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HiT Entertainment is the current owner of Thomas and Friends.

HiT was originally formed as Henson International Television (hit!) in 1983 as a branch of the Jim Henson Company in order to coordinate the co-production of Fraggle Rock in London. This subsidiary was later sold and retains none of the original Henson company architecture except for the name. It later re-branded itself as "HiT Entertainment".

They later purchased Gullane Entertainment in 2003 and have since produced the new series format of Thomas episodes and merchandise. HiT acquired the television rights for Thomas and Friends in 2002, during the airing of the sixth season and the filming of the seventh. HiT's changes to the series have been reviled by many fans due to their over-educational and "three-strikes" setup. This contrasts with the Reverend W. Awdry's original meaning for the stories to be solely for entertainment.

On February 1st, 2012, it was announced that Mattel purchased HiT Entertainment from Apax Partners for $680 million.

US VHS and DVD ReleasesEdit

UK DVD ReleasesEdit

CriticismEdit

Until the seventeenth season (for the most part), many fans believe that HiT Entertainment damaged Thomas and Friends on several grounds:


  • Replacing the music by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell with Robert Hartshorne and Ed Welch's tunes. However, since the CGI switch-over, and the departure of Ed Welch from the series, many fans have begun to enjoy Hartshorne's scores.
  • Changes in the personas of several characters; most notably Edward, Toby, PercySkarloey, HenrySir HandelRheneas, Diesel and Diesel 10. Since Misty Island Rescue, Diesel and Diesel 10's personas seem more like their original ones. Likewise, since Blue Mountain Mystery, Skarloey, Sir Handel, and Rheneas have received personas more akin to the ones they had prior to the ninth season. 
  • The writing style of the series changing from entertainment with a subtle moral, while kept fairly accurate to real railway operations, to an educational format with less realistic railway operations. 
  • Contradicting continuity, most notably with Henry needing special coal once again and Hiro being referred to as "the first engine on Sodor"
  • Transitioning from model animation to CGI.
  • Crashes that result in less (or more) violent effects than would be in reality.
  • Using trucks for tasks that would, in real railway operations, be handled by other types of rolling stock best suited for the task.
  • A severe lack of brakevans between the eighth and twelfth seasons. Although brakevans are still not on every goods train, they have been seen more often in the CGI seasons.
  • Story lines which do not seem to relate to that of what a real engine could endeavor.
  • Stories commonly fixated on the Steam Team with older characters like Oliver, [BoCo], Donald and Douglas and Duke, among others remaining absent, with some not appearing at all.
  • New characters being introduced, possibly only for one episode, and then never appearing again, though since the thirteenth season, the newer characters have been making fairly regular appearances.
  • Constant rhyming in the later seasons, more specifically between the thirteenth and sixteenth seasons.
  • "Zombifying" all minor human characters, particularly the engines' crews, into nothing more than the engine's hands. 
  • Poor quality in story lines often involving the "three strikes, you're out" method where an engine has to do something and then messes it up three times in a row only to retry and succeed, often with help from someone they refused help from in the first place. 

External linkEdit

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