Series 3 also saw the introduction of two new storytellers as Ringo Starr decided to leave Thomas behind to pursue his musical interests again with his All Starr Band.  To further the success in the United States, Britt Allcroft and Rick Sigglekow brought in American comedian, George Carlin, to replace Ringo as Mr Conductor on Shining Time Station. As well as being storyteller for the new Series 3, George also retold stories from Series 1 and 2, many of which Ringo had not adapted for the United States.  In the UK, another Liverpudlian actor was sought to emulate Ringo’s tones.  Michael Angelis, who had starred previously in The Liver Birds and Boys From The Black Stuff, took over duties for the UK and Australian releases and provided an enthusiastic and lively narrative throughout his storytelling.  Both stand in very high regard with nostalgic fans today.

After 1992, the TV Series was no longer broadcast on terrestrial UK television, and following Shining TimeStation’s third series in 1993, the preference was to produce ‘specials’ of that series instead.  Thus, when Series 4 came to be released in 1995, it became the first one to be released ‘straight-to-video’ as a ‘made to specification’ series.  The series was shown in the UK on Satellite channel Cartoon Network, whilst in the USA, Shining Time Station made use of eight stories

Series 7 had already been planned out and agreed upon, and while HIT were able to implement some of their own ideas, it was very much the last full Gullane series.  In the US, Series 7 was released simultaneously on DVD alongside Series 8, with a new storyteller replacing Alec Baldwin.  Michael Brandon had been starring in Jerry Springer: The Musical in London when he was spotted by HIT Entertainment bosses, and approached to undertake the role.  Thus, he was charged with the task of telling two series worth of stories at once for general release.  In the interim however, Michael Angelis provided narrative for the US version for four Series 7 episodes, and the two Jack and the Pack episodes released in the US on theNew Friends For Thomas DVD release.

Series 11 was also meant to mark the end of Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon’s storytelling. Michael Brandon expressed his sadness at leaving the series to Sodor Island in an interview which can be found [, saying how much he enjoyed being part of Thomas's world for the four years he was associated with the series.  Long-term UK fans of the series were also sad to hear of Michael Angelis's departure, he being a staple of Thomas's world for over fifteen years.  However, what softened the blow was the announcement of their replacement, who would be storyteller for both future American and UK releases and broadcasts was none other than former 007 star himself, Pierce Brosnan, who would make his debut in late 2008, with the straight-to-DVD special release, The Great Discovery. The Great Discovery was released to acclimation, with daring stunts for the Thomas model particularly, as well as Pierce’s soothing narrative throughout, which was felt by some to be a refreshing change, particularly in the UK.  Putting forward the importance of friendship, teamwork and accepting others without resorting to jealousy.  However, the situation had changed with Pierce throughout the year, and instead of being storyteller for three series and three specials as previously stated, his sole contribution to the Thomas series would be in The Great Discovery. Series 12, the final one filmed with models, was aired firstly in the United Kingdom, where to the surprise of everyone, Michael Angelis’ name was seen to appear on the screen in place of the previously billed Pierce Brosnan.  Similarly, in the United States, while supposedly displaced from the TV Series, Michael Brandon had made a triumphant return, with Pierce Brosnan being billed on The Great Discovery DVD as the Special Guest Narrator.  This was the first series to be officially cut to 20 filmed episodes as opposed to the previous 26, and the last one to rely solely upon a storyteller.


Michael's style of storytelling is largely enjoyed by British fans, particularly his earlier seasons when he was particularly enthusiastic and faster-paced.  His diverse range of accents, dialects, vocal pitches, etc. were fantastic down the years, although, there were occasions where continuity would lapse and he'd forget voices from season to season - a fault which he himself admitted to us.

Out of everyone involved with Thomas, Michael has seen the most change down the years.  He worked through the Britt Allcroft years, the brief Gullane era and stayed true to the series through every HIT Entertainment change and update - even choosing to return when Pierce Brosnan stepped away from the role after The Great Discovery! Michael is not only the longest serving British Storyteller for Thomas, he is the longest serving storyteller for the brand ever - with work spanning over 21 years, 13 seasons of Thomas, 5 specials and was earmarked to voice characters in Thomas & The Magic Railroad in 2000.  In our Best Ever Storytellers Poll, he came 3rd out of all six TV Series Storytellers (UK & US) and 2nd to Ringo Starr in the Best British Storyteller Poll.