New series will feature multi-cultural characters, female protagonists and collaboration with United Nations.
Today sees the launch of the reinvigorated new series of Thomas & Friends on Channel 5 Milkshake, marking the start of the most significant changes to the world-famous children’s brand in its 73-year-old history. Changes being unveiled on TV screens for the first time include new international and female characters, a new theme tune and a dynamic, faster-paced show format, all of which can be watched daily on Milkshake at 7.00am.
The relaunch of the show is the centrepiece of a major strategic brand refresh, to help engage a new generation of fans by bringing content in line with the tastes of a global audience in the modern day. After market research with hundreds of children and parents around the world, the new Thomas & Friends series showcases a more contemporary feel and a refreshed line-up of central characters in its ‘Steam Team’. The all-new format series also brings faster-paced action, increased humour and music, new international friends, animals and exciting fantasy elements and dream sequences.
Ian McCue, senior producer at Thomas & Friends, commented: “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. The changes and new additions of characters and geographies will make the show more entertaining, inclusive and global – whilst ensuring all the favourite characters and storylines that fans around the world love remain at the heart of the action.”
As part of the redevelopment of 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 pre-school audience and fitting to the Thomas & Friends brand values.
Products that support the new series include new 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. Other new products are set to launch in spring 2019.