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The third season of the television series first premiered on VHS in 11 November, 1991 in the UK before airing on television. It first aired in the US in 1991 on Shining Time Station, with the last 10 episodes following in 1993. The whole season first aired in the UK from 25th February to 14 July, 1992. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and by George Carlin in the US and New Zealand.

Production

Before production of the third season, Clearwater Features closed down, with The Britt Allcroft Company becoming the sole producer. Producer Robert D. Cardona left before the third season and Britt Allcroft took his place as co-producer alongside David Mitton. According to Robert Gauld-Galliers, "Gordon Goes Foreign" was originally planned to be filmed into an episode, but it was not filmed because of high budgets.

The series was a combination of episodes derived from the Railway Series, magazines stories (written by the series' current head writer, Andrew Brenner) and a couple of original stories by Allcroft and Mitton. One of the primary reasons for diverging from the original books was that many of the stories not yet used featured large numbers of new characters, which would be expensive to produce. Another reason was that the producers wanted more stories about Thomas, the nominal main character. The Rev. W. Awdry noticed the more loose adaptations and disapproved of the new stories citing they were unrealistic.

Episodes

Screenshot UK title (top)
US title (bottom)
Original UK release date Episode number #
AScarfforPercy8A Scarf for Percy11th November 1991 (VHS)
25th February 1992
#01
Percy wishes he could wear scarves, but gets more than he bargained for when he runs into the Fat Contoller's baggage.
Percy'sPromise38Percy's Promise11th November 1991 (VHS)
3rd March 1992
#02
Percy keeps a promise with Thomas to take the children going to the Vicar's Sunday School home, and gets some help from Harold when he gets stuck in a flood.
TimeforTrouble53Time for Trouble11th November 1991 (VHS)
17th March 1992
#03
Toby ends up stranded on the main line due to his small water tanks and it causes trouble for James and the Express.
GordonandtheFamousVisitor5Gordon and the Famous Visitor11th November 1991 (VHS)
24th March 1992
#04
Gordon is jealous when a famous engine comes to visit the railway and thinks that Domeless engines aren't respectable, but the tables turn when his dome blows off at the viaduct.
Donald'sDuck61Donald's Duck11th November 1991 (VHS)
31st March 1992
#05
Duck is given his own branch line for working hard and becomes concited, which makes Donald cross until Duck and his driver play a joke on him.
ThomasGetsBumped42Thomas Gets Bumped11th November 1991 (VHS)
7th April 1992
#06
Thomas' branch line is closed due to bent rails on the line and thinks he lost his passengers to Bertie.
Thomas,PercyandtheDragon67Thomas, Percy and the Dragon11th November 1991 (VHS)
7th April 1992
#07
Percy teases Thomas about being frighted all the time, but when Thomas is delivering a dragon in the night, Percy ends up getting a scare
DieselDoesItAgain57Diesel Does it Again11th November 1991 (VHS)
14th April 1992
#08
Diesel is sent to help Percy and Duck with goods work at the harbour but ends up causing more trouble for the two engines.
Henry'sForest60Henry's Forest11th November 1991 (VHS)
14th April 1992
#09
The forest is one of Henry's favorite places and when a storm comes, it brings alot of damage to the forest which makes Henry very sad.
TheTroublewithMud5The Trouble with Mud11th November 1991 (VHS)
21st April 1992
#10
Gordon refuses to get a washdown and has to do goods work instead of pulling the express.
NoJokeforJames34No Joke for James11th November 1991 (VHS)
21st April 1992
#11
James' bragging soon gets the better of him when he tricks Thomas into pulling some smart new coaches leaving Gordon with some trucks instead.
Thomas,PercyandthePostTrain6Thomas, Percy and the Post Train
Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train
11th November 1991 (VHS)
28th April 1992
#12
When a mail ship ends up getting delayed, Thomas and Percy get worried and fear that Harold will replace the mail train.
TrustThomas51Trust Thomas11th November 1991 (VHS)
28th April 1992
#13
Bertie learns that he can trust an engine like Thomas when he remembers about missing tar after having an accident with some trucks.
Mavis35Mavis11th November 1991 (VHS)
5th May 1992
#14
Mavis is new to the quarry and reorganizes things to her liking, which makes Toby cross.
Toby'sTightrope80Toby's Tightrope11th November 1991 (VHS)
5th May 1992
#15
Mavis tries to make a plan to go further down the Quarry line, but it ends up putting Toby in danger.
Edward,TrevorandtheReallyUsefulParty14Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party11th November 1991 (VHS)
12th May 1992
#16
Edward and Trevor help out the Vicar with his garden party to fund a trip for the children to the seaside.
BuzzBuzz44Buzz, Buzz
James Goes Buzz Buzz
12th May 1992#17
James thinks that he can easily scare off bees, but things take a turn when a bee stings James right on the nose.
AllatSea64All at Sea19th May 1992#18
Duck wishes that he could travel out to the sea, but his mood soon changes when he learns that engines are happiest on the rails.
OneGoodTurn77One Good Turn26th May 1992#19
Bill and Ben end up in an argument at the turntable, and Edward and BoCo make a plan to make the twins friends again.
TenderEngines16Tender Engines2nd June 1992#20
Henry thinks he works hard enough for more tenders and his excitment gets the better of him when Duck offers him six new tenders.
Escape1Escape9th June 1992#21
Douglas travels to a station where only the diesels work and meets Oliver and Toad who are trying to escape from being scrapped.
OliverOwnsUp53Oliver Owns Up16th June 1992#22
Oliver becomes concieted and thinks that he can manage trucks, but his mood soon changes when he ends up in a turntable well.
Bulgy(episode)11Bulgy23rd June 1992#23
A new bus named Bulgy wants railways to be ripped up and tries to steal Duck's passengers by tricking them.
Heroes67Heroes30th June 1992#24
The Troublesome Trucks trick Bill and Ben into causing a big muddle in the yard, making them late with arranging Gordon's evening train.
Percy,JamesandtheFruitfulDay58Percy, James and the Fruitful Day7th July 1992#25
James and Percy learn that there's more than one way to get jammed with jammed brakes and squashed fruit.
ThomasandPercy'sChristmasAdventure66Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure
Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure
14th July 1992#26
Thomas, Percy, Harold and Terence help some villagers after a bad snow storm and the villagers want to thank the engines for helping them out with clearing the snow.

