ADVENTURE BEGINS is the seventh Thomas & Friends Direct-To-DVD Special produced by HIT Entertainment.It is the first mini-special to be written by Head Writer, Andrew Brenner.
The Adventure Begins takes us right back to the very early days of
Sodor, for a bit of a reimagining of the events of The Three Railway Engines and
The Tank Engine.We see how Thomas
becomes a really useful engine, and see an expanded Knapford station yard,
where Thomas sets to work shunting coaches and trucks for the big engines to
take on long journeys!
The story is an expansion on the events of the
first two Railway Series books, and as well as the original Awdry content,
mixes in a lot of original thought and events created by Andrew Brenner to tell
a feature length story and to establish Thomas’s very early beginnings.It
marks the first time in twenty years that
Railway Series stories have been adapted for screen, and the first since Series
7 that Mike O’Donnell & Junior Campbell’s original songs and themes have
been used in a production.
Adventure Beginsis based on the stories byThe Rev. W. Awdry, written for the screen by
Andrew Brenner, Head Writer forThomas
Really Useful Engine
Lyrics by Mike O'Donnell
& Junior Campbell
Original Lyrics by Mike
O'Donnell & Junior Campbell
Recomposed and New Lyrics
For The Adventure Begins by Peter Hartshorne
Vocals by Robert Hartshorne
Adventure Beginswas commissioned
by Wal*Mart and
ASDA as a special DVD release to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of
Thomas & Friends, which would be exclusive to their stores.Ian McCue, Andrew
Brenner and Sam Wilkinson
agreed that the best way to celebrate the milestone was to go back to the
beginning and tell the story of how Thomas became a really useful engine.
Adventure Beginsis hoped to be the
first in a
line of a series of ‘mini-specials’, which will act as prequels to the existing
Thomas & Friends universe, drawing on material from the original Railway
Glyn the Coffee Pot Engine
Jerome & Judy the Breakdown Cranes
VOICE ARTISTS (USA ONLY)
EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE OF PRODUCTION
(Some themes based on Mike O'Donnell & Junior Campbell)
Simon Martin returns to
review The Adventure Begins for the SiF Blog
Shortly after The
Adventure Begins was released in the UK, we asked for your opinion on the feature, the songs, whether you'd like
to see more and other things - the reception was astoundingly positive! Click the link to see and read our Poll Report!
discusses his ideas on how Books 3 and 4 could be adapted into a feature to
follow-up The Adventure Begins
The Xelent gives us his audio review on The Adventure Begins, as well as
running down his thoughts on previous Thomas & Friends specials from recent
“A long time
ago, on the Island of Sodor, there was a little railway known as the North
Western. The smallest engine working on the Main Line was Edward...”
At the start of this story,
Edward is cheerfully arranging trucks and coaches in the yard when Gordon comes
puffing slowly through, complaining about having to pull a goods train.
on to tell Edward that a new engine is due to arrive later today, so hopefully
he won’t have to help pull trucks anymore...provided that this engine will be
bigger and better than the last one “with the wooden brake blocks...”
At this, the engine in
question pulls out suddenly in front of Edward and Gordon – a black tender
engine called James, who insists that he’s big enough to be Really Useful, even
with wooden brake blocks.
Gordon is not convinced, imagining what would happen
if James’ brakes might catch fire. He orders James to move out of his way and
leaves the yard in a huff.
Gordon’s journey becomes
more difficult when he reaches the big hill beyond Wellsworth.
Trucks begin to hold back, forcing Gordon to go slower and slower...until he
finally gives up.
His Driver and Fireman argue with Gordon, but he simply
refuses to go on.
So the message is sent
through to Sir Topham Hatt, the man in charge of the North Western Railway (known
to the engines as the Fat Controller).
He goes to the yard and asks Edward
to help Gordon with his goods train.
arrives just as Gordon reverses his train to the bottom of the hill. Gordon
thinks that Edward is too small to be of any use, but Edward is still
determined to try.
So he buffers up behind the brake van and the two engines
force the trucks up the hill, puffing to one another;
“I can’t do it!
I will do it! I can’t do it! I will do it! I can’t do it! I will
Gordon’s surprise and delight, he finds himself at the top of the hill. He
hurries away down the other side, forgetting all about Edward and not even
stopping to say “thank you”...
