The Britt Allcroft Company

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

The Britt Allcroft Company (known initially in the UK as "Britt Allcroft Railway Productions") was a British production and licensing company established in 1983 by Britt Allcroft and Angus Wright. They immediately bought the rights to The Railway Series of children's books and in 1984, created Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, recognized as one of the longest-running children's series (with new episodes being produced until January 2021). Other notable productions were Shining Time Station and The Magic Adventures of Mumfie.

Allcroft formed a subsidiary, Gullane Pictures, in late 1997; ultimately, Gullane Pictures only produced Thomas and the Magic Railroad, which was a cinematic failure. In September 2000, as a result of Thomas and the Magic Railroad's failure, Allcroft stepped down as the company's CEO and soon, it was reformed as Gullane Entertainment.



1st Logo (9 October 1984-17 December 1986)

Visuals: On a blue background, the original logo for Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends is seen. The logo consists of a picture of Thomas with a puff of smoke that displays the show's name (which appears to be chroma-keyed onto the logo), in front of an oval that resembles a railway number plate. On the oval is the text " (C) Britt Allcroft Limited 1984". Above the symbol is the text "for Britt Allcroft Ltd" (this logo was always preceded by the Clearwater Features logo, so that the complete text reads "A Clearwater Features Production for Britt Allcroft Ltd") in a yellow Bevan font (the same used for the original end credits).

Variants:

  • In season 2 of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends:
    • A copyright notice now appears on the bottom half of the screen reading "(C) Britt Allcroft Limited 1986" with the Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends logo shifted up a bit.
    • The text above the logo is also smaller and now reads "For Britt Allcroft Limited" instead of "for Britt Allcroft Ltd".
    • The show name is also now a part of the logo, evident by the lack of a thick black outline.
    • Thomas' face is also changed from dark grey to white.
    • The text in the oval is also changed to "(C) Britt Allcroft Limited 1983".
  • On the original ITV broadcasts of the first two seasons of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends in 1984 and 1986, respectively, this logo fades into the 1983 Central logo of the time.
  • On the 1991 reruns of season 2 of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends on Children's ITV, this logo fades into the 1990 A Central Programme for ITV endcap.

Technique: A still graphic consisting of an illustration and chroma-keyed text.

Audio: The ending theme of the show.

Availability: Seen on the original prints of the first two seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.

  • It was originally seen alongside the Clearwater Features logo on TV broadcasts of the first two seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends during the 1980s, and can also be found on Guild Home Video, Screen Legends, ABC Video, Pickwick Video, CEL Video and early Video Collection VHS releases of the show.
    • However, this logo is omitted on all post-1991 prints of the show on both VHS and DVD releases (with the exception of both the Australian VHS and DVD releases of Truck Loads of Fun released in that country in 2001 and 2005, respectively, where it is kept intact on two episodes of both "Trouble in the Shed" and "Off The Rails") of these two seasons of the show, with early re-releases and both the Norwegian and later Swedish dubs of this show replacing both the Clearwater Features logo and this logo with a shot of Thomas from the episode "Saved From Scrap" instead, which lists the show's producers below in either the Helvetica or Rockwell font, followed by the second logo.
  • The final UK VHS release to feature this logo was The Best of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends released by Pickwick Video in 1991.
  • U.S. prints of the show also omit both the Clearwater Features logo and this logo.

2nd Logo (6 May 1991-14 July 2000)

Visuals:

  • Opening: On a periwinkle gradient background, a light apricot-piggy pink gradient line forms the word "Britt" in a cursive font. The text "BRITT ALLCROFT PRESENTS" fades in below the name (just touching the bottom), and it shines.
  • Closing #1: On some shows, the copyright notice takes up the center of the screen, and appears bolder. The logo animation plays in the lower right of the screen, with the smaller text reading "A BRITT ALLCROFT COMPANY". The color of "Britt" is either the regular light apricot-piggy pink or white.
  • Closing #2: Starting in 1994, the opening logo is used, but "A BRITT ALLCROFT PRODUCTION" replaces the previous text. Most of the time, a copyright notice reading "© Britt Allcroft (Thomas) Limited (year) appears below in a smaller italicized font that shines after the logo after the main text shines.

Variants:

