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The third season of the television series first premiered on VHS in 1991 in the UK before airing on TV. It first aired in the US in 1991 on Shining Time Station, with the last 10 episodes following in 1993. The whole season first aired in the UK from February to July 1992. All twenty-six episodes were narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and by George Carlin in the US and New Zealand.
Before production of the third season, Clearwater Features closed down, with The Britt Allcroft Company becoming the sole producer. Producer Robert D. Cardona left before series 3, and Britt Allcroft took his place as co-producer alongside David Mitton. According to Robert Gauld-Galliers, "Gordon Goes Foreign" was originally planned to be filmed into an episode, but it wasn't because of high budgets.
The series was a combination of episodes derived from the Railway Series, magazines stories (written by the series' current head writer, Andrew Brenner), and a couple of original stories by Allcroft and Mitton. One of the primary reasons for diverging from the original books was that many of the stories not yet used featured large numbers of new characters, which would be expensive to produce. Another was that the producers wanted more stories about Thomas, the nominal main character. The Rev. W. Awdry noticed the more loose adaptions and disapproved of the new stories citing they were unrealistic.
|Screenshot|| UK title (top)|
US title (bottom)
|Episode number #|
|"A Scarf for Percy"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
25th February 1992 (ITV)
|Percy wants to wear a scarf, but changes his mind after an accident with a baggage trolley.|
|"Percy's Promise"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
3rd March 1992 (ITV)
|Percy makes a promise to Thomas, that despite a terrible storm, he will get Annie, Clarabel, and the Sunday school home safely.|
|"Time for Trouble"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
17th March 1992 (ITV)
|James takes over Gordon's work, but is humbled after having to push a stranded Toby to the Works.|
|"Gordon and the Famous Visitor"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
24th March 1992 (ITV)
|Gordon is jealous of a vistor's high-speed record, and loses his dome trying to go as fast.|
|"Donald's Duck"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
31st March 1992 (ITV)
|Duck gets cross at Donald's teasing and plays a trick on him, which soon backfires.|
|"Thomas Gets Bumped"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
7th April 1992 (ITV)
|Thomas is worried Bertie will take his passengers, after he is sent to the yard to wait until some track is mended.|
|"Thomas, Percy and the Dragon"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
7th April 1992 (ITV)
|Thomas gets even with Percy's ghostly prank with the help of a paper Chinese dragon.|
|"Diesel Does it Again"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
14th April 1992 (ITV)
|Diesel returns to cause trouble for Percy and Duck at the harbour.|
|"Henry's Forest"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
14th April 1992 (ITV)
|Henry is upset when the forest is decimated by a storm, but the Fat Controller and Toby put things right.|
|"The Trouble with Mud"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
21st April 1992 (ITV)
|Gordon is given goods work after refusing to get a wash down and spraying James with mud, but soon ends up helping James up the hill.|
|"No Joke for James"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
21st April 1992 (ITV)
|James tricks Thomas into giving him Gordon's express, but soon regrets it.|
| "Thomas, Percy and the Post Train|
Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train"
| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
28th April 1992 (ITV)
|Thomas and Percy try to save the post train from being replaced by Harold.|
|"Trust Thomas"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
28th April 1992 (ITV)
|Thomas promises to help mend Bertie's roads, but must help himself first after Gordon and James get him into a bother.|
|"Mavis"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
5th May 1992 (ITV)
|Mavis, a new diesel, proves to be arrogant and troublesome, and refuses to listen to Toby's advice.|
|"Toby's Tightrope"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
5th May 1992 (ITV)
|Mavis redeems herself after Toby's trucks push him onto an unsafe bridge.|
|"Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party"|| 11th November 1991 (VHS)|
12th May 1992 (ITV)
|Edward and Trevor help the vicar with a garden party, while Bertie runs into bother in the mud.|
| "Buzz, Buzz|
James Goes Buzz Buzz"
|12th May 1992 (ITV)||#17|
|James calls BoCo a "buzzbox", but becomes one himself after a beehive is broken by a porter.|
|"All at Sea"||19th May 1992 (ITV)||#18|
|Duck wishes to travel to the horizon, but after helping an injured sailor he changes his mind.|
|"One Good Turn"||26th May 1992 (ITV)||#19|
|Bill and Ben fall out over an incident with a turntable.|
|"Tender Engines"||2nd June 1992 (ITV)||#20|
|Henry boasts he deserves an extra tender for his hard work, but Duck brings him back down to earth.|
|"Escape"||9th June 1992 (ITV)||#21|
|Douglas rescues a Great Western engine named Oliver and a brake van named Toad from the scrapyard.|
|"Oliver Owns Up"||16th June 1992 (ITV)||#22|
|Oliver becomes conceited from all the praise and attention from the other engines, but the trucks teach him a lesson.|
|"Bulgy"||23rd June 1992 (ITV)||#23|
|A railway-hating double-decker bus attempts to steal Duck and Oliver's passengers.|
|"Heroes"||30th June 1992 (ITV)||#24|
|Bill and Ben cause confusion at the harbour, but become heroes after saving workers during a rockslide at the quarry.|
|"Percy, James and the Fruitful Day"||7th July 1992 (ITV)||#25|
|Percy and James have an adventure with a fruit train.|
|"Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure|
Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure"
|14th July 1992 (ITV)||#26|
|Thomas and Percy work together to give a snowed-down village a Merry Christmas.|
- Thomas' Anthem (with footage from season 3 only)
- Donald and Douglas
- Bill and Ben
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Vicar of Wellsworth
- The Little Boys
- Jeremiah Jobling (not named)
- Jem Cole (not named)
- The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (not named)
- Henrietta (speaks only in Finnish dub; does not speak in English dubs)
- Lady Hatt (not named; does not speak)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- Farmer Finney (cameo)
- The Märklin Engine (cameo; scrapped only)
- Percy's Ghost Engine (mentioned)
- The Firelighter (mentioned)
- Father Christmas (mentioned in the UK version)
- Daisy (mentioned in music video)
- The Chinese Dragon
- The New Signalman
- The Railway Foreman
- The Quarry-master
- Toad (does not speak)
- The Railway Society (do not speak)
- The Injured Sailor (does not speak)
- City of Truro (not named; does not speak)
- Flying Scotsman (not named; tender, water tanker, and cab only; does not speak)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Bulgy's Friend (mentioned)
- The Photographer (mentioned)
- Big City Engine (dropped)
- This was the first season of several things:
- The first season narrated by Michael Angelis in the UK and George Carlin in the US and the first narrated by the latter that had not been previously released with Ringo Starr's narrations.