Later that day, Edward is
shunting in the yard when he hears an unfamiliar voice talking to James.
realises that this must be the new engine. When he goes to meet him, he’s
rather amazed at the new arrival – a Brighton-built tank engine with six small
wheels, a short stumpy boiler, a short stumpy dome and a short stumpy funnel.
He is overjoyed at coming to work on the Island of Sodor.
greets the newcomer warmly, but admits that he wasn’t what he had been
expecting, in that he had assumed the Fat Controller had ordered a bigger
engine to help.
Just then Gordon arrives, and he
expresses his views on the new engine with severe distaste. He thinks that the
Fat Controller must have made a mistake, bringing in an engine too small to be
Really Useful. This annoys the new tank engine, but the arrival of the Fat
Controller soon changes everything.
The new engine introduces himself as
The Fat Controller
is pleased to see Thomas has arrived safely, and
encourages him to work hard and be Really Useful.
So Thomas starts work right
away, with Edward showing him what to do. But Thomas is dazzled by his new
workplace, and realises that he has a lot to learn indeed...
Near the end of the day,
Gordon is resting in the yard after pulling the Express. Thomas decides to
teach him a lesson for being rude – by creeping up quietly and whistling
loudly, making Gordon jump. Edward is highly amused, but Gordon is less
impressed than before...
evening, Thomas makes his way to Tidmouth Sheds as a storm rolls in. He has
enjoyed his first day on Sodor, but he can’t wait to start pulling trains and
see the world beyond the yard. Edward reminds him that he’ll have to learn how
to shunt properly first before he gets the chance.
Just then, a big green engine
bustles onto the turntable, urging the workmen to turn him round as quickly as
possible. As the heavens open and the rain pours down, the engine hides out of
sight in the warm, dry shed.
introduces Thomas to Henry – a kind engine but deeply afraid of the rain. He
goes on to explain how his phobia once got him into trouble;
“Once an engine
attached to a train
was afraid of a
few drops of rain,
He rushed into
through his funnel
and never came
One rainy day, Henry
stopped in the Ballahoo Tunnels and refused to come out, complaining that the
rain would spoil his green paint with red stripes.
The passengers argue
him, but Henry would not move, not even when it had stopped raining.
Fat Controller ordered the passengers to force him out, first by pulling the
train, then trying to push it – excusing himself from both duties due to the fact that
“His Doctor had forbidden him to push!”
When that didn’t
work, they try pushing him out with another
engine, but Henry refused to move and held fast against the other engine.
the end, they took up the rails, built a wall in front of Henry and left him
But thankfully, Henry was eventually let out again
to help pull the
Express after Gordon burst his safety valve...
...at which point Gordon interrupts
the story and orders Edward and Thomas to get some sleep!
The next day, Thomas is
sent to the Steamworks to be repainted. When he returns to the station yard, he
gleefully shows off his new look – blue with red stripes, and a smart Number 1
on his sides.
Gordon still isn’t impressed,
remembering that the last Number 1 had been a ‘Coffeepot’. Edward explains that
it is a nickname for engines with vertical boilers “like those things people
make coffee in”.
They used to run one of the branch lines, and that there
might be one still on a siding somewhere...
Gordon hasn’t got time for idle chatter, and demands his Express coaches to be
brought to the platform at once. Edward asks Thomas if he could fetch them as he has his own train to
Thomas is rather upset; he thought he and Edward would
together. Edward kindly replies that they will, but not all the time. He has to
learn to shunt the yard by himself.
Thomas goes to the carriage sidings and pulls out the first rake of coaches he
sees. But the carriages are indignant by this intrusion. They introduce
themselves as Annie and Clarabel before explaining that the Express coaches are
on the other sidings.
Thomas apologies most graciously and
kindly pushes them back into their siding before collecting the right coaches.
Annie and Clarabel are taken by Thomas’ sweet nature, and feel sure that he’ll
go very far indeed.
Thomas soon finds that looking
after the yard by himself is very hard work. He’s kept busy all day long,
pushing and pulling trucks and coaches for the bigger engines.
That evening, Thomas sees
Annie and Clarabel again – this time being pulled by James, who puffs
importantly into the yard, announcing his arrival and grinding his brakes as he
pulls up sharply.
But as he does so, Thomas swears that he can smell a burning smell.
