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 (later just Thomas & Friends), recognized as one of the longest-running children's TV series (with new episodes being produced until January 2021). Other notable productions were Shining Time Station and The Magic Adventures of Mumfie.
In September 2000, after the cinematic failure of Thomas and the Magic Railroad (produced under the Gullane Pictures label), Britt stepped down as the company's CEO and soon, it was reformed as Gullane Entertainment. Gullane continued the production of seasons 6 and 7 of Thomas and Friends as well as other franchises, such as Sooty, Fireman Sam, and Art Attack. The company was acquired by HIT Entertainment in 2002, but Gullane didn't close until 2003. The name is still used today in in-credit and byline variants for most Thomas & Friends media despite the company's closure.
The Britt Allcroft Company
1st Logo (October 9, 1984-December 17, 1986)
Logo: 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 "Britt Allcroft Limited 1983". 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 Beton.
- On 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 also 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.
- 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, this logo fades into the 1989 A Central Programme for ITV endboard.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show.
Availability: Extremely rare.
- It was 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.
- All 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 both "Trouble in the Shed" and "Off The Rails") of these seasons of the show have used the second logo since 1991, 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 listed the show's producers below, which then cuts to the second logo afterwards.
- This was not seen on US prints of the show.
2nd Logo (January 29, 1989-July 14, 2000, February 7, 2006-September 15, 2007)
Logo: 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” in a white Gill Sans font fades in below the name (just touching the bottom), and it shines.
- When used at the end of most of the company's shows, “A BRITT ALLCROFT PRODUCTION” replaces the previous text. Most of the time, a copyright reading "(C) Britt Allcroft (Thomas) Limited (year) appears below in a smaller italicized font that shines after the logo after the main text shines.
- On the original UK broadcasts for the third series 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 3rd variant.
- The first bunch of text (not the copyright screen) is also set over the background 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 has also been seen on Thomas Gets Bumped and 17 Other Stories and Thomas' Christmas Party and 17 More Stories with an extended copyright date copyrighting all the years the episodes first aired.
- On the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends episode "Trust Thomas", which appears 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.
- One variant replaces "PRESENTS" with "PRESENTATION". This appeared on a VCI trailer for Thomas the Tank Engine.
- On some of the later UK VHS prints of the first and second series of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, as well as early Series 3 tapes and also on the Norwegian and later Swedish dubs of the first three seasons of the aforementioned show, the copyright takes up the center of the screen, and appears bolder. The logo animation still plays in the lower right of the screen, but the "Britt" text is white and the smaller text reads " A BRITT ALLCROFT COMPANY".
- 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 doesn't shine.
- On 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 doesn't shine. The logo itself misreads "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 later tapes, the copyright info is eliminated in favor of the slogan, "ENTERTAINMENT TO GROW UP WITH" in a white font fading in below, either in Helvetica, Gill Sans, or Times New Roman. It appears on some American Season 5 tapes of Thomas and Friends and can be seen on the North American VHS tape Ten Years of Thomas which includes the copyright date and the logo's music.
- Series 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 Thomas The Tank Engine: Playtime VHS, a silent, still version is used.
- On earlier airings and VHS tapes 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 third variant. The logo's music is 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 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 colour. Copyright info is underneath the logos, which are on a teal background.
- On the 2004 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 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 is underneath.
Technique: 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: A happy-sounding flageolet/glockenspiel/synthesizer solo, which would later serve as the opening notes for the “Island Song”. Chimes are also heard sparkling when the words shine.
- The ending version from Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and the second season of Magic Adventures of Mumfie usually has the end theme of the show playing over it.
- For music videos from the show as well as some later Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends VHS releases and also 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.
- In the Greek dubbing of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, the logo's music was pitched down by 2 semitones.
Availability: Quite common.
- It can be seen on seasons 3-5 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, as well as current prints and home media releases of the first two seasons. The "Classic Collection" releases of the show also use this logo.
- 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 have 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 with the third one at the beginning of episodes, but is retained at the end of episodes. Also can be found on all VHS releases of Shining Time Station and Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie.
- Strangely, this makes a surprise appearance on the Thomas & Friends DVDs Thomas and the Really Brave Engines, On Site with Thomas, and Thomas' Trusty Friends, most likely an editing mistake made by HIT Entertainment.