Cancelled episodes

Screenshot Title Original UK release date Episode number #
GordonGoesForeign1Gordon Goes Foreignn/an/a
Based on the story of the same name from "The Eight Famous Engines".

After an argument with a big city engine over what the name of a station on the Other Railway is, Gordon is determined to find out.

Specials

Screenshot Title Original release date Episode number #
ThomasandtheU.K.TripThomas and the U.K. Trip4th December 1992 (Japan only)n/a
Two children's television characters from Japan, Gachapin and Mukku, visit the United Kingdom. During their visit, they come to Sodor to meet Thomas, Sir Topham Hatt and the other engines. During the second half, they visit real railways and learn how steam locomotives work.

Songs

Screenshot Title Composers Original release date
ThomasGetsBumped13Thomas' Anthem (US)
Thomas We Love You (UK)
Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell
17th August 1994 (US; VHS)
4th March 1996 (UK; VHS)
It's Thomas the Tank Engine.
Hip, hip, hip, hip, hooray!...
ThomasandGordon1I'm Thomas the Tank EngineSeiji Katsu
Masayuki Iwata
4th January 1992 (Japan only)
Boku wa kikansha Tōmasu da
Tanku kikansha Tōmasu da...

Characters

Characters introduced

Trivia

  • This was the first season of several things:
    • The first season narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US and the first narrated by the latter that had not been previously released with Ringo Starr's narrations.
    • The first season to have episodes not based on material by either Awdry.
    • Britt Allcroft's first season as producer.
    • Angus Wright's first season as executive producer.
    • The first season to use Rockwell font.
    • The first season to feature TUGS models and props.
    • This season was the first to use the EMU Proteus 2 Orchestral to create the music. However, some of the music made with the Roland Jupiter 6 synthesiser for the first and second season was used.
    • The first season dubbed in Finnish.
    • The first season to introduce music videos.
    • The first season to have slow motion effects.
    • From this season on, characters would angrily say "Be quiet!" instead of "Shut up!" presumably due to the production teams and script writers being accused of using a vulgar/offensive phrase.
    • The first season to have episodes released on home video before it was broadcast on television.
    • In the US, this is the first season to not have a Christmas themed season finale.
  • The biggest space of time between two seasons airing is between the second and third seasons. The second season first aired back in 1986 and the third season in 1992.
  • Gordon Goes Foreign was originally going to be an episode in this season, but it was cancelled for being too high budget. It is unknown if any of the other episodes made for this season ever replaced it.
  • In the Ukrainian version, Michael Angelis and George Carlin's voices can be heard in the background, as a dubbing track was not used. The first thirteen episodes have George Carlin's voice while the last thirteen episodes have Michael Angelis' voice. Angelis is also credited as narrator in the first thirteen episodes despite Carlin's narration in the background and the episodes being re-dubbed.
  • For much of the season, Tidmouth Sheds appears to be much larger on the inside than in the first two seasons. While all the exterior scenes depict the shed with the usual six berths, there are nine tracks seen in most interior views.
  • This is the only season that has George Carlin's narration on VHS in New Zealand. However when the third season episodes were aired in New Zealand, Michael Angelis' narration was used instead. This is also the case when The Complete Third Series was released on DVD in New Zealand.
  • Model maker John Holmes did not receive credit for working on this season until 1992.
  • At the very end of Michael Angelis' early narrations, the credits were shown with a still of the final shot of each episode. When shown on television and in future video and DVD releases, the credits were shown alongside a still of Thomas.
  • This was the last season to be shown on CITV until 2003 when the sixth season was shown.
  • From Thomas Gets Bumped to Buzz, Buzz, each CITV broadcast featured two episodes compiled into one 10 minute block. The difference here was that only the title card for the second episode was shown after the first episode.
  • This season was produced in association with Fuji Television Network, Inc. as indicated by a message at the end of each episode. In 1991 airings, the message is in white, while in 1992 airings, it is yellow.
  • According to The Thomas the Tank Engine Man, it cost £1.3 million to produce all 26 episodes.
  • It was during this season that footage of Tidmouth Sheds was shot uniquely for the Japanese-exclusive special Thomas and the U.K. Trip.
  • All at Sea and Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure were the only episodes in this season not based on The Railway Series or a magazine story.
  • All at Sea, One Good Turn, Tender Engines, Escape, Oliver Owns Up, Bulgy, Heroes, Percy, James and the Fruitful Day and Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure narrated by Michael Angelis is recorded similar to classic music.
  • The Flying Scotsman makes an obscured appearance once in this season. He is not fully shown until 24 years later with the release of the special, The Great Race.
  • This was the only season that used the Three Way Road.

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