Thomas & Friends (originally known as Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends or simply Thomas the Tank Engine; later called Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!) is a British-American children's television series. In the United Kingdom, it had its first broadcast on the ITV network in Great Britain in 1984. In the United States, it had its first broadcast on Shining Time Station in 1989. It is based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher Awdry.