenty episodes in this series and all were narrated by Michael Brandon in the US. 

Production

Unexceptionally, Series 12 marked the beginning of the show's transition into CGI. HIT Entertainment was originally keen on producing more model/CGI series but the plans fell through because of its low finances and budget.

The characters' faces were animated through CGI with the aid of motion capture animation. The physical models' moulded faces were replaced by white targets with triangles to fix a computer-animated face in post-production.

Episodes

  1. Thomas and the Billboard
  2. Steady Eddie
  3. Rosie's Carnival Special
  4. Mountain Marvel
  5. Henry Gets it Wrong
  6. Heave Ho Thomas!
  7. Toby's Special Surprise
  8. Excellent Emily
  9. The Party Surprise
  10. Saved You!
  11. Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon
  12. James Works it Out
  13. Tram Trouble
  14. Don't Go Back
  15. Gordon Takes a Shortcut
  16. The Man in the Hills
  17. Thomas Puts the Brakes On
  18. Percy and the Bandstand
  19. Push Me, Pull You
  20. Best Friends

Songs

Characters

Characters Introduced

  • Hank
  • Flora
  • Colin
  • The Balloon Repairman
  • The Bargeman
  • The Blond-haired Engineer
  • The Tree Specialists (do not speak)
  • Mr. Giggles (does not speak)
  • Miss Marvel (does not speak)
  • The Fireman (does not speak)
  • The Schoolchildren (do not speak)
  • The Percival Children (The Percival Twins; do not speak: The rest of them; cameo)
  • The Ginger-haired Boy (cameo)
  • The Blond-haired Boy (cameo)
  • The Teacher (cameo)
  • The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
  • Barrow Football Fan (cameo)
  • The Female Puppet Show Entertainer (cameo)

Half Hour Format

When series 12 aired on PBS Kids, Nick Jr. UK and Treehouse, each broadcast had 2 episodes from series 12, a segment dedicated to one of Thomas' friends and past animated learning segments and songs from series 8, 9and 10 were used.

Good Friends

  • Best Friends
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Emily
  • Song: H is for Harold
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Rosie and Molly
  • Learning Segment: What is Henry Thinking of?
  • Henry Gets it Wrong

Being Careful

  • Thomas and the Billboard
  • Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Percy
  • Learning Segment: Who Should Take the Telegraph Pole?
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Toby
  • Learning Segment: Which Way Should Thomas and Emily Go?
  • Learning Segment: Which Whistle Suits Thomas?
  • Steady Eddie

Good Turns

  • Heave Ho Thomas!
  • Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - James
  • Song: Pride
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Henry
  • Learning Segment: Which Engine for Which Job?
  • Toby's Special Surprise

Right Track

  • Don't Go Back
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Gordon
  • Learning Segment: Over the Bridge
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Gordon
  • Learning Segment: Which Track for Henry?
  • Learning Segment: Emily Huffs out of the Station
  • Percy and the Bandstand

Courage

  • Thomas Puts the Brakes On
  • Learning Segment: Guess the Engine - Emily
  • Song: Brave
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Neville and Dennis
  • Learning Segment: Getting There
  • Gordon Takes a Shortcut

Presents and Prizes

  • The Man in the Hills
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Edward
  • Learning Segment: What is Thomas Thinking of?
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Harold and Jeremy
  • Learning Segment: Which Load to Which Station?
  • Excellent Emily

Kindness

  • Tram Trouble
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Toby
  • Song: Responsibility
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Edward
  • Learning Segment: Who Can get to the Washdown?
  • James Works it Out

Pulling Together

  • Rosie's Funfair Special
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Percy
  • Song: Togetherness
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Diesel
  • Learning Segment: Which Load for Which Party?
  • Push Me, Pull You

Adventures

  • Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Thomas
  • Learning Segment: What Does Toby see?
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - The Narrow Gauge Engines
  • Learning Segment: Percy's Treasure
  • Mountain Marvel

Mistakes

  • Saved You!
  • Learning Segment: Dot to Dot - Gordon
  • Song: Doing it Right
  • Thomas' Favourite Friends - Percy
  • Learning Segment: Surprise Destinations
  • The Party Surprise

