MIPJUNIOR WORLD PREMIERE TV SCREENING: 14 OCTOBER 2017
Thomas & Friends? for the Next Generation
NEW EPISODES TO INCLUDE CONTENT COLLABORATION WITH UNITED NATIONS THAT SHOW LITTLE ONES THEY CAN HELP BUILD A KINDER, GENTLER WORLD
Mattel, Inc., a global learning, development and play company that inspires the next generation of kids to shape a brighter tomorrow, has today taken centre stage at the MIP Junior World Premiere TV Screening in Cannes to unveil its new 26 x 11’ Series “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!?”. The brand-new show premieres globally from Fall 2018 and features a plethora of new exciting changes and enhancements with a more modern feel and appeal to both boy and girl preschool viewers around the world.?
The groundbreaking refresh to Thomas & Friends? content has been based on extensive market research with hundreds of parents and children, and creative work from the Mattel production team and consultants, who together helped to reimagine the show. Heading into 2018, fans will see an exciting transformation of the program appealing directly to a new generation of fans. ?The show will also be enhanced with several storylines tied to bringing to life in a pre-school friendly way the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2015, with the intention of helping kids from a very early age develop into true global citizens. The key highlights and changes of the show include:?
? New format series – The eleven minute episodes feature faster-paced, 7-minute narrative stories with increased humour and fantasy sequences, with the additional 4 minutes containing sing-along songs and “life lessons” delivered directly by Thomas.
? New locations – For the first time in the series’ history, Thomas leaves Sodor to travel further than ever before, experiencing and discovering new cultures and countries, including China, India and Australia.
? New characters – The introduction of new characters include the first African steam engine from Kenya called Nia and other international characters from around the world, including Ashima from India, Yong Bao from China and Shane from Australia.
? New Steam Team – We see a refreshed new formation of the core Steam Team. Formally six boys and one girl, the new team will have three girls and three boys joining Thomas, ensuring gender equality across the show. Henry and Edward will move out of the Tidmouth Sheds to live in other parts of Sodor, making way for the new girl engines. The new Steam Team will consist of: ?Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon, Emily, and new characters Nia and Rebecca.
? New Main Title Song – A new, energetic main title theme song is being introduced to compliment the new content and Steam Team. ?But fans of the classic “Roll Call” song will be pleased to hear that this song will remain in the musical segments within a number of episodes. ?
? New Narrator – For the first time, Thomas tells his own stories and speaks directly to the audience, eliminating the need for a traditional narrator and building Thomas’ relationship with the audience.
Christopher Keenan, SVP & Executive Producer, Mattel Creations, says: “Thomas has a rich heritage and has enjoyed many evolutions over the years. This new series, inspired by our audience, maintains all the core values and attributes that has kept Thomas on track for over seventy years, but it broadens Thomas’ world to reflect the global community in which we all live. Additionally, we have increased the level of energy, excitement and humour that today’s audiences have come to expect in premium entertainment. We couldn’t be more pleased to premiere the new show at MIPJR 2017 and we are excited for kids and parents to enjoy this new series in Fall 2018.”
Kate Schlomann, VP and General Manager, Thomas & Friends?, says: “The brand is currently undergoing an evolution to remain relevant for the next generation of parents and kids by opening up the world of Thomas & Friends??so kids can discover the world around them. This in turn offers many new opportunities for the brand franchise, which takes Thomas & Friends??from an evergreen brand to a must-have hot property!”
Additionally, as part of the redevelopment of content and through a series of writers’ workshops, the Thomas & Friends? production team joined forces with the United Nations and several of its agencies to incorporate five of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the new series. The 17 Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. Encompassing everything from health, to gender equality, and education, the Goals will mobilize efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
The Goals that were chosen for inclusion were those most organic to the Thomas & Friends? storylines, and adapted specially for a preschool audience. Specifically, five SDGs are present in the new series, including: Quality Education, Gender Equality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Life on Land. The United Nations were present at the MIP Junior World Premiere event and took part in the interview panel, alongside the Thomas & Friends? production team.
Maher Nasser said: “We recognise the power of the creative community and entertainment industry in reaching much wider audiences through story telling. The UN Creative Community Outreach Initiative works with partners, such as Thomas & Friends?, to translate our messages into everyday language that young people and children can better understand and relate to. Once children understand these concepts, they will grow to be more responsible adults.”
Schlomann added, in relation to the UN, “We see great value in the Sustainable Development Goals and chose the ones that felt most natural to the Thomas & Friends??storyline and provided opportunity for a new type of life lesson using messaging that is easy to understand for a preschool audience. Our new show is all about discovery, curiosity and wonder explored through Thomas’ eyes of innocence, much like that of our young audience. The content hopes to inspire the next generation of global citizens and produce meaningful conversation and learnings between children and parents.”
The new Thomas & Friends? content will first be seen in the new movie tentpole, “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie”? (1 x 80’), premiering in Summer 2018, while the new Series 22 premieres in Fall 2018. Thomas & Friends? is aired in over 110 countries in 33 languages with over 2.8 billion YouTube Channel views and offers more than 80 hours of original content, produced from 500 episodes and 12 movies.