Thomas & Friends (previously known as Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Thomas & Friends) is the name of the television series based on the Railway Series by the Reverend W. Awdry. It was adapted for television by Britt Allcroft using the original stories from the Railway Series before using original stories written by independent writers. The series has been broadcast in over 185 territories and has spawned twenty-two television seasons (with a twenty-third confirmed), a theatrical film, and fourteen direct-to-DVD specials.
The series is currently produced by Mattel Creations taking over HiT Entertainment, who filmed the series since its acquisition of Gullane Entertainment in 2002.
In April 2008, it was announced that filming of the series would transfer to Nitrogen Studios in Canada and that it would be CG animated. CGI was first used during the twelfth season for the faces of the engines, people and animals, although characters in background shots would still have the traditional clay faces. The first CG production, Hero of the Rails was released in Autumn 2009. Since then, the series has been CG animated. In February 2012, it was announced that Arc Productions would take over animation duties starting with the seventeenth season in 2013. In August 2016, Arc Productions closed down after filing for bankruptcy. Jam Filled Entertainment, however, entered into an agreement, looking at acquiring the entirety of Arc. On 22nd August 2016, it was confirmed that Jam Filled Entertainment had successfully acquired Arc Productions and thus taken over the animation for Thomas & Friends.