Thomas & Friends (originally known as Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends or simply Thomas the Tank Engine; later called Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!) is a British children's television series. Based on The Railway Series of books by Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son Christopher, English writer and producer Britt Allcroft arranged a deal to bring the stories to life as the TV series. In the United Kingdom, it had its first broadcast on the ITV network on October 1984. In the United States, it had its first broadcast on Shining Time Station in 1989.
These books follow the adventures of a group of anthropomorphised locomotives and road vehicles who live on the fictional Island of Sodor. The titular protagonist Thomas is the most popular and famous character in the series. The books were based on stories Wilbert told to entertain his son, Christopher, during his recovery from measles. Many of the stories from the first four series are based on events from Awdry's personal experience.