Created as a fictional story for the Reverend. W. Awdry’s son Christopher in 1945, tales of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends on the Island of Sodor sell more than 2 million books each year across more than 100 titles. For the 75th anniversary of the iconic blue Tank Engine, Mattel has prepped numerous products and partnerships spanning publishing, music, television, and toys.
“Since the beginning, Thomas & Friends has celebrated friendship and teamwork through storytelling, which has cultivated fan love across generations. In this milestone 75th year, we are releasing more storytelling content than ever before to engage the next generation of fans,” says Chuck Scothon, senior vice president and general manager of infant and preschool, Mattel. “While families are spending more time at home, we are able to offer new content to enjoy together across videos, books, apps, and through music and podcasts, and are thrilled that we could partner with leading platforms like Calm and Caribu along with Netflix and Harry, The Duke of Sussex, to bring this content home for fans.”
Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine
On May 1, the celebration officially begins with the debut of Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine, a 22-minute special which pays homage to the show’s British heritage and features Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales as a child. Thomas travels to London for the first time on a mission to take Sir Topham Hatt to Buckingham Palace. Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine includes a special introduction from Harry, The Duke of Sussex. Rosamund Pike (Thunderbirds Are Go!) voices a new character, Duchess of Loughborough.
— The Toy Book (@ToyBook) April 28, 2020
Thomas & Friends 75th Anniversary Celebration Initiatives
- The 24th season of Thomas & Friends includes 20 new 11-minute episodes and a pair of Thomas & Friends: Marvelous Machinery specials. Each 22-minute presentation focuses on special themes including flying cars and new technology. The season will stream on Netflix and will be supplemented by four all-new YouTube series.
- Thomas & Friends is teaming up with Nitro Circus for an epic stunt that will debut on Quibi in Life-Size Toys, debuting on May 25.
- “Thomas & Friends Storytime” is a new podcast for kids. The series of 46 stories will be released weekly beginning May 12 across all major podcasting platforms.
- On May 8, a Thomas birthday album will be released across all major digital music platforms. Additionally, 50 more new songs will be released throughout the year with companion music videos slated to debut on YouTube.
- Beginning May 4, Thomas-themed sleep stories and guided meditations will come to the Calm app. Two additional pieces of Thomas-related content will debut on the app later this year.
- Thomas & Friends: Best Birthday Ever! will be released by Random House Books for Young Readers in the U.S. Families in the UK can be on the lookout for three new titles from Egmont.
- Caribu, the family activity video-calling app, will feature videos in which Kevin Jonas reads classic Thomas & Friends books every week in May.
- New birthday-themed Thomas & Friends toys include Birthday Wish Thomas, a push-along Thomas train with a cargo cart and light-up birthday cake candle that features music and phrases such as “Happy Birthday;” Golden Thomas, a special-edition train that is decorated with festive balloons and beats a party drum as he moves along the track; and Celebration Thomas, Percy, and Nia, special edition engines that have shiny metallic finishes.
More information will be available throughout the year at thomasandfriends.com.