Multi-cultural characters, new girl protagonists and first ever preschool TV collab with United Nations.
A new series of Thomas & Friends has launched on Channel 5’s Milkshake block, marking the blast-off for the most significant changes to the world-famous children’s brand in its 73-year history as it now sets its sights on increasing its appeal with its global audience.
The changes being unveiled on TV for the first time include new international and female characters, a new theme tune and a dynamic faster paced show format.
The relaunch of the show is the centerpiece of a major strategic brand refresh, to help engage a new generation of fans by bringing its content in line to the meet the tastes of a global audience in the modern day.
As well as the additions already mentioned, the new format series also features increased humour and music, animals and fantasy elements and dream sequences.
As part of the redevelopment of the content, the Thomas & Friends production team collaborated with the UN Department of Public Information’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative to develop content inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals that were most appropriate for a preschool audience and fitting to the Thomas & Friends brand values.
Products supporting the new series include Fisher-Price toys that will help kids bring to life Thomas’ newest adventure, including the Thomas & Friends Turbo Jungle Set and Nia engines in the TrackMaster, Wood and Adventures segments. The Turbo Jungle Set features a motorised Thomas train that can travel up to 2.5 times faster than normal TrackMaster engines. Other new products are due to launch in spring 2019.
“The show has undergone an evolution to remain relevant for the next generation of parents and children by opening up the world of Thomas & Friends so children can discover the world around them while being entertained,” explained Ian McCue, senior producer at Thomas & Friends.
“The changes and new additions of characters and geographies will make the show more entertaining, inclusive and global – while ensuring all the favourite characters and storylines that fans around the world love remain at the heart of the action.”