James pretends not to have noticed and puffs sheepishly away to prepare for his next train...
A little later, Thomas
meets Henry taking on water. Remembering Edward’s story, Thomas asks Henry why
he’s so afraid of the rain. Henry doesn’t really know himself, and he doesn’t
like being teased about it.
Thomas admits that he isn’t teasing, he’s just
curious – it’s only drops of water, like the water he fills his tank with. “After
all, you can’t stop the rain...”
The next morning, Thomas
has trouble waking up – his fire isn’t burning properly and there isn’t enough
Henry reminds Thomas that he has to get Gordon’s coaches ready for the
Express. Finally, Thomas raises enough steam to hurry away to work.
Gordon is fuming by the
time Thomas arrives with the Express coaches. While he’s being coupled to the
train, Gordon has an idea – he still hasn’t forgiven Thomas for rudely waking
him up the other day.
So when all is ready, he starts off so quickly that the
men don’t have time to uncouple Thomas. Poor Thomas is pulled along behind the
Express, going faster and faster – passing a very surprised Edward along the
At last, Gordon stops at
Wellsworth station, confident at having shown Thomas what hard work is like.
Poor Thomas is uncoupled for a rest and a long, long drink.
next day, Thomas is back in the yard again. But he still wants to pull trains
like the other engines; he doesn’t like being in the yard all the time. Whilst
crossly shunting, he spots some trucks on a lonely siding – a Workmen’s Coach
and two strange things called ‘cranes’...
comes over for a closer look and cheekily wakes them up. The two cranes are
suddenly alert and full of panic, wondering if something terrible has happened.
quickly apologises before being called away by Annie and Clarabel. They explain
that he mustn’t touch those trucks because that’s the Breakdown Train.
cranes, Judy and Jerome, are only to be moved in an emergency, like if “a
poor helpless coach” needs lifting back onto the rails.
At that moment, James
bustles importantly into the yard, ordering Thomas to take away his trucks and
to fetch him his coaches.
James doesn’t care if Annie and Clarabel think he’s a
show-off – he feels confident that one day, the Fat Controller would give him
his very own branch line to run. It’s then that Thomas notices the burning
The following morning,
Henry won’t come out of the shed. Thomas asks if it’s because he’s worried that
it might rain, but Henry thinks there might be something wrong with his boiler
– he might not be able to pull his train if he’s not ready in time.
is secretly hopeful as he shunts Henry’s coaches to the platform: if Henry is
ill, perhaps he might be allowed to take the train for him.
can see how enthusiastic he is, but warns Thomas that pulling trains is a lot of hard work. Thomas is too
excited to listen, and puffs on to the platform to wait for news of Henry.
Henry still doesn’t come, the Fat Controller requests that another engine
should pull the train. The only engine available is Thomas...so the Fat
Controller agrees, and Thomas puffs happily to the front of the train, eagerly
and ready to be off.
Controller tells Thomas not to be impatient, but he is still too excited.
On the other platform, a
Guard blows his whistle to signal Edward away...but Thomas thinks that it is his
Guard, and he pulls away before he is coupled to the train!
happily along the Main Line, thinking how easy it is pulling trains, not realising that he has left his coaches behind - and
wondering why everyone is waving to him!
At the next signalbox, the
Signalmen receive the message, but are too late to stop Thomas in time. Thomas
mistakes their frantic waving and shouting as a friendly greeting and carries
Luckily, Thomas is stopped by a signal at danger further along the line.
The Signalman asks him why he is there, and Thomas explains that he is pulling a train... it is only then that he discovers
that he has left the coaches behind!
When Thomas returns
big station, all the passengers are telling the Fat Controller what a Bad
Railway it is. Thomas is very sorry, and this time he waits until he is coupled
to the train and all of the passengers have re-boarded before he is able to
pull the train properly.
That night, Gordon and
James tease Thomas about his mistake. Thomas is very sad, and feels sure that
the Fat Controller would never allow him to pull trains again.
sorry for him, and so kindly offers to swap jobs – he can shunt the yard while
Thomas takes Edward’s goods train. Thomas is delighted and happily accepts.
In the morning, Thomas
puffs happily away to find the trucks.
