|For other uses, see Chuggington (disambiguation).|
Chuggington is a television series that originally aired on BBC. The series has been aired in over 178 countries spanning 27 languages,  and has spawned six seasons, two mini-series, five double length episodes, two twenty minute specials and an incredibly successful brand.
Chuggington follows a fictional city and the trains who work there - specifically trainees Wilson, Brewster and Koko. In each episode, one of the characters overcomes an obstacle or challenge with the help of their friends, ranging from work on the rails or issues between friends. The series features a variety of fun locations and characters of various ages, such as the bustling Depot (where the Trainees and their friends begin their day), an ice cream factory run by the Great Frostini (a master ice cream chugger), a safari park with lots of animals (overseen by the globe-trotted Mtambo), a hard at work yet peaceful docks (overseen by the on-the clock Skipper Stu), and many others. The rails of Chuggington are overseen by Vee, who keeps the chuggers on task and can sometimes help the trainees to solve problems, along with various human characters. All of Chuggington is welcoming and colorful in its own way and filled with characters that you can see a little in everyone.
The genesis of Chuggington was the brainchild of Dick Rothkopf, former CEO of Learning Curve. Following the sale of LCI in 2003 to RC2, Dick sought to create a "better, more updated version of Thomas the Tank Engine", as he felt the characters were "too mean, and terribly gender-biased. The values that are there are very old-fashioned and very little of what's thought of as modern teamwork." Teaming up with Rob Lawes, former CEO and COO of HIT Entertainment, the two founded Ludorum PLC and began to put the plan for the concept into motion. "We decided we would try to develop this different version of a train property," he said. "It took us about two years to come up with the basic bible for the stories," which was developed by both veterans of preschool television and child development experts from Yale.
The series itself was created by former Bob the Builder head writer Sarah Ball, and after a two-minute pilot was produced, the show was picked up by BBC for its Cbeebies channel, and greenlit for an initial run of 52 episodes, with the first episode "Can't Catch Koko" airing on BBC2 on the 29th of September, 2008. The show proved to be incredibly successful, rivaling big names such as Thomas & Friends among others as the series slowly launched globally, with Disney picking up the series for its Playhouse Disney block and channel and including it as one of the inaugural shows of its Disney Junior channel. The success of the first season lead to a 26-episode second season beginning production in 2009, and a third season pickup in 2010. The pickup also saw three DVD specials greenlit to begin premiering in 2013.
Unfortunately, as Season 3 went into production, several investors pulled out from the series and merchandise, while successful, didn't reach the level hoped until 2011. The lower funds resulted in the third season going from twenty-six episodes (with plans for more ambitious animation and effects, along with eight new characters) to be reduced to fourteen episodes (with three new characters ultimately introduced).
In 2013, Ludorum launched a new look for the show in its fourth season with a new story structure, characters, and locations that were hoped to be more profitable in terms of merchandise sales and appealing to an older audience. Unfortunately, the relaunch was not as successful as many would have hoped, and Season 5 would have to be reduced to only ten episodes, and completely funded by TOMY, the master toy license at the time.
During this period, little new content would be released due to a lack of sufficient funding and investment. Beginning in 2016, another relaunch would be made in the form of a revised style guide (featuring a more simplistic appraoch) and the Chuggington: Little Trainees mini-series, in an attempt to change the age range of the show to ages 2-4. The series consisted of previously released episodes edited into a “bite sized” format, and new narration by James Goode to help the audience understand the stories. The series was developed alongside the new master toy license, Jazwares; however, the new toy line failed to meet expectations, and the two companies’ agreement was terminated in August 2018.
In December 2018, after many some tries at finding a new owner, Ludorum Enterprises Ltd. (which oversaw the series itself under the PLC) was purchased by Herschend Entertainment Studios. Their current plans for Chuggington are a new short form and long form format, including Season 6 (46 x 10 + 2 half hour specials) and Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! (26 x 1.5), new licenses, beginning with toys from Alpha Group, integration into live events through Herschend Live and potential rides and “worlds” within the company’s Family Entertainment brand parks and experiences. Herschend began its global relaunch in the US with Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! premiering on April 13th, 2020 and Season 6 following suit on June 29th of the same year. The UK and Europe launch for the new series began January 2021, with a wide variety of new merchandising licenses due to begin in the coming months and the new toy line from Alpha Group set for release in Autumn.
- Season 1 (2008-2009 in the UK; 2009-2010 in the US)
- Season 2 (2010 in the UK; 2011 in the US)
- Season 3 (2011 in the UK; 2012 in the US)
- Season 4 (2013-2014)
- Season 5 (2015)
- Season 6 (2020-2021 in the US; 2021 in the UK)
- Season 7 (TBA, possibly 2022)
- Chuggington: Badge Quest (2010-2012)
- Chuggington: Little Trainees (2016 in the UK; 2017 in the US)
- Discover Chuggington: All Aboard! (2020 in the US; 2021 in the UK)
- Chuggington: Train Tracks (2021)
Around the World
Main article: Other Languages
- Albania: Çagington
- China: 恰恰特快车 (Qiàqià tè kuàichē)
- Croatia: Vlakićgrad
- Czech Republic: Chuggington – Veselé vláčky
- France: Chuggington : en avant les locos
- Germany: Chuggington - Die Loks sind los!
- Greece: Τσαφ Τσούφ τα Μικρά Τρενάκια (Tsaf Tsoúf ta Mikrá Trenákia)
- Hungary: Chuggington pályaudvar
- Iceland: Skellibær
- Israel: עיר הקטרים (City of Locomotives)
- Japan: チャギントン
- Middle East: مدينة القطارات
- Norway: Tøfferud
- Poland: Stacyjkowo
- Russia: Чаггингтон: Веселые паровозики
- Serbia: Čagington
- South Korea: 칙칙폭폭 처깅턴
- Taiwan: 恰恰特快車 (Qiàqià tèkuài chē)
- Thailand: ชักกิงตัน (Chạk king tạn)
- Turkey: Çufçuflar Diyarı
- Ukraine: Чаґінґтон
- Nominated - Best Animated Television Production - Preschool, 2012
- Nominated - Best General Audience Animation Television Production for Preschool Children - for episode "Magnetic Wilson", 2013