  • On the original UK broadcasts for the third season of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (1991-1992), the notice "A Britt Allcroft production in association with Fuji Television Network, Inc." is shown on the logo's regular background, written in the then-corporate Thomas & Friends typeface (Rockwell Condensed Bold). After this message is displayed, it cuts to the first closing variant. Also, for the first 16 episodes from "A Scarf for Percy" to "Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party", the notice is in white, whilst for the final ten episodes from "Buzz, Buzz" to "Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure", the notice is in yellow.
    • On the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends episode "Trust Thomas", which can be found on the 1994 UK VHS release Children's Pre-School Special Collection, the copyright notice appears at the bottom of the screen underneath the "A Britt Allcroft production in association with Fuji Television Network, Inc." notice.
    • The first bunch of text (not the copyright screen) is also set over the still of the final shot of the first 16 episodes from "A Scarf for Percy" to "Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party" which uses Michael Angelis' early UK narrations.
    • This variant is also preserved on both Thomas Gets Bumped and 17 Other Stories and Thomas' Christmas Party and 17 Other Stories, respectively, with an extended copyright date copyrighting all the years the episodes first aired.
  • One variant replaces "PRODUCTION" with "PRESENTATION". This can be found on the VCI trailer for Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • On Rusty to the Rescue, Thomas and the Special Letter, Thomas and his Friends Help Out, Gallant Old Engine, Sing-Along and Stories and Thomas Meets the Queen, the copyright is extended to feature both "Films" and "Soundtracks" underlined. Under "Films" is a copyright for 1986 and 1995, while "Soundtracks" are credited for 1991 and 1995, as well as for Shining Time Station. The text is also non-italicized and does not shine.
  • On the 1996 reprints of Percy's Ghostly Trick, the copyright text reads "A Britt Allcroft Production in association with Fuji Television Network Inc." and has an extended copyright to feature both films and soundtracks. Under "Films" is a copyright for 1986 and 1995, while "Soundtracks" are credited for 1991 and 1995, as well as for Shining Time Station. Like the fourth variant, the text is also non-italicized and does not shine. The logo itself also uses "Britt Allcroft Presents" instead of "A Britt Allcroft Production".
  • On Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends: Your Favourite Story Collection, the logo is silent, and the copyright is smaller, in capitals, and also includes a "Music Composed By" credit. It fades in after the logo is finished.
  • On the 2000 UK VHS release of Sing Along with Thomas, the copyright date on the bottom of the logo appears through the copyright spreading into place one-by-one.
  • On some U.S. Season 5 VHS releases of Thomas and Friends, the copyright info is eliminated in favor of the slogan, "ENTERTAINMENT TO GROW UP WITH" in a white font fading in below, sometimes either in Helvetica, Gill Sans, or Times New Roman. It is preserved on the 1999 U.S. VHS release of Ten Years of Thomas which includes the copyright date and the logo's music.
  • Season 6 episodes also may sometimes have the copyright fades out to the text "Please Visit Our Web Site at" and the URL at the time below. It then fades out to the slogan.
  • On Thomas' Train and 17 Other Stories, the copyright date is in a different font, is larger, is static throughout the logo, and also does not shine.
  • On the VHS release of Thomas The Tank Engine: Playtime, a silent, still version is used.
  • On earlier airings and VHS releases of Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie, the logo is on a black background, with a copyright date displaying the company name "Quality Family Entertainment Ltd". The Britt Allcroft logo animates in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, similar to how it plays in the first closing variant. The logo's music is also intact.
  • On Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie, the copyright is altered to have in all capitals, "(Thomas)" is replaced with "(MUMFIE)", and the year is in Roman numerals. The film has it fade out early, while the show has it sped-up.
  • On The New Adventures of Captain Pugwash, the logo is accompanied by the logo of John Cary Films (the co-producer of said show). The John Cary Films logo is sandwiched between "A" and "Production for", with the Britt Allcroft logo beneath. The text under "Britt" reads "THE BRITT ALLCROFT COMPANY", and "Britt" is a golden-yellow color. Copyright info is underneath the logos, which are on a teal background.
    • On Series 2, the logo appears on a darker blue background. On at least one DVD print of the series, the logo is plastered over with an in-credit notice for Gullane Entertainment and HIT Entertainment.
  • On the 2003 restored versions of the first five seasons of Thomas & Friends, the logo is placed on an embossed white box on a white background. "Britt" is also much smaller and placed behind "BRITT ALLCROFT" in the caption, which now reads "A BRITT ALLCROFT COMPANY PRODUCTION" in blue. The 2000 HIT Entertainment logo is beneath, with "for" inbetween the two logos. As usual, copyright info appears below, reading "(C) 1984-2003 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. All rights reserved."

Technique: 2D computer animation.

Audio: A happy-sounding flageolet/glockenspiel/synthesizer solo. Chimes are also heard sparkling when the words shine.

Audio Variants:

  • Both the ending version from Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and the second season of Magic Adventures of Mumfie usually have the ending theme of the show playing over it; sometimes, the last second of the end theme is played, followed by silence.
  • For music videos from the show as well as some later Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends VHS releases as well as the 1991 UK VHS release of The Best of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends by Pickwick Video, the logo is silent.
    • However, the later UK VHS release of the latter features the fanfare.
  • On the Greek dubbing prints of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, the logo's music is pitched down by two semitones. This can also be heard during the end credits of the Greek dub, due to it using the show's opening theme for the end credits as well.

Availability: Officially, it was seen on the company's programmes from the time-period until 2000, but also made surprise appearances on three U.S. Thomas & Friends DVD releases.

  • This logo made its debut on the 1991 UK VHS release of The Best of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends by Pickwick Video.
    • The three main variants are preserved on seasons 3-5 of the show, as well as current prints and home media releases of the first two series. The second closing variant became the main one starting in 1994.
    • The "Classic Collection" releases of the show also use this logo as well.
  • It also showed up on Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales on PBS, as well as Fox Family episodes of Mister Moose's Fun Time (during the Thomas segments), Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie and Storytime with Thomas.
  • Seasons 1-5 episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends on PBS Kids Sprout (now Universal Kids) also kept this as well.
  • The Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and DVD prints of Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie (excluding the 2012 release of Mumfie's Quest, which uses a still of the Britt Allcroft Productions logo on a black background without the bird), plaster this logo at the beginning of episodes, but is still retained at the end of episodes.
    • It can also be found on all VHS releases of Shining Time Station and Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie.
  • Strangely, this logo also makes a surprise appearance on the Thomas & Friends DVD releases of Thomas and the Really Brave Engines, On Site with Thomas, and Thomas' Trusty Friends, most likely an editing mistake made by HIT Entertainment.
  • It is also intact on the 2002 Marks and Spencer UK VHS re-release of Thomas & Friends: Thomas Goes Fishing and Other Stories from VCI as well, due to it not being a direct reprint of The Video Collection's 1988 re-release version of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends: Troublesome Trucks and Other Stories.
  • The first closing variant is preserved on both early Season 3 VHS releases and on the post-1991 prints of the first and second seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and also on the Norwegian and later Swedish dubs of the first three seasons of the aforementioned show as well.

Legacy: A very well-known logo among fans of Thomas & Friends.

The Britt Allcroft Company
Gullane Entertainment