Friday, 19 October 2012

S4 Ep.1: Granpuff

1994 - 1995 saw two years of celebrations. In 1994, 'Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends' celebrated their tenth anniversary of being on UK television and in 1995, it was the golden anniversary of the Railway Series and several things have been made to celebrate the golden anniversary. Heinemann Publishers, the new owners of the Railway Series, along with Christopher Awdry, have published a special book commemorating the 50th anniversary entitled 'Thomas and The Fat Controller's Engines', despite that another book was suppose to be 'Barry the Rescue Engine'. Also, Railway Series fan, Nicholas Jones had produced a documentary called 'The Thomas the Tank Engine Man' featuring the Rev.W.Awdry and his son, Britt Allcroft, David Mitton, many heritage railway workers and even some behind the scenes footage of Series four episode, 'Thomas and The Special Letter'. Even a book, by the same name of the documentary, by Brian Sibley was published as well. A special exhibition was made at the 'National Railway Museum' and even an InterCity 125 electric multiple unit was named after him as well. Series four also marks the end of Awdry's material as from Series five - onwards, many episodes were written by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton and then some writers.

So we start off with the first half of the fourth series that aired in 1994. And the series have introduce us to a brand new line of engines on a completely different set of gauges and that is the Skarloey Railway. The episode we see is set on the former Mid-Sodor Railway, with the oldest engine, Duke, in, but first:


Originally Written by 
The Rev.W.Awdry

Adapted for Television by
Britt Allcroft and David Mitton

Air Date:

Thomas told the other engines a story about Duke, an engine who works on the Mid-Sodor Railway, along with Stuart (Peter Sam) and Falcon (Sir Handel). They work on their railway happily, but then dark times came. The mines were closed and the railway had closed too. People came to buy the engines, but no one wanted Duke, they thought he was too old. Stuart told Duke that they will find him a nice railway one day. Duke was left in the sheds and all was silent. Years passed and the winter rain came flooded the railway. Trees grew all around the shed and no one knew about the sleeping little engine. Would he be saved? 

- The episode leaves a depressing emotion.

- Why was Rheneas on the railway?
- Smudger is just lazy repaint of Rheneas. 
- Stuart and Falcon should have no buffers.
- What was the point of the NWR engines? 

OK, I have no problem with the episode, the episode is great. It was really emotional and with the music and the story of Duke. It's shame that most kids shows today won't show some sad moments to teach us about the hard times of life and that's what this episode shows. But there are many visual errors when it comes to the adaptations. First, why was Rheneas on the railway? He's suppose to be working on the Skarloey Railway at the time. Second, Smudger, he's the first character to be a non-Railway Series engine. But he's just a poorly repaint of Rheneas, were was the real engine is named Stanley, based on a Baldwin Locomotive works 590 4-6-0T for the Welsh Highland Railway. He has the same character, arrogant and pompous and doesn't care about going off the rails, but turn him into a pumping engine, but was scrapped when the railway closed since there was no use to him.

Plus its a shame that Stuart and Falcon are seen with their buffers on, it would be better if they leave the buffers off and put them on by the time they came to the Skarloey Railway. And what was the point of having the NWR engines in the episode? I don't know. 

But despite the flaws, the episode is depressing and shows the hard times of life. 

Rating: 4/5