By Stephanie Ciccarelli
January 8, 2006
For those of you familiar with the hit children's series Thomas and Friends, we're going to talk a stroll down memory lane. On our walk, we are going to visit the celebrity narrators on both sides of the pond that have provided voice-over narration for the Thomas and Friends television series for over twenty years.
Shining Time Station has had a number of fine gentlemen on board, maintaining a wholesome and genuine image for audiences in both Britain and North America. The first celebrity to take on the role of Mr. Conductor and narrate the series was Ringo Starr, a former member of the The Beatles. Ringo narrated from 1985-1991, associating his recognizable and authentic British accent with the Island of Sodor.
Next in line was an American comedian named George Carlin, who provided voice-over narration from 1991-1998, succeeding Ringo Starr as both the narrator and Mr. Conductor for the North American audience. In Great Britain, UK narrator Michael Angelis was also recording for the show, following in Ringo Starr's footsteps.
The US audience embraced another one of their own when movie star Alec Baldwin joined the company (1998-2003), narrating the show, voicing characters, and even starring in a full-length motion picture for Thomas and Friends. Michael Brandon, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is the current US narrator (2004 to the present).
Thomas and Friends was written by Rev. W. Awdry and produced by Britt Allcroft. The Thomas and Friends series has a global fanbase, an official website, and a variety of merchandise including an empire of quality wooden train tracks and accessories, collectibles, videos, and apparel.
Thomas and Friends recently celebrated their 60th Anniversary with tours and showcasing of cherished Thomas collectibles including a golden Thomas the Tank Engine.
One of the most endearing qualities of this series (other than the trains themselves) are the voices of the narrators. I was surprised to see Alec Baldwin in the role of Mr. Conductor, but was soon pleased and quite impressed by his contribution to the series.
If you have a favorite narrator from the Thomas and Friends series, let us know and leave a comment :)
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