Series 1

R Healy

Quote Of The Series

"Once an engine attatched to a train, was afraid of a few drops of rain, it went into a tunnel, and squeaked through it's funnel, and wouldn't come out again!"
The Sad Story of Henry

A Bit About Series 1

Series 1 was originally filmed and broadcast in 1984 on ITV.  It used the eight first Railway Series books written by the Rev W Awdry for purposes of continuity and was narrated by former Beatles Drummer, Ringo Starr.
The series was the culmination of five years of hard work and effort by canny business woman - Britt Allcroft, who made the large self-sacrifice of remortgaging her home to finance the series, convinced Wilbert Awdry to take a chance on her vision and persuade a reluctant Ringo Starr, who at the time admitted he'd prefer to do something relating to Dinosaurs instead...but what would the show have been without him in it's formative years?
In the beginning, there was one single breed of motive power on the Fat Controller's Railway - steam.  And while particular steam engines didn't perform to the standard they should have, the only problem the engines seemed to have hanging over them was to try and keep out of trouble.  But they couldn't seem to help themselves, and the Fat Controller thought they were "Really Useful" all the same!

Characters Introduced In Series 1

Bertie the Bus
Terence the Tractor
Annie & Clarabel - Thomas's Coaches
The Fat Controller / Sir Topham Hatt
Lady Hatt
Mrs Kyndley


Ringo Starr (UK / US)
George Carlin (US Re-Recordings)

Key Production Team

(Britt Allcroft Ltd.)
Britt Allcroft
(Clearwater Features Ltd.)
David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona
Mike O'Donnell & Junior Campbell
(Bluebird Themes)

David Mitton

In 2013, we ran a poll on Series 1 to determine what the best episodes of the Series were as well as what else fans enjoyed about it.  Best characters, episodes and aspects of production are included and broken down in our poll results blog!


Series 1 Episode Guide

The Rev. W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft & David Mitton
1.1 - Thomas & Gordon / Thomas Gets Tricked (US)

When we first meet him, Thomas the Tank Engine is a cheeky little shunting engine who works at a Big Station on the Island of Sodor.  Thomas thinks that no engine works as hard as he does, and loves playing tricks on the other engines – particularly Gordon the Big Engine.  But when Thomas’s jokes go too far one day, Gordon decides it’s time to get back at him.  Gordon seizes the opportunity when Thomas is late to arrange the Express, and makes a mad dash out of the station before Thomas can be uncoupled!  Poor Thomas is taken for a very long and very fast journey along the main line, after which, Gordon is confident that he has learned his lesson.

1.2 - Edward & Gordon / Edward Helps Out (US)

Edward is sad because he hasn’t been out for a long time.  The other engines are all bigger and stronger, and favoured over him – until one day, the Driver notices how sad he is and decides to take him out for a run.  But Gordon still thinks he’s superior to Edward, and boasts about how grand he’ll look when he rushes through the yard with the Express – only to appear later with a goods train of very dirty trucks!  Later still, Gordon stalls on a hill and Edward has to push him and his train over the top – with very little thanks as Gordon goes speeding off on his own, leaving Edward far behind.  Despite feeling unappreciated, Edward gets his reward when his Driver promises him a smart new coat of paint! 

1.3 - The Sad Story of Henry / Come Out, Henry! (US)

In a spate of bad weather, Henry decides to stop in the middle of a tunnel in order to shelter from the rain to avoid it spoiling his “lovely green paint and red stripes”, much to the annoyance of his passengers and crew.  They try ushering him out, pulling him out with a rope, pushing the coaches with ‘people power’ and engine power, all without help from the Fat Controller whose “Doctor has forbidden him to ‘push’ or ‘pull’” – but it does no good and Henry won’t move.  In the end, The Fat Controller decides to take away Henry’s rails and brick him up in the tunnel to teach him a lesson.  Henry is now very sad and lonely, and dirt from the tunnel has spoilt his green paint with red stripes anyway.  All he can do is hope that the Fat Controller will let him out soon...!

1.4 - Edward, Gordon & Henry / Henry to the Rescue (US)

Gordon is looking forward to whistling at Henry as he passes by his tunnel.  But as he approaches, Gordon’s safety valve bursts and he has to stop just ahead of Henry’s tunnel, where Henry is standing laughing at him.  Edward is the only engine available in the yard to try and push the train, however, proves ineffective and there’s only one engine left to help – Henry.  The Fat Controller gives him another chance and with Edward’s help, they help to bring the train home again.  That evening, Gordon is helped home by Edward and Henry and all three engines become friends in light of all that’s happened, and Henry learns by his mistakes. 