- The first season to have episodes not based on material by either Awdry.
- Britt Allcroft's first season as producer.
- Angus Wright's first season as executive producer.
- The first season to use Rockwell font.
- The first season to feature TUGS models and props.
- This season was the first to use the EMU Proteus 2 Orchestral to create the music. However, some of the music made with the Roland Jupiter 6 synthesiser for the first and second season was used.
- The first season dubbed in Finnish.
- The first season to introduce music videos.
- The first season to have slow motion effects.
- From this season on, characters would angrily say "Be quiet!" instead of "Shut up!" presumably due to the production teams and script writers being accused of using a vulgar/offensive phrase.
- The first season to have episodes released on home video before it was broadcast on television.
- The first season broadcast when Children’s ITV was more commonly referred to as CITV.
- In the US, this is the first season to not have a Christmas themed season finale.
- The biggest space of time between two seasons airing is between the second and third seasons. The second season first aired back in 1986 and the third season in 1992.
- Gordon Goes Foreign was originally going to be an episode in this season, but it was cancelled for being too high budget. It is unknown if any of the other episodes made for this season ever replaced it.
- In the Ukrainian version, Michael Angelis and George Carlin's voices can be heard in the background, as a dubbing track was not used. The first thirteen episodes have George Carlin's voice while the last thirteen episodes have Michael Angelis' voice. Angelis is also credited as narrator in the first thirteen episodes despite Carlin's narration in the background and the episodes being re-dubbed.
- For much of the season, Tidmouth Sheds appears to be much larger on the inside than in the first two seasons. While all the exterior scenes depict the shed with the usual six berths, there are nine tracks seen in most interior views.
- This is the only season that has George Carlin's narration on VHS in New Zealand. However when the third season episodes were aired in New Zealand, Michael Angelis' narration was used instead. This is also the case when The Complete Third Series was released on DVD in New Zealand.
- Model maker John Holmes did not receive credit for working on this season until 1992.
- At the very end of Michael Angelis' early narrations, the credits were shown with a still of the final shot of each episode. When shown on television and in future video and DVD releases, the credits were shown alongside a still of Thomas.
- This was the last season to be shown on CITV until 2003 when the sixth season was shown.
- From Thomas Gets Bumped to Buzz, Buzz, each CITV broadcast featured two episodes compiled into one 10 minute block. The difference here was that only the title card for the second episode was shown after the first episode.
- This season was produced in association with Fuji Television Network, Inc. as indicated by a message at the end of each episode. In 1991 airings, the message is in white, while in 1992 airings, it is yellow.
- According to The Thomas the Tank Engine Man, it cost £1.3 million to produce all 26 episodes.
- It was during this season that footage of Tidmouth Sheds was shot uniquely for the Japanese-exclusive special Thomas and the U.K. Trip.
- All at Sea and Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure were the only episodes in this season not based on The Railway Series or a magazine story.
- All at Sea, One Good Turn, Tender Engines, Escape, Oliver Owns Up, Bulgy, Heroes, Percy, James and the Fruitful Day and Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure narrated by Michael Angelis is recorded in vintage.
- The Flying Scotsman makes an obscured appearance once in this season. He is not fully shown until 24 years later with the release of the special, The Great Race.
- This was the only season that used the Three Way Road.
|1. A Scarf for Percy 2. Percy's Promise 3. Time for Trouble 4. Gordon and the Famous Visitor 5. Donald's Duck|
|6. Thomas Gets Bumped 7. Thomas, Percy and the Dragon 8. Diesel Does it Again 9. Henry's Forest 10. The Trouble with Mud|
|11. No Joke for James 12. Thomas, Percy and the Post Train 13. Trust Thomas 14. Mavis (episode) 15. Toby's Tightrope|
|16. Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party 17. Buzz, Buzz 18. All at Sea 19. One Good Turn 20. Tender Engines|
|21. Escape 22. Oliver Owns Up 23. Bulgy (episode) 24. Heroes 25. Percy, James and the Fruitful Day 26. Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure|
| Canceled: Gordon Goes Foreign