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Hilary Mary Allcroft
14 December 1943
|Residence||Ventura County, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||Television producer, writer, director, voice actress|
|Known for||Thomas & Friends (1984–1998)|
|Thomas & Friends (1984–1998)|
Magic Adventures of Mumfie (1994–1998)
(m. 1973; div. 1997)
Britt Allcroft (born Hilary Mary Allcroft, 14 December 1943) is an English film, television and live theater producer, writer, director and voice actress. She is the creator of the children's television series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (later re-titled Thomas & Friends), Shining Time Station (with Rick Siggelkow) and Magic Adventures of Mumfie. She wrote, co-produced and directed the film Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000).
She was born Hilary Mary Allcroft in Worthing, England. At the age of 16, she changed her first name to Britt as her career in British radio and television gained momentum. She went on to create a succession of programmes for the BBC and ITV during the 1970s and 1980s, including Moon Clue Game, Dance Crazy and Keepsakes. Mothers By Daughters, produced for Channel Four, was broadcast by PBS in the United States. She also worked in theatre, staging shows at the London Palladium and Drury Lane Theatres.
In 1979, while making a documentary about British steam trains, Allcroft met the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, author of The Railway Series of children's books. She said, "It really didn't take me long to become intrigued by the characters, the relationships between them and the nostalgia they invoked." She told him that she wanted to bring these stories to life and made an arrangement to secure certain rights through the then publishers Kaye & Ward.
In 1980, she co-founded Britt Allcroft Railway Productions (internationally known as The Britt Allcroft Company) with her husband, television producer Angus Wright. It took Allcroft four years to raise the funding for, and create, a first series of twenty-six episodes in collaboration with director David Mitton. The first two episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, shot on 35 mm film with narration by Ringo Starr in the U.K./U.S. and music by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell, were aired together for the first time on British television on 9 October 1984.
The series's success in the U K., and the merchandising campaign that Allcroft had been organising since 1983, soon led to further success in other parts of the world. In 1989, she and American producer Rick Siggelkow created Shining Time Station, a live-action children's sitcom fronted by the magical character of the miniature Mr. Conductor, who introduced two Thomas stories in each half-hour programme. Shining Time Station won a number of awards and significantly increased the popularity of the Thomas media franchise in the United States. Shining Time Station lasted until 1995.
Allcroft followed Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Shining Time Station with the cartoon-animated Magic Adventures of Mumfie in collaboration with director John Collins. Inspired by the books by Katharine Tozer, this production received critical acclaim and was seen in many parts of the world. In 2008, several years after she left her original company, Allcroft bought back the Mumfie library.
|1994-1998||Magic Adventures of Mumfie||The Queen of Night||Voice|
|1995||The Thomas the Tank Engine Man||Herself||Documentary|
|1996||Mumfie's Quest: The Movie||The Queen of Night||Voice|
|2000||Thomas and the Magic Railroad||Lady||Voice|