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The fifth series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television narrated by Alec Baldwin in the US.

Production

With Series 5, the decision was made to write a full series of original, staff-written stories, without using the Railway Series' books as a source. One reason for this was producer Britt Allcroft's desire to create a theatrical Thomas the Tank Engine film and requested that director David Mitton show off his modelling skills. Series 5 also took on edgier and darker plot lines and included much more intense action and crashes.

Some inspiration for the episodes came from a former LMR manager named David Maidment. In 1997, Maidment met with Steven Wright about the possibility of supporting the Railway Children charity and while Wright told him the series' staff commonly received such requests, they would consider. During their meeting, Maidment relayed stories about his railway experiences working in South Walesand as the manager at Crewe station. Maidment received a call asking if he would allow some of his stories to be used as material – the stories from the Railway Series were frequently based on true events and Allcroft and Mitton preferred this. Maidment agreed and was also asked to review each story to make sure that the railway in the show operated realistically. As a result, Maidment received writing credit alongside Allcroft and Mitton. 10,000 British pounds was later donated to the Railway Children for his work.

The design for each new character would be chosen by David Evesand given to David Mitton for approval. For ease of filming, Series 5 would introduce larger-scale versions of the narrow gauge engines and from Series 6-12, these larger models were used almost exclusively. Originally, the character Bertram was supposed to be a tank engine, but financial difficulty in building a new model made them repaint Duke's model with Smudger's face.

Episodes

  1. Cranky Bugs
  2. Horrid Lorry
  3. A Better View for Gordon
  4. Lady Hatt's Birthday Party
  5. James and the Trouble with Trees
  6. Gordon and the Gremlin
  7. Bye George!
  8. Baa!
  9. Put Upon Percy
  10. Toby and the Flood
  11. Haunted Henry
  12. Double Teething Troubles
  13. Stepney Gets Lost
  14. Toby's Discovery
  15. Something in the Air
  16. Thomas, Percy and Old Slow Coach
  17. Thomas and the Rumours
  18. Oliver's Find
  19. Happy Ever After
  20. Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday
  21. A Big Surprise for Percy
  22. Make Someone Happy
  23. Busy Going Backwards
  24. Duncan Gets Spooked
  25. Rusty and the Boulder
  26. Snow

Songs

Characters

  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Duck
  • Oliver
  • Bill and Ben
  • Stepney
  • BoCo
  • Mavis
  • Skarloey
  • Rheneas
  • Duncan
  • Rusty
  • Annie and Clarabel
  • Troublesome Trucks
  • Toad
  • Terence
  • Bertie
  • George
  • Caroline
  • Harold
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Lady Hatt
  • Stephen Hatt
  • Bridget Hatt
  • Mrs. Kyndley
  • The Little Boys
  • The Firelighter
  • The Callan Stationmaster
  • The Crosby Stationmaster
  • The Maithwaite Stationmaster
  • The Signalman
  • Harold's Pilots
  • A Workman
  • Jem Cole (not named)
  • Farmer Trotter (not named)
  • Peter Sam (does not speak)
  • Henrietta (does not speak)
  • Donald (cameo)
  • Trevor (cameo)
  • Big Mickey (cameo)
  • The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
  • Refreshment Lady (cameo)
  • Nancy (cameo)
  • The Dryaw Policeman (cameo)
  • Farmer Finney (cameo)
  • The Ffarquhar Stationmaster (cameo)
  • The Storyteller (cameo)
  • The Butler (cameo)
  • The Crovan's Gate Policeman (cameo)
  • The Tailor (cameo)
  • The Mid Sodor Railway Manager (cameo)
  • The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (cameo)
  • The Painter (cameo)
  • The Quarry-master (cameo)
  • The Railway Board (cameo)
  • The Portly Man (cameo)
  • Duke (portrait; cameo)
  • Bulstrode (faceless; cameo)
  • Izzy Gomez ​(faceless; cameo)
  • Märklin Engine (scrapped model cameo)
  • City of Truro (scrapped model cameo)
  • Douglas (music video cameo)
  • Diesel (music video cameo)
  • Daisy (music video cameo)
  • Class 40 (music video cameo)
  • Sir Handel (music video cameo)
  • Jeremiah Jobling (music video cameo)
  • Tom Tipper (music video cameo)
  • Elizabeth II (music video cameo)
  • The Ffarquhar Policeman (music video cameo)
  • The Stone-dropping Boys (music video cameo)
  • The Barber (music video cameo)
  • The Careless Cleaner (music video cameo)
  • The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Children (music video cameo)
  • The Injured Sailor (music video cameo)
  • S.C. Ruffey (deleted scene cameo)

Characters Introduced

  • Old Slow Coach
  • The Horrid Lorries
  • Cranky
  • Old Bailey
  • The Fire Brigade
  • The Special Visitor
  • Mrs. Kyndley's Daughter
  • Tiger Moth's Pilot
  • Derek (not named)
  • 'Arry (not named)
  • Dowager Hatt (not named)
  • The Lighthouse Keeper (not named)
  • Bert (does not speak)
  • Bertram (does not speak)
  • Rusty's Ghost Engine (does not speak)
  • Butch (does not speak)
  • Tiger Moth (does not speak)
  • Thumper (does not speak)
  • The Wedding Guests (do not speak)
  • Boulder (does not speak)
  • Harry Topper (mentioned)

Trivia

  • This was the first series of several things:
    • The first series not to have any episodes based on the Railway Series stories by Wilbert and Christopher Awdry.
    • The first series where some railway on Sodor is referred to as a railroad, Duncan Gets Spooked however, is the first episode that referred a railway as a railroad, even though it is an American term in the US.
    • The first series to introduce original characters with no connection to the Railway Series.
    • Alec Baldwin's first series as narrator.
    • The first series to use a Proteus 2000 to compose the music.
    • The first series not dubbed in Ukrainian.
    • The first series dubbed by The Maidstone Studios.
    • The first series in which the phrase, "confusion and delay" is said.
    • The first series in which Elsbridge does not appear.
    • The first series to feature Thomas' unused aghast face mask from Series 3.
  • According to an interview with David Mitton before his death in 2008, this series was supposed to be a showcase for Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
  • This series features more songs than any other to date, at a total of ten.
  • This was also the final series of several things:
    • Britt Allcroft's final series as writer and producer.
    • David Mitton's final series as producer.
    • Angus Wright's last series as executive producer.
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