Jack and the Sodor Construction Company (miscellaneous lost media of spinoff series; existence unconfirmed; 2002)
|The series title card.|
Jack and the Sodor Construction Company (more commonly referred to as Jack and the Pack) was a short lived spinoff of the popular British children's TV show Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends ( known as Thomas and Friends at the time) that starred the characters of the pack, introduced in the Thomas and Friends season 6 episodes Jack Jumps In and A Friend In Need. The show was filmed in 2002, but remained unreleased until 4 years later, when Hit Entertainment released the show on various British and American DVDs. However, only 13 of the shows 26 planned episodes were completed before the series was cancelled by Hit Entertainment, who bought the rights to the Thomas brand while production was underway, as they considered it an inferior ripoff of Bob the Builder, a show they had previously created. This cancellation led to a large amount of possible lost media which has never been released, if it ever existed.
Possible earlier incarnation
According to a article published in the guardian, the series's roots could go back even further than the inception of the pack characters themselves. The article, published March 21st 2001 (more than a year before Jack Jumps In, the packs introductory episode, first aired in the UK) talks about a Thomas and Friends spinoff starring road vehicles similar to that of Jack and the pack, but starring existing Thomas characters such as Bertie the bus and Harold the helicopter, instead of completely new characters. It is unknown if this concept got any further than the planning stages, and this article is the only evidence of its existence.
The series was planned to have 26 episodes, similar to that of a typical Thomas season, but only 13 were completed before Hit axed the series. The list of cancelled episodes is as follows:
- No Dozer is an Island
- Friendship Story
- Safety First
- Treasure Hunt
- Snow Rescue
- Bossy Byron
- The Importance of Being Patrick
- Pop Goes the Diesel
- Jack and the Quack
- Alfie Has a Secret
- Isobella Gets Steamed
- Jack and Alfie Swap
- Kelly's heroes
It's unknown if production had actually begun on these episodes before they were cancelled, and the only details we have about these episodes are their plot synopses,which certain episodes are still missing. The only production details for these episodes are the writers for 7 of the episodes, With Paul Larson being the writer for Pop Goes the Diesel and Bossy Byron, Paul Dawson being the writer for Snow Rescue, Robin Rigby being the writer for Treasure Hunt and Safety First, Will Ing being the writer for Friendship Story, and Brian Trueman being the writer for No Dozer is an Island. Interestingly, based on some of the cancelled episodes plot synopses, it seems as though certain Thomas and Friends episodes were based on these cancelled episodes, such as Pop Goes the Diesel (not to be confused with the season 2 Thomas episode of the same name) being reworked into the season 8 Thomas episode Thomas to the Rescue, and Jack and Alfie Swap being reworked into the season 17 Thomas episode The Switch.
Along with the scrapped episodes and possible earlier variation, the show also had two dropped characters. One of these was the existing character George the steamroller who had previously appeared in the season 4 Thomas episode Steam Roller, and the season 5 episodes Lady Hatt's Birthday Party and Bye George!. A large scale model had been built for George, but this model was later repainted to make the new character Buster the steamroller, likely due to how strange it would have been to have a character who had previously been portrayed as a villain be one of the main characters in this spinoff show. No photos of the model when it had George's livery have ever resurfaced, if any ever existed at all. The second dropped character was a completely new one named Nigel, who was a lorry painted cream and white with the number 21 on his side. Nigel was reportedly dropped due to none of the episodes scripts had him involved in any way, and the only evidence of his existence is a piece on concept art. No conformation as to whether or not a model for Nigel exist has resurfaced, and if one does, no photos have resurfaced to prove it. There is still a chance all of this media could still get released, if any of it exists, due to the rising popularity of the pack characters, after Jack made his return to Thomas and Friends in the straight to DVD movie King of the Railway, Alfie and Oliver's return in the straight to DVD movie Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, and Max and Monty's return in season 20.
- Page talking about the possible earlier incarnation Retrieved 21 Mar '01
- Page talking about the cancelled episodes and George's removal Retrieved 05 Nov '07