Lost Media Archive

"Thomas & Friends - 'The Big Live Tour'" and 'The All Aboard Live Tour' were two arena stage shows in the UK produced by DC Entertainment and Tell-Tale Productions in 2002. The tour was repeated within the next four years and also toured Japan by Fuji Television in 16th July to 31st August 2005.

Although the shows were received positively, there was never a home media release, and no full recordings of the shows have been found.

The Live show had two different stories, in which the set and characters used were modified to suit the tour.

In the Big Live Tour, Thomas is constantly being berated for being late, which James and Gordon tease Thomas about. Percy however tries to defend this, but finds that Thomas thinks he is not Really Useful anymore and so runs away from Sodor. The next day, however, the other engines find out Thomas has run off. Feeling guilty for hurting their friend, Gordon, James and Percy go searching for him. As they search the tunnel they get trapped inside by fallen rocks. Thomas and Jack are alerted by Harold about this news and manage to save the engines. Thomas is praised for his heroism and is once again a Really Useful Engine.

In the All Aboard Live Tour, Thomas breaks his whistle and has to borrow the local school's bell as a replacement. Meanwhile Gordon, the Fat Controller and various railway staff have caught colds. That night, when there is a fire at the Fat Controller's house, Thomas uses the school bell to warn him. While the Fat Controller states that his tea cake burnt while he fell asleep, Thomas has proved himself a really useful engine. The next day, as the Fat Controller tells the engines that there is a parade taking place on Sodor, Thomas is to lead it, but during that day, James loses his special load. Percy hears a ghostly noise which sounds suspiciously like an elephant and is derailed before anyone can do anything about it, forcing Thomas and his new animal friends Nellie and Twinkles the elephants to pull Percy back onto the rails. Later that day, the parade takes place and is a huge success.

  • References to the first series episodes, Edward and Gordon and Thomas Goes Fishing and the second series episode, Ghost Train are made in the second story.
  • The show’s voice actors were:
    • John Voce as Thomas
    • Mark Roper as Gordon
    • Edward Nudd as James
    • Martin Parsons as Percy
    • Justin Fletcher as Harold
    • Dave McEvoy as Jack
  • A scissor hinge mechanism and a pneumatic steering biasing were constructed to help James maneuver around tight corners as a regular pivot would not work.
  • The poster marks the last appearance of Thomas' original laughing face.
  • Gordon's model in the show was too long to go around the curves, so the model just moves in and out of the shed. It is not a complete prop, lacking a firebox, cab (aside from the front) and rear driving wheels, and the boiler has been shortened to give the illusion of depth.
  • The model engines can blink and change their facial expressions through sixth buttons inside the cab. Other switches inside the cab can control the steering of the engines, smoke volume and eye movements.
  • In Japan, Harold, Jack and troublesome trucks did not appear on the stage.
  • A special program featuring shows in Japan was broadcast on 16th July and 20th August 2005 in Ponkickies, with Gachapin, Mukku, P-Chan, Inocchi, Battom and Sister Rabbits, along with the Japanese Thomas & Friends narrator Leo Morimoto appearing.
  • It was going to tour Australia but it was cancelled and replaced with Thomas Saves the Day.
  • The James model earned a Guinness World Record in 2004 as the largest electric model railway engine.
  • Thomas' model was used for the Queen's Party at Buckingham Palace on 25th June 2006 with Jonathan Ross playing the Fat Controller.
  • A poster for this tour can be seen on the side of a double-decker bus in the 2003 film, Love Actually.
  • A few of the props were put up for sale on eBay; the faces on most of the characters were taken off and were worn out and the props themselves were not in the best of shape. These initially did not reach the reserve, but when relisted individually in May 2019, James (minus his tender), Percy and Clarabel received enough bids and were sold. Gordon and Harold were put up for sale in August 2019. Thomas' prop was scrapped late in 2018.
    • Most of the models used in the show were stored at Greenham Common Nuclear Facility as of November 2018.
    • Percy, Clarabel & James have now been sold to AG Tyre Recycling outside Marwell Zoo, Southampton, UK.
  • Percy's whistle sound was used from the Rubadubbers episode, "Train Driver Tubb".
  • For The All Aboard! Live Tour, a wire was added onto the top of Thomas' cab above his whistle to hang the bell.
  • Twinkles' costume was used after the production of Tweenies: Jungle Adventure which was released October 25th, 2004.

Promotional photo

The layout

Thomas with Sir Topham Hatt and Gordon