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The third season of Thomas & Friends first premiered on VHS on 11 November, 1991 in the UK before airing on television on February 25, 1992. It first aired in the US in 1991 on Shining Time Station, with the last 10 episodes following in 1993. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and by George Carlin in the US and New Zealand.
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.
|Screenshot||UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|A Scarf for Percy||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
25th February 1992
|Percy wishes he could wear scarves but gets more than he bargained for when he runs into the Fat Controller's baggage.|
|Percy's Promise||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
3rd March 1992
|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.|
|Time for Trouble||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
17th March 1992
|Toby ends up stranded on the main line due to his small water tanks and it causes trouble for James and the Express.|
|Gordon and the Famous Visitor||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
24th March 1992
|Gordon is jealous when a famous engine comes to visit the railway and thinks that domeless engines are not respectable, but the tables turn when his dome blows off at the viaduct.|
|Donald's Duck||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
31st March 1992
|Duck is given his own branch line for working hard and becomes conceited, which makes Donald cross until Duck and his driver play a joke on him.|
|Thomas Gets Bumped||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
7th April 1992
|Thomas' branch line is closed due to bent rails on the line and thinks he lost his passengers to Bertie.|
|Thomas, Percy and the Dragon||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
7th April 1992
|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.|
|Diesel Does it Again||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
14th April 1992
|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's Forest||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
14th April 1992
|The forest is one of Henry's favourite places. When a storm comes, it brings a lot of damage to the forest which makes Henry very sad.|
|The Trouble with Mud||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
21st April 1992
|Gordon refuses to get a washdown and has to do goods work instead of pulling the express.|
|No Joke for James||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
21st April 1992
|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, Percy and the Post Train|
Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train
|11th November 1991 (VHS)|
28th April 1992
|When a mail ship ends up getting delayed, Thomas and Percy get worried and fear that Harold will replace the mail train.|
|Trust Thomas||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
28th April 1992
|Bertie learns that he can trust an engine like Thomas when he remembers about missing tar after having an accident with some trucks.|
|Mavis||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
5th May 1992
|Mavis is new to the quarry and reorganizes things to her liking, which makes Toby cross.|
|Toby's Tightrope||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
5th May 1992
|Mavis tries to make a plan to go further down the Quarry line, but it ends up putting Toby in danger.|
|Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party||11th November 1991 (VHS)|
12th May 1992
|Edward and Trevor help out the Vicar with his garden party to fund a trip for the children to the seaside.|
James Goes Buzz Buzz
|12th May 1992||#69|
|James thinks that he can easily scare off bees, but things take a turn when a bee stings James right on the nose.|
|All at Sea||19th May 1992||#70|
|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.|
|One Good Turn||26th May 1992||#71|
|Bill and Ben end up in an argument at the turntable, and Edward and BoCo make a plan to make the twins friends again.|
|Tender Engines||2nd June 1992||#72|
|Henry thinks he works hard enough for more tenders and his excitement gets the better of him when Duck offers him six new tenders.|
|Escape||9th June 1992||#73|
|Douglas travels to a station where only the diesels work and meet Oliver and Toad who are trying to escape from being scrapped.|
|Oliver Owns Up||16th June 1992||#74|
|Oliver becomes conceited and thinks that he can manage trucks, but his mood soon changes when he ends up in a turntable well.|
|Bulgy||23rd June 1992||#75|
|A new bus named Bulgy wants railways to be ripped up and tries to steal Duck's passengers by tricking them.|
|Heroes||30th June 1992||#76|
|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, James and the Fruitful Day||7th July 1992||#77|
|James and Percy learn that there's more than one way to get jammed with jammed brakes and squashed fruit.|
|Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure|
Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure
|14th July 1992||#78|
|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.|
|Screenshot||Title||Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|Gordon Goes Foreign||n/a||n/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.
|Screenshot||Title||Original release date||Episode number #|
|Thomas and the U.K. Trip||30 and 31 December 1991 (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.|
|Screenshot||Title||Composers||Original release date|
|Thomas' Anthem (US)|
Thomas We Love You (UK)
|17th August 1994 (US; VHS)|
4th March 1996 (UK; VHS)
|I'm Thomas the Tank Engine||Seiji Katsu|
|30 December 1991 (Japan only)|
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Vicar of Wellsworth
- The Little Boys
- Stephen Hatt (not named)
- Jeremiah Jobling (not named)
- Jem Cole (not named)
- Mrs. Kyndley (not named)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (not named)
- Lady Hatt (not named; does not speak)
- Henrietta (does not speak)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- Percy's Ghost Engine (mentioned)
- The Firelighter (mentioned)
- Father Christmas (mentioned in the UK version)
- Daisy (mentioned in music video)
- The New Signalman
- The Railway Foreman
- The Quarry-master
- Toad (does not speak)
- The Railway Society (do not speak)
- The Injured Sailor (does not speak)
- City of Truro (not named; does not speak)
- Flying Scotsman (not named; tender, water tanker, and cab only; does not speak)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Big Mickey (not named; cameo)
- Bulgy's Friend (mentioned)
- The Photographer (mentioned)
- Big City Engine (dropped)
- 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 broadcast on CITV until 2003 when the sixth season was shown. Seasons 4 and 5 would air on Cartoon Network.
- 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.
- The first 17 episodes of this season, from A Scarf for Percy to Buzz, Buzz, have Michael Angelis' narration recorded in softer that they introduced shooting.
- The last 9 episodes of this season, from All at Sea to Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure, have Michael Angelis' narration recorded in vintage.
- 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.