Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (also known as Thomas & Friends) is a British media franchise based on The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry and created by Britt Allcroft. The franchise began with stories told from Wilbert Awdry to his son Christopher. In 1984, it was turned into a television series.
It follows a group of Steam Locomotives and Road Vehicles working on the fictional island of Sodor for the North Western Railway & Every Engine is run by The Fat Controller. Thomas works on his Branch Line with his two faithful coaches, Annie and Clarabel, after saving James from a terrible accident. Other engines on the Railway include Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy and Toby.
The television series has been broadcast in over 185 territories and has spawned twenty-four series, a theatrical film, and thirteen direct-to-DVD specials.