1.5 - Thomas’s Train / A Big Day For Thomas (US)

Thomas is jealous that the big engines get to leave the yard to go out on journeys, and longs to do the same himself.  His chance comes when Henry takes unwell, and the men cannot fix him in time for the morning train.  As the only engine available, Thomas is chosen to take the train in Henry’s place and becomes eager to start work at once.  However, because they haven’t coupled him to the train or the Driver started by mistake, Thomas manages to leave the station without the coaches and sets off along the Main Line on his own.  People wave and shout at him – but he thinks they’re just being friendly and carries on until he reaches a ‘Danger’ signal, and the Signalman explains they have no coaches in tow!  Thomas puffs back feeling very embarrassed, but puts things right when he manages to pull the train second time around.  But the other engines think it a great joke, and for a long time afterward say, “Look, there’s Thomas, who wanted to pull a train but forgot about the coaches!”

1.6 - Thomas & The Trucks / Trouble For Thomas (US)
Thomas is tired of pushing coaches in the yard and wants to explore. One night, Edward comes to shed and offers to swap duties with him.  Thomas accepts the offer but it involves taking the Troublesome Trucks, which he isn’t used to.  He’s unaware of the fact that they like playing tricks on engines, especially those who aren’t used to them.  After what seems like a pleasant journey for Thomas, the Trucks push him down the hill and almost make him crash into some buffers.  In the end, the Fat Controller tells Thomas he has a lot to learn about Trucks - - and when he does learn, he’ll be a Really Useful Engine.
1.7 - Thomas & The Breakdown Train / Thomas Saves The Day (US)
Thomas is set to work shunting trucks in the yard to help him learn all about them.  When shunting, he notices a special train in a siding, comprised of a small coach and two cranes - which his Driver explains is The Breakdown Train, used for when there has been an accident to help clear the line.  One day, Thomas is in the yard shunting about when James rushes past him with a goods train yelling for help. The Troublesome Trucks are pushing him down the line.  Soon after James disappears, an alarm goes off.  Thomas learns that James has crashed, and he’s ordered to rescue him with the Breakdown Train.   Thomas is so angry at the Trucks, he biffs one of them hard into another, thus giving them some value of discipline.  Finally after rescuing James, the Fat Controller gives Thomas his very own Branch Line and two coaches (Annie and Clarabel) as a reward for his hard work.
1.8 - James & The Bootlace / James Learns A Lesson (US)
James has to pull some coaches with Edward.  But when they set down at the station, James is so excited that he accidentally blows steam all over the Fat Controller’s brand new top hat.  The journey is not without mishap either, as James and Edward over-run the platform at a station.  The Fat Controller scolds James for his behaviour and threatens to paint him blue if he cannot behave.  Cross, he is very rough with his coaches as he prepares for his next train.  And when running through the countryside, he bangs the coaches so badly that James makes a hole in the brake-pipe.  To his embarrassment, the hole has to be fixed by a reluctant passenger’s bootlace.  Soon after, James takes care of never bumping the coaches again.   
1.9 - Troublesome Trucks / Foolish Freight Cars (US)
James has been ordered to stay in his shed for being naughty with the coaches.  Eventually, the Fat Controller lets him out to pull a goods train, but the Troublesome Trucks don't want to be pulled by James and misbehave. While pulling them up Gordon's Hill, a coupling breaks and the last few Trucks roll down the hill.  Despite all the trouble they cause, James manages to beat the Troublesome Trucks by successfully pulling them up the hill and to their destination.  The Fat Controller is pleased with him and allows James to keep his red coat of paint after all.
1.10 - James & The Express / A Proud Day For James (US)
Henry and Gordon often tease James about his Bootlace incident and reckon he’s not good enough. However, after Gordon is diverted on the wrong line and ends up back where he started it’s James who pulls his Express.  James does such a good job that the Fat Controller rewards him by allowing him to pull The Express sometimes to give Gordon a rest. After that, Gordon and James become good friends, especially since they both disagree with trucks!
1.11 - Thomas & The Guard / Thomas & The Conductor (US)
Thomas is very proud of his Branch Line, and his two old coaches Annie and Clarabel. Both carry passengers, except Clarabel also carries the guard as well. One day, after Poorly Henry is late at the Junction, Thomas finds himself behind schedule and when the Guard blows his whistle, Thomas steams off without giving him enough time to board the train.  Annie and Clarabel try to warn Thomas that they’ve left him behind, but the guard only manages to catch up when Thomas is stopped at a signal.  Thomas apologizes to the guard, then they set off again.
1.12 - Thomas Goes Fishing
Thomas has a desire to fish, but the others tell him "Engines don't go fishing!" When the water tower is out of order, Thomas has to take on water from the river using a bucket. Suddenly, he feels like he's going to burst and suffers pain.  The driver and fireman look inside his tank to discover fish swimming around!  The Fat Controller and Crew fish them out of Thomas’ tank and have a lovely supper of Fish ‘n’ Chips.  Poor Thomas finally agrees, "Engines don't go fishing!"
1.13 - Thomas, Terence & The Snow / Terence the Tractor (US)
One autumn day, Thomas meets Terence the Tractor and he teases him about his caterpillar tracks, thinking them ugly.  Winter later comes with heavy snow, and Thomas is required to wear his heavy, uncomfortable snowplough.  He bumps and bangs all day long, until it needs to be taken off for urgent repair.  The following day, the Driver and Fireman find they cannot fix it in time, and Thomas has to do without his plough - much to his delight and relief.  But when Thomas runs into a deep snowdrift and gets stuck, he soon finds that both his snowplough and Terence are really useful after all!  Terence pulls Thomas free of the snowdrift and Thomas thanks his new friend and his special caterpillars.
1.14 - Thomas & Bertie / Thomas and Bertie's Great Race (US)
Bertie the Bus challenges Thomas to a race to see who‘s the fastest.  During the race, Thomas faces obstacles such as stations, signals and a slow start.  Bertie, on the hand, has stops, traffic lights and level crossings.  When it’s all said and done, Thomas reaches the finish line and wins the race.  Nonetheless, Thomas and Bertie become best friends and keep each other very busy. 
1.15 - Tenders & Turntables