- It also appears on a 2002 Marks and Spencer UK VHS re-release of Thomas & Friends: Thomas Goes Fishing and Other Stories as well.
Legacy: A very well-known logo among fans of Thomas & Friends.
1st Logo (July 14, 2000)
Logo: Fading in over waves passing by the camera, a reflection of a seagull is seen flying about. The camera moves upwards to reveal a sunset, and the gull is seen in full. It starts to veer to the right, then starts to flap its wings while being doused among a white light. Then the gull turns into a metallic teal silhouette and a yellow arc draws in to finish the logo. While that happens, several lights appear and morph into the silver letters "GULLANE PICTURES" and then shines before cutting to black.
Technique: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: Just sounds of the waves, the seagull squawking and flapping, and metallic screeching. Chimes can also be heard at the end.
Availability: Only appears on Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
2nd Logo (2000-2003)
Logo: We start off zooming in towards the horizon over a body of blue water, with the horizon having fluffy clouds and the sun in the distance. A white gull flies over the ocean as the camera turns towards the spot, and when it touches the water with the tip of its wing, it creates a ripple and flies off. The screen rotates upwards to reveal that the ripple is a wide white "G", and with it clearing up, it gets placed in a teal box as well as "GULLANE" in a similar font to the "G" below, albeit at a normal width. The gull then flies over the logo and flashes, turning silver as the background flourishes to a white-aquamarine gradient. An underline and "ENTERTAINMENT" in a different font also appear below.
- On Eckhart, the completed logo shines with a reversed cymbal crash.
- On the voiceover variant, once the logo finishes animating, it fades to black and the white URL "www.planetgullane.com" fades in.
- On Thomas & Friends™ - Thomas' Trackside Tunes, the text "Please Visit Our Web Site at" and the URL at the time below fades in. It then fades out to the copyright disclaimer that reads "© Gullane (Thomas) Limited 1998". This is only seen on the original VHS release; later DVD releases have it plastered with the 2006 HIT Entertainment logo.
Technique: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: A shortened version of the 1st logo's sounds.
Music/Sounds Variant: On at least three Sooty's Magic VHS tapes, there is a male voiceover announcing: "Gullane Entertainment - Entertaining Families Worldwide!"
- Appears on all Thomas and Friends VHS tapes and DVDs from the time, immediately following the Anchor Bay Entertainment logo on US VHS releases, the Grace & Wild Interactive Development logo on US DVD releases, or the 1995 VCI logo on UK releases.
- It also appeared on an extremely rare Japanese Thomas VHS called A Wonderful American Journey with Thomas and Connie.
- Outside Thomas the Tank Engine, this logo appeared on the Art Attack VHS tape Monsters and Other Scary Stuff, UK airings of Eckhart, and three Sooty direct-to-video programmes, titled Sooty's Magic Show, Sooty's Magic Club and the extremely rare Sooty's Magic Birthday Party.
- Even though Gullane was involved with those two shows, this logo does not appear on either Sooty Heights or Sooty 2001, which instead use the Sooty Limited and Granada logos.
- This logo also appears on a 2002 Marks and Spencer UK VHS re-release of Thomas & Friends: Thomas Goes Fishing and Other Stories from VCI as well.
3rd Logo (September 16-October 21, 2002)
Logo: On an aquamarine background, "A BRITT ALLCROFT COMPANY PRODUCTION" in Copperplate Gothic zooms out until it reaches a comfortable distance, then the Britt Allcroft logo in gold quickly writes itself. Underneath, "for" in a generic sans serif font quickly fades in, before the Gullane Entertainment print logo in white zooms in, which bounces for a few seconds. Then, a copyright disclaimer "© Gullane (Thomas) Limited 2002" in a serif font fades in.
Variant: On early prints of Thomas & Friends season 6, the Gullane Entertainment logo just fades in.
Technique: 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: Usually the ending theme of the show, but on Thomas & Friends: Building the New Line for PC, the sounds of an engine puffing, three distorted dings, and various steam whistles are heard.
Availability: Very rare.
- The regular variant appears on early prints of Season 6 of Thomas & Friends and early Thomas DVDs like The Fogman and Other Stories; the variant appears on the Thomas PC game Building the New Line.
- More recent DVD prints of Thomas & Friends Season 6 plaster this over with the 2000 HIT Entertainment logo.