But Edward warns him to be careful; the
Troublesome Trucks are liable to push him off the rails if he doesn’t take
Thomas is confident that they won’t play tricks on him, and sets off once
again on the Main Line.
The trucks become crosser
and crosser as they rattle along, but Thomas is too busy enjoying his journey.
It’s when they reach Gordon’s Hill that it all goes terribly wrong...the trucks
catch Thomas by surprise and push him down the hill.
Thomas tries hard to stop
them from going too fast, and just manages to avoid crashing through the
buffers at the next station. Unluckily, the Fat Controller sees everything...
Thomas and Edward are both
scolded by the Fat Controller. He will not allow them to leave the yard until
Thomas has learnt as much about trucks as Edward. Thomas is unhappier still...
...until one stormy day, while he’s
arranging Henry’s passenger train, Thomas realises that he won’t come out because
of the rain.
Sure enough, when Thomas goes to the sheds, he finds
inside, refusing to come out. Thomas reminds Henry that his passengers are
waiting for him, but Henry is just too afraid to leave.
However, Thomas doesn’t
give up – gently and kindly, he coaxes Henry out of the shed, showing him that
rain isn’t anything to be afraid of.
Very slowly, Henry summons the strength and courage and follows
realises that Thomas is right. Rain is only water, and it doesn’t spoil his
paint at all!
Several days pass, and
Thomas works harder than ever in the yard, determined to prove himself Really
Useful. He knows now that he needs to learn properly, and that he does not know everything after all.
Edward is pleased to see improvement in his work, and hopes that the
Fat Controller will too, when he returns to the station in the afternoon.
they both hear an engine whistling for help. Then James rushes through the yard
much too fast, being pushed by the Troublesome Trucks.
Thomas is worried for his friend, and hurries after James to try and help him, whilst Edward
Fat Controller look on in bewilderment at the spectacle.
runs alongside and eventually catches up, calling for James to apply his
brakes. But James can’t stop – his wooden brake blocks have caught fire!
and sparks stream from either side as the trucks push him on and on, laughing
and screeching behind him and loving every second of the chaos!
Thomas has another idea; at a junction, he
switches onto James’ line and calls to the Guard to couple him up in the hope
that he can slow the train down.
But the train is going faster than ever, and
despite his best attempts, the Guard can’t get Thomas coupled up to the brake
van to pull them back!
then, it’s already too late. At a bend in the track, James comes off the rails
into a field of cows, dragging the entire train with him.
is hurt, but Thomas is horrified at the sight, realising that Edward was right
about the Troublesome Trucks, and how dangerous they can be. Without hesitation,
he hurries back to the
main station for help.
Edward is trying to explain
the matter to the Fat Controller when Thomas races into the yard.
At once he is coupled to the Breakdown Train,
and Judy and Jerome call for the men to climb into their coach, ready for
action. Thomas doesn’t have time to tell
the Fat Controller what’s happened; he has to help James first.
Thomas works hard clearing
up the mess, pushing the groaning trucks out of the way. With the unhurt trucks
clear, Judy and Jerome set to work lifting a very battered James back on the
Edward arrives with the Fat Controller, who congratulates Thomas on his
hard work, before ordering him to take James to the Steamworks.
That night, Thomas is given a hero’s welcome
by all the workmen. Edward, Gordon and Henry are very impressed with Thomas’
heroism, none more so than the Fat Controller.
He has decided that for being such a Really
Useful Engine, he feels that Thomas has proven himself worthy enough to be
given his very own Branch Line. Thomas is delighted!
But Gordon protests at this
– with Thomas away, the big engines would have to learn to fetch their own
coaches until the Fat Controller can find another tank engine...
days later, as Thomas and Edward are preparing for work, a shiny red engine they
don’t recognise puffs into the yard... it’s James, fresh back from the Works
with some proper brakes and a splendid new coat of paint.
very proud and looking forward to resuming work again, but he is most surprised
to learn that he won’t be working with Annie and Clarabel anymore!They
are Thomas’ coaches now, and they’re off
to start work on the Branch Line!
So, with a cheerful whistle from Edward,
Thomas the Tank Engine puffs happily away to his new Branch Line, with Annie
and Clarabel trundling behind.
At last, Thomas is off to see the world and
to experience further adventures to come. And at Ffarquhar station, he even
comes across the original Number 1, who wishes him the best of luck with his