Without Thomas in the yard, the big engines have more work to do and have to shunt their own coaches.  Thinking tender engines are more important than they are, Gordon, Henry and James complain bitterly about the situation, feeling they are being treated no better than common tank engines’.  However, Gordon soon gets a taste of how it is to run as a tank engine when he cannot sit on the turntable properly during a blustery day - and ends up taking his next train backwards.  James, feeling more confident of success against the wind, ends up spinning around helplessly like a top - as Gordon watches with glee.  But by now, things have come to a head, and the big engines decide to take action aginst their mistreatment’ and decide to go on strike to get back at the Fat Controller.
1.16 - Trouble In The Shed
Gordon, James and Henry refuse to move out of their shed, claiming they’re too important to shunt coaches.  The Fat Controller tries to ease the situation by asking Edward to do the shunting, but the big engines hiss at him and make him sad.  The Fat Controller then decides to bring a new tank engine (Percy) to help out in the yard.  Thomas returns, and he and Edward are asked to work the Main Line, while Percy works the Branch Line.  As for the big engines, the Fat Controller shuts them up in the shed - - all wishing they haven’t been so naughty.
1.17 - Percy Runs Away
After several days of being closed in their shed, the big engines finally agree to behave and go back to work.  Percy, who is still relatively new to the railway, almost causes an accident on the Main Line when he stands in Gordon’s way.  He gets so frightened, he runs away in reverse.  Percy ends up in a bank of earth, and Gordon comes to pull him out.  Percy apologises to Gordon for the near-accident and learns to be extra careful.
1.18 - Coal / Henry’s Special Coal
Henry is feeling sorry for himself due to his prolonged illness.  The Fat Controller knows that a solution will have to be sought one way or another, meaning Henry's scrapping or by the suggestion of the fireman, the use of Welsh coal which may build up the heat in Henry's firebox.  The Welsh coal happens to work a treat, despite the Fat Controller's reservations about importing it due to expense.  Henry feels better than ever and goes like a rocket!  But, the intentions of the author are different...
1.19 - The Flying Kipper
Henry is chosen to take The Flying Kipper, a goods train of fish to markets across the Island.  It's a cold winter and there's been a bad snow fall, which makes for trouble further along the line.  Henry has a smooth run up until a point, unknowing that a signal has been forced down with the heavy snow and he's being diverted into a siding due to frozen points!  Through pure chance, the crew of the train parked in the siding have just left the brake van, which is torn to pieces when Henry crashes into it, along with a good load of cocoa being ruined!  The Fat Controller seizes the opportunity of the crash to rebuild Henry, sending him to Crewe to be given a new shape and larger firebox, eliminating the need for special coal and making Henry the engine he always deserved to be.
1.20 - Whistles & Sneezes
Gordon rants on about Henry being rebuilt and says he whistles too much.  Henry becomes sad, but the tables turn when Gordon’s whistle suddenly whistles loudly and out of control.  Henry has the last laugh, but the following day while pulling a passenger train, a group of boys throw stones at him from an overhead bridge, breaking his coaches’ windows.  Henry passes the same bridge later that afternoon, this time “sneezing” at the naughty boys by blowing thick black smoke high above to them.  Once again, Henry has the last laugh and goes home happy.
1.21 - Toby & The Stout Gentleman / Toby The Tram Engine 
Toby is a tram engine who works on his own special tramway, but the passenegers and goods that used to travel on his line are now being taken away by the buses and lorries.  But his luck changes one day when he and his coach Henrietta meet a Stout Gentleman and his grandchildren, and despite his grand-daughter presuming Toby was elecrtic, it becomes the beginning of a wonderful friendship as the family return everyday for a fortnight.  But a few months after the Stout Gentleman leaves, Toby’s line is scheduled to close, and with worries of the future, Toby goes unhappily to sleep in his shed for the last time.  But gets a very nice surprise the following morning when a letter arrives from the Stout Gentleman...
1.22 - Thomas In Trouble / Thomas Breaks The Rules (US)
An angry police officer labels Thomas a “Regular Law Breaker” for not having cowcatchers and sideplates while travelling on public roads, which are a legal requirement to prevent people and animals from being hurt if they stray onto the line - and scolds Thomas for being dangerous to the public for being without them.
The Fat Controller is summoned to settle the situation, but he realises that there is no use arguing with policemen. He almost gives in until Thomas’ pleas remind him of Toby, who he had met on holiday. Toby is ideal for quarry work, so he is brought to the Fat Controller’s railway at once. He and Thomas are soon good friends – especially after Toby frightens the policeman with his bell.
1.23 - Dirty Objects / James In A Mess (US)
James thinks Toby and Henrietta are old and shabby, thus calling them dirty objects.  Toby soon looses patience and asks James why he is painted red. James proudly announces that red is the only worthy colour for a spendid engine, who’s paint would never get dirty – until Toby reminds him of the incident with the bootlaces. James is deeply insulted, and is made crosser still when he learns that he must pull a 'slow goods' later that day. He bumps the trucks in fury, and they decide to get back at him. They push James down Gordon's hill and send him hurtling into a train of idle tar wagons standing in the goods yard. James’ splendid red paint is splashed with tar, and he is most uncomfortable when Toby and Percy come to his rescue. Toby is rewarded with a new coat of paint for his assistance, and Henrietta is promised one too.
1.24 - Off The Rails / Gordon Takes A Dip (US)
Gordon prides himself on never having had an accident, unlike Henry who came off the rails whilst pulling the Flying Kipper, and is keen to emphasise the fact when Henry calls him "Fat Face".  Gordon is later called upon to take a special whilst resting in a siding, but much to his horror, finds out it will involve taking trucks!  He tries every trick to avoid having to do so, namely refusing to help his fire, meaning Edward has to push him to the turntable to be made ready.  But Gordon has other ideas and tries to jam the table as he had done before.  His plans go awry and he ends up slithering into a ditch and spending the remainder of the day there.  The big engine is hauled free by Henry and James later that night, and crawls back to the shed in disgrace.
1.25 - Down The Mine

