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Gullane Entertainment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gullane Entertainment PLC
  • Burginhall 126 Limited (1987)
  • The Britt Allcroft Company PLC (1987-2000)
TypeIn-credit-only unit
IndustryEntertainment, Children's Programming
Founded1987