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The fourth series of Thomas & Friends first aired on television in October 1995 in the US and March 1996 in the UK. It aired between 1995 and 1996 on Shining Time Station and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales in the US. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US.
The fourth series saw the introduction of the smaller narrow gauge engines. For ease of filming, Series 5 would introduce larger-scale versions of the characters, and from series 6-12, these larger models were used almost exclusively.
Half of the third series consisted of stories written by the show's staff, but only one original story, Rusty to the Rescue was written by Allcroft and Mitton for the fourth series. The episodes which used the Railway Series did take some liberties with the source material, in order to fill the runtime and make the stories more accessible. From the fifth series onward, all stories would be staff-written, without using the Awdrys' books as a source until the twentieth series which would later finally introduce the Arlesdale Railway. The characters would then be led by their television personas and no longer by their storybook roots.
Stepney, a character based on a real-life engine and used to highlight the preservation movement in the books, was given an entirely different background when he was introduced. This decision carried on into later series, in which he was seen on either a fictionalised Bluebell Railway or as a visitor helping out on the Fat Controller's railway.
|Screenshot||UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Original UK release date||Episode number #|
|Granpuff||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
16th October 1995
|Thomas tells the story of Duke, a narrow gauge engine who worked with Stuart, Falcon. However, when their railway closes, the young engines are sold and the old engine is left abandoned in a shed.|
|Sleeping Beauty||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
17th October 1995
|After many years pass, some rescuers begin a journey to find Duke and reunite him with his old friends.|
|Bulldog||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
18th October 1995
|Falcon is sent to take the Mountain Road with Duke. However, he is impatient and does not pay attention to Duke's advice. He eventually winds up dangling from a cliff.|
|You Can't Win||21st August 1995 (VHS)|
19th October 1995
|One evening, Duke is too ill to manage by himself. Stuart teases him about this, but Duke gets his own back and he proves that he still has a lot of life left in him.|
|Four Little Engines||20th October 1995||#05|
|Sir Handel is pushed off the rails by some angry coaches. Skarloey is the only engine available and is determined to get his passengers home, even when one of his front springs breaks.|
|A Bad Day for Sir Handel||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
23rd October 1995
|Sir Handel and Peter Sam are brought in to help Skarloey and Rheneas. But Sir Handel is in a bad mood and deliberately derails himself to get out of work.|
|Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady||24th October 1995||#07|
|One day, Henry threatens to leave without Peter Sam's passengers. In a haste to meet his connection, he leaves the Refreshment Lady behind.|
Rusty Helps Peter Sam
|7th November 1994 (VHS)|
25th October 1995
|Gordon advises Sir Handel to get out of work by pretending to be ill, leaving Peter Sam and Rusty to take over. However, some trucks/cars mistake Peter Sam for Sir Handel and crash into him at the incline.|
|Home at Last||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
26th October 1995
|Peter Sam informs Skarloey of the newest arrival, a careless and bad-tempered engine named Duncan. Soon, Skarloey is sent to Duncan's aid when he is stuck under a decrepit tunnel.|
|Rock 'n' Roll||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
27th October 1995
|Rusty is concerned about Duncan, who ignores his warning about a broken section of track. After Duncan derails, Rusty grudgingly comes to the rescue.|
|Special Funnel||7th November 1994 (VHS)|
30th October 1995
|Peter Sam's funnel is knocked off by an icicle and is temporarily replaced by a drainpipe. However, Peter Sam gives the other engines a run for their money once his new funnel arrives.|
|Steam Roller||21st August 1995 (VHS)|
31st October 1995
|Skarloey tells Sir Handel of an anti-railway steamroller named George, whom Sir Handel vows to pay out. But George and Sir Handel are too evenly hot-headed.|
|Passengers and Polish||21st August 1995 (VHS)|
1st November 1995
|Duncan complains about not getting polished. His rudeness reaches its peak when he stops on the viaduct and refuses to move.|
|Gallant Old Engine||2nd November 1995||#14|
|Skarloey tells the story of how Rheneas saved the railway from closure, even after suffering a serious breakdown.|
|Rusty to the Rescue||21st August 1995 (VHS)|
3rd November 1995
|When Rusty hears that an engine is needed to help run the Bluebell Railway, he ventures out to find one and meets a steam engine named Stepney.|
|Thomas and Stepney||21st August 1995 (VHS)|
6th November 1995
|Stepney has been invited to visit the Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt's railway. Thomas is jealous when the visiting engine is talked about more than he is and is shunted for Stepney to pass with a special train that night.|
|Train Stops Play||3rd July 1995 (VHS)|
8th November 1995
|Stepney doesn't realize that a cricket ball has landed in one of his trucks/cars. Caroline the car sets off with the players in pursuit of Stepney along the branch line.|
|Bowled Out||3rd July 1995 (VHS)|
7th November 1995
|A stuck-up diesel makes a fool of himself when he sucks an inspector's bowler hat through his air-intake vent. Duck and Stepney volunteer in taking his train.|