Trivia

  • Nitrogen Studios began production on this series in November 2007.[1] Additionally, according to writer Andrew Viner's website, the episode Rosie's Funfair Special was commissioned/written in 2007.
  • This was the first series of several things:
    • The first series where all engines' faces, human characters, animals and environmental surroundings are in full CGI and have animation.
    • Sharon Miller's first series as head writer.
    • Claire Waxler's first series as supervising producer, albeit uncredited, while being her first and only series as animation coordinator.
    • The first series to be in 1080p progressive scan full high definition.
    • The first series to have twenty episodes.
    • The first series produced and to contain CGI by Nitrogen Studios.
    • The first HiT series recorded and edited in 25 FPS (aside from the end credits).
    • The first Thomas & Friends production since Thomas and the Magic Railroad in which humans and animals are shown walking onscreen.
    • The first series to premiere on Milkshake! before the half hour airings on Nick Jr. in the UK.
    • The first series since their debuts where 'Arry and Rocky appear, but do not speak in any of their appearances.
    • The first series in which Stephen Hatt does not appear.
    • The first series to have Mark Robertson write episodes for the series.
    • The first series in which Butch does not appear since his introduction in the fifth series.
    • The first series in which each of the characters have their own voices in the South Korean dub.
    • The first series where James only speaks in two episodes.
    • The first series where James does not visit the narrow gauge railway.
    • The first series where Ffarquhar Quarry does not appear.
  • This was also the last series of several things as well:
    • The last series to use models and resin faces, however the resin faces were only used in background shots.
    • Simon Spencer's last series as producer and showrunner.
    • The last series filmed at Shepperton Studios.
    • The last series in which where Stepney, Arthur, Murdoch, Neville, Freddie, Mighty Mac, Hector, Jeremy, Dusty Miller, Alice, the Photographer, Mrs. Percival, the Dockyard Manager, and three Members of the Railway Board appear.
    • The last series to feature songs composed by Ed Welch.
    • The television series veteran Steve Asquith's final series as director.
    • The last production to have all of the characters voiced by the narrator until Thomas Goes to New York.
    • The last series to have Abi Grant, Simon Spencer and Wayne Jackman as a part of the writing team.
    • The last time Paul Larson writes an episode until the seventeenth series as well as the last series where he writes an episode by himself.
    • The final time until the eighteenth series episode, Samson Sent for Scrap to use the brake sound from The Train.
    • The last series until the twenty second series to introduce more than one engine.
    • The last series to have songs sung by children until The Adventure Begins.
    • The last series since to have 7-minute episodes until the twenty-second series.
    • The last series to open with Awdry's letter to Christopher in television broadcasts.
    • The last series until the seventeenth to not feature Thomas or any Steam Team member in every episode.
    • Marc Seal and Sharon Miller's last series as Additional Material Written.
    • This series marks the last appearance of Killdane Junction
  • This was also the only series of several things as well:
    • The only series to use a hybrid model/CGI mix.
    • Dino Athanassiou's only series as CGI director.
    • Pete Atkin's only series as voice director.
    • The only series in which where Stepney speaks in the US dub, but not the UK dub.
    • The only series where Ben appears without Bill.
    • The only series where Alfie, Cranky, and Arthur appear, but do not speak since their introductions.
    • The only series not shown on Japanese television, but some episodes have been shown exclusively at Thomas Land's 3D Theatre and Video on Demand in Japan.
    • The only series to not be completely dubbed in Japanese.
    • The only CGI series not to have a full voice cast for the characters outside of France and Korea.
    • The only series to have Anna Starkey write an episode for the series.
    • The only series to have Andrew Viner write for the series until the sixteenth series.
    • The only series not dubbed in Dutch.
    • The only series where Flora, Hank and Colin appear. Colin was meant to appear in King of the Railway, but was cut for unknown reasons.
    • The only series to not include an original music video.
  • Aside from the Teacher and the tree specialists, all of the characters introduced in this series have only ever appeared in their debut episodes.
  • This series contained the 300th episode of the television series, which was James Works it Out.
  • Pierce Brosnan was originally hired to narrate this series after The Great Discovery, but he was withdrawn from the series and Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon returned to replace Brosnan. Brosnan is known to have recorded narration for, at the very least, several episodes of the series.
  • This is the second series after the ninth series in which Spencer does not appear.
  • In the UK, this series had been shown before The Great Discovery, meaning that the audience may not have known about Stanley or Great Waterton.
  • This series was never shown in Hungary, Norway, Romania, Poland and the Netherlands, meaning audiences would not know about any of the new characters introduced in this series.
  • Harvey, Arthur, Cranky, Max/Monty, Annie, and Clarabel were the only non-human characters not to utilise CGI face masks. However, two pictures from a magazine story shows Harvey with a CGI face.
  • Despite using CGI for the engines' faces, there are scenes that show some characters with their face castings.
  • One year later in 2009, the twelfth series along with the eighth to eleventh series aired at 5.35 or 5.40 am on Sundays and Mondays until the rights from live action model animation expired in 2012.
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