ZEM got in contact with Robert Hartshorne for an interview by email. Thank you very much to Robert for your patience and answers to my questions!

1. How did you become involved with Thomas & Friends?

I became involved in Thomas at the end of 2003 when the previous composers decided that they wanted to leave. I and several other composers were invited to pitch for Thomas and, fortunately for me, I got the job and started working on Series 8.

2. By what process do you write the music for the show? Do you watch the episodes and then write the music, or do you simply write themes to be used for different situations in the show?

I watch the each episode then compose the music to the picture. As each Thomas episode is a mini drama, it is the best process to make the music work, particularly for the "action" sequences. Obviously, in doing this, it is sensible to have some themes reccur in the series as this gives the show a familiarity

3. Do you ever look to the music that already existed in the show, before you began working on it, for inspiration?

I do sometimes refer to previous episodes if I feel that it is right to bring back a theme or just to see how I treated a particular situation in the past - it can be hard to remember all of them!

4. Have you learned anything new in your experiences working on the show?

Definitely ...and probably too much to write here! I think the biggest thing I've learned is that there is no such thing as "Music for Children", there is only good music that is right for the show. Although the average age of the audience may be 3-4 years old, music works the same for them as it does for everybody - it helps to produce an emotional response to what is happening on the screen.

5. Do you think that a soundtrack of your Thomas & Friends music will ever be released?

I doubt it, but I suspect some of my songs may be released on an album ...well, I hope so, anyway!

6. Do you have a favorite character in Thomas & Friends?

Not really - I've got to like all of them over the years ...even the Diesels!

7. Do you have a favorite episode in Thomas & Friends?

Again, not really, but I have very much enjoyed working on the films - that was a whole new challenge.

Note: All opinions expressed in interviews belong solely to the crew or cast member interviewed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ZEM, Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia, or HiT Entertainment.