|Henry and the Elephant||9th November 1995||#19|
|A circus comes to Sodor but Henry and some workmen are called to investigate a blockage in a tunnel, where he unhappily comes across an elephant.|
|Toad Stands By||21st August 1995 (VHS)|
10th November 1995
|Toad advises Oliver on how to regain the trucks/cars' respect. Oliver struggles to pull a goods train but he is so determined that he accidentally pulls S.C. Ruffey apart.|
|Bulls Eyes||13th November 1995||#21|
|Daisy claims that she would simply have to "toot" to scare animals off. However, when she comes across a bull, she realizes that it will need more than a command to move it away.|
|Thomas and the Special Letter||14th November 1995||#22|
|After the Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt reads a letter inviting the engines to visit the mainland, Thomas becomes very conceited and puts his big trip in jeopardy.|
|Paint Pots and Queens|
Thomas Meets the Queen
|3rd July 1995 (VHS)|
15th November 1995
|Henry misses the chance of pulling the Queen's royal train after a paint accident, giving Gordon and Thomas a special opportunity.|
|Fish||3rd July 1995 (VHS)|
16th November 1995
|Extra vans are added to the Flying Kipper and as a result, Henry needs a back engine to help him up Gordon's Hill. Duck offers to help but a badly attached tail lamp causes problems.|
|Special Attraction||3rd July 1995 (VHS)|
17th November 1995
|Percy is called into the harbour/harbor to deal with Bulstrode, a highly disagreeable barge. Bulstrode makes the trucks/cars more troublesome than usual, though he pays dearly for it.|
|Mind that Bike||20th November 1995||#26|
|Tom Tipper, a postal-worker, is unhappy when his post van is replaced by a bicycle. Percy manages to help him out, but not in the way he intended.|
|Screenshot||Title||Composers||Original release date|
|Thomas' Anthem Grand Finale|
(with footage from seasons 1-4)
|4th March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Let's Have a Race||Mike O'Donnell|
|4th March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Gone Fishing||Mike O'Donnell|
|21st February 1995 (US; VHS)|
4th November 1996 (US; TV)
3rd March 1997 (UK; VHS)
|That's What Friends Are for|
(no music video)
|Rules and Regulations|
(no music video)
|4th March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Don't Judge a Book By its Cover||Mike O'Donnell|
|15th August 1995 (UK; VHS)|
|The Island Song||Mike O'Donnell|
|4th March 1996 (UK; VHS)|
|Really Useful Engine||Mike O'Donnell|
|20 November 1995 (UK; VHS)|
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Little Boys
- Jeremiah Jobling (not named)
- Jem Cole (not named)
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Terence (cameo)
- Trevor (cameo)
- Bulgy (cameo)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (music video cameo)
- The Storyteller (music video cameo)
- The Diesel
- Sir Handel
- Peter Sam
- S.C. Ruffey
- Refreshment Lady
- Tom Tipper
- The Portly Man
- The Crovan's Gate Policeman
- The Dryaw Policeman
- The Important Passenger
- The Elsbridge Cricket Club
- The Painter
- The Tailor
- Queen Elizabeth II (does not speak)
- The Elephant Caper (not named; does not speak)
- Sir Robert Norramby (indirectly mentioned)
- Other Mid Sodor Railway Engines (indirectly mentioned)
- This was the first season of several things:
- The first season to feature the Skarloey and Mid Sodor Railways.
- The first season to feature Callan and The Misty Valley Branch Line.
- The first season not to end with a Christmas-themed episode.
- The first season to add the Proteus Ultra to compose the music.
- The first season to have episodes released on more than one VHS before airing on TV.
- The first season where Bill, Ben, and Bertie do not speak in any of their appearances.
- The first season to feature a television series-exclusive engine.
- The first season to premiere on Cartoon Network in the UK.
- This was also the final season of a few things:
- The final production to feature stories based on the Railway Series until The Adventure Begins, and therefore the last to have Wilbert Awdry as a technical consultant.
- The last season up to feature episodes based on the stories from the Railway Series.
- George Carlin's final season as narrator. Alec Baldwin would assume the role from the fifth - sixth seasons.
- The final production to introduce Railway Series-exclusive characters into the television series until King of the Railway, and the last to introduce a non-standard gauge railway (and engines thereof) from the Railway Series until Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- The final season shown on Shining Time Station.
- The final season released completely on VHS in New Zealand.
- The final season to feature Daisy
- With a number of 24 out of 26 episodes, Season 4 holds the most episodes released directly to home video before TV, with the exceptions of Rusty to the Rescue and Thomas and Stepney as they aired on TV in the US on January 7th, 1995 before released on VHS. Although all the UK narrations were released on VHS before airing on TV.
- This season contained the 100th episode of the television series.
- To date, this season introduced the most new characters.
- Oddly, a significant amount of sound effects and music are missing in the US versions of most fourth season episodes, a notable example being Rusty Helps Peter Sam, which misses almost all the music in the first half of the episode. The episode also excludes most of Peter Sam's whistles, and adds an unusual high pitched whistle when he cries for help after his accident.
- This season is unique as the first fifteen episodes focused primarily on the Skarloey Railway engines.
- All Chinese narrations from this season credit George Carlin as the narrator and all Norwegian/Hindi narrations credit Michael Angelis, even though the episodes were redubbed.
- In the Ukrainian narration, Michael Angelis' voice can be still heard in the background.