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Thomas and the Billboard

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Thailand DVD.
"I've never been on a billboard before!"
— Thomas
Thomas and the Billboard

Steve Asquith


Simon Spencer


Mark Robertson


Michael Angelis
Michael Brandon
Pierce Brosnan
(original cut)

Air date

September 1st,
2008 (UK)
October 29th,
2008 (AUS)
November 1st,
2008 (US)

Previous episode

Wash Behind
Your Buffers

Next episode

Steady Eddie

Thomas and the Billboard is the first episode of the twelfth season.


It is Knapford Station's birthday and all of the engines are preparing for the festivities. A photographer comes to take a photo of the engines to put up a billboard at Knapford. Thomas was proudest of all; he had never been shown on a billboard before. To fit all of the engines into the photo, the photographer tells Diesel to move forward, but Diesel accidentally obscures Thomas.

Later, Thomas puffs into Maron to collect the billboard, and is very surprised to find that he was out of the photograph. Thomas thinks this was on purpose. He is so distracted that he barely notices a cow up ahead. He swerves into a siding at the last minute and knocks the billboard into a nearby river. Thomas goes back to Maron to explain what had happened. The photographer doesn't mind and tells Thomas to collect the engines again. Thomas is about go when Diesel arrives. Thomas refuses to tell Diesel about the new photo as he does not want Diesel to spoil this photo too.

Soon, all of the engines are back at the sheds, except Diesel. Gordon, Emily, and James are worried as they have jobs to do, but Thomas is sure that he will be quick to fetch the photographer. On the way to Maron, Thomas sees Diesel, who is heading straight for the sheds. Thomas is worried, as Diesel is about to find about about the photo, so he took a branch line back to Tidmouth. The engines get very cross when Thomas tells them to come back later, unknown that it's just an excuse so Diesel won't see them. They soon had gone, just as Diesel rolls past.

Later, the engines are back at the sheds, and Thomas puffs back to Maron to fetch the photographer. As the photographer climbs into Thomas' cab, Thomas could see Diesel coming. Worried that Diesel would see the photographer, he wheeshes a lot of steam to cover up the station, and Diesel rolls past, but the camera is now wet. The photographer has to let the camera dry, so Thomas tells the engines to come back later.

Soon, the engines had came back, but they still have not done their jobs. As the photographer is getting ready, nobody, except Thomas, notices that Diesel isn't there. Just then, Diesel, who is doing the others' jobs, runs around the bend, to find all of the engines, ready to take the photograph for the new billboard. He stops so suddenly that the that the bunting falls off one of his trucks. Diesel is cross, as nobody had told him about it. The photographer is confused; he had told Thomas to tell everybody, including Diesel. Thomas feels terrible; all of the engines know that Thomas was the culprit. Just then, the Fat Controller arrives, and starts telling Gordon, James, and Emily off for being late and explains that Diesel had to do their jobs, and because of that, Diesel is now late with his own work.

This makes Thomas feel even worse, and owns up that he didn't tell Diesel about the photograph because Diesel had obscured him earlier. Diesel objects that the photographer had told him to move, but the photographer explains that Diesel rolled too far. Thomas apologises to Diesel and the Fat Controller for everything that has happened. Everything is soon rectified and the engines line up to take the photo, this time with Diesel not covering up Thomas. After the photo is taken, Thomas agrees to do Diesel's work, while Diesel takes the new billboard to Knapford. 

That evening, Diesel picks up the new billboard and takes it to the festivities at Knapford. The party is a great success as Thomas and Diesel agree that the new billboard at Knapford is the best billboard they had ever seen. 




  • This is the first time since Thomas and the Magic Railroad that CGI animation was used.
  • Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon narrated this episode in the UK and US respectively, even though Pierce Brosnan was touted to narrate all twelfth season episodes.
  • Going by production order, this is the third episode of the twelfth season.
  • This is Sharon Miller's first episode as head writer.
  • This is the only twelfth season episode that has a driver in CGI.


  • When the billboard is first seen, a rope is covering Gordon's face, but when it is seen closer up, Gordon's face is not covered.
  • Henry has Gordon's face twice in this episode. This happens for the first time when he and Edward puff into Knapford at the beginning and then again at the celebration at the end.
  • The narrator said that Diesel was puffing to Tidmouth, but he is a diesel engine.
  • The narrator says that Thomas took a branch line back to Tidmouth Sheds. A branch line finishes at a dead end, and it is not a through route.
  • When the narrator says that no one had noticed Diesel's absence, Gordon and Henry change places.
  • When the CGI eyelids blink, they are sometimes partially transparent.
  • When Gordon puffs by in the first scene, studio equipment is reflected in the coach windows.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
French La Séance Photo The Photo Shoot
Thai โทมัสและบิลบอร์ด Thomas and the Billboard
German Thomas und die Plakatwand Thomas and the Hoarding

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