Released: Fall 2018 

Country: Global

Creator: Britt Allcroft  

Lead Voice Actors: Joseph May, John Hasler, Yvonne Grundy  


In Thomas & Friends Series 22 Big World! Big Adventures! (26 episodes), we see the iconic blue engine Thomas traveling farther than ever before, going on adventures around the world to discover and learn about new countries and cultures. The introduction of new characters include the first African steam engine from Kenya called Nia (developed with advice from United Nations Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women), Rebecca, a new member of the Steam Team, and other international characters from around the world, including Ashima from India, Yong Bao from China, and Shane from Australia. For the first time, the refreshed Steam Team includes three girls and three boys, and Thomas, ensuring gender equality across the show. The SDG-inspired episodes include:

  1. Number One Engine: Thomas is in China taking passenger trains with An An and Lin Yong, where he gets into trouble while racing with Hong-Mei, another blue tank engine, and the number 1 engine in China. The episode teaches SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and was created with the support of United Nations Women (UN Women).
  2. Confusion Without Delay: A new Engine named Rebecca comes to work on the North Western Railway, but gets clumsy and blocks the Flying Scotsman's platform at Vicarstown early, makes his passengers late by leaving the stations early, and blocks the engines down at Brendam Docks. The episode teaches SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and was created with the support of UN Women.
  3. What Rebecca Does: After admiring Belle's water cannons for putting out fires, Marion's steam shovel for digging holes and playing games, and Harvey's crane hook for lifting crates and putting Bill, Ben, and the Troublesome Trucks back on the tracks, Rebecca is worried that, unlike the other engines, there is nothing special about her. The episode teaches SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and was created with the support of UN Women.
  4. Thomas in the Wild: Yong Bao informs Thomas about Pandas as the national animal in China, so he looks hard for one in the bamboo forests while taking the film crew, An An and Lin Yong to the Nature Reserve. The episode teaches SDG #15 (Life on Land) and was created with the support of the UN agency dedicated to climate and biodiversity, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  5. School of Duck: When a storm destroys a classroom at Harwick School, Duck tries to find a coach to take the children in, but fails when everyone seems unable to spare a coach, with Toby using Hannah while Henrietta is away, Edward using the Slip Coaches, Emily using hers for Callan Castle, and Gordon saying no. When he finds a coach named Dexter, Duck only gets bad news that reveals that Dexter has some bad wheels. He then chooses to take Reg's advice on recycling to take Jerome and Judy to help out Dexter and be useful again. The episode teaches SDG #4 (Quality Education) and SDG #12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and was created with the support of UNEP.
  6. Tiger Trouble: When Ashima tells Thomas that tourists come to India to try to see tigers in Noor Jehan's Tiger Tours, he wants to see the tigers too. After seeing a tiger, Thomas learns from Shankar that Tiger Hunters want to kidnap the tigers, leading the two to save the tigers from some Tiger Hunters in Rajiv's passenger train. The episode teaches SDG #15 (Life on Land) and was created with the support of UNEP.
  7. Cyclone Thomas: Thomas wants to be just like Isla, a Flying Doctor's plane, who transports Dr Claire to remote places where it is hard for patients to get to hospitals or doctors for treatment, but fails to do so. When a cyclone comes in, Thomas is determined to save the day. The episode teaches SDG #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and was created with the support of the UN entity dedicated to eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as UN Women.
  8. Banjo and the Bushfire: Thomas offers a lift to a ranger named Ranger Jill while working in the Australian Rain Forest. Thomas is excited to learn from her about all the animals that live there, but he is too loud and impatient to be very useful. The episode teaches SDG #15 (Life on Land) and SDG #5 (Gender Equality) and was created with the support of UNEP.
  9. Counting on Nia: Nia is a really clever engine and knows about all sorts of things, but when the Fat Controller asks her to take Thomas' coaches, Annie and Clarabel, and pick up passengers from Knapford Station, Nia has great trouble reading numbers so Annie and Clarabel teach her. The episode teaches SDG #4 (Quality Education) and was created with the support of UN Women and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN entity dedicated to protecting the rights of children and adolescents.

CCOI's Role:

CCOI organized a series of writers' workshops that began in January 2017, during which subject matter experts from across the UN system briefed the creative team of Thomas & Friends on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a variety of priority UN issues. CCOI, in partnership with five UN agencies, then worked closely with the producers to develop nine SDG-inspired episodes in Series 22, featuring issues such as quality education, gender equality and responsible consumption. More info:  

Related UN Issues:

Sustainable Development Goals - #4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality, #6 Clean Water and Sanitation, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, #12 Responsible Production and Consumption, and #15 Life on Land

International Fund for Agricultural Development

UN Development Programme

UN Environment Programme

UN Women


News Coverage:

[The Washington Post] Hollywood's new development partner: The United Nations

[Variety] Mattel Sets Thomas The Tank Engine Makeover With Eye on Global Appeal

[The Huffington Post] Thomas & Friends™ bring gender equality to pre-schoolers