Thomas makes rude comment about Gordon's accident by referring to a "Funny, musty sort of smell" which can only be "ditch water!".  Gordon is cross about being reminded about the accident, but doesn't get a chance to answer.  Still as ‘puffed up’ as ever, decides to run past a DANGER board when sent to collect trucks at a mine.  He knocks his Driver and Fireman off the footplate and once past the board, the ground opens up beneath him and he ends up falling down into the mine shaft.  The Fat Controller organises for Gordon to come to his aid and pulls him back onto the rails again.  Both engines are now in disgrace, and find a common bond in their dilemmas.  They decide to form an alliance, and help one another in future.

1.26 - Thomas’s Christmas Party
Written by The Rev W. Awdry
Story by Britt Allcroft & David Mitton

Its Christmas time on the Island of Sodor and the railway is bustling with activity.  But no matter how busy things are, Thomas never forgets to pay a cheerful whistle to Mrs Kyndley, who saved him from a serious accident the Christmas before.  The engines all feel that it’s time to say ‘Thank You’ to her properly, and The Fat Controller agrees to throw a special Christmas Party in her honour.  However, disaster strikes when a heavy snowfall means Mrs Kyndley is snowed-up!  Thomas, Toby and Terence mount a valiant rescue effort and manage to save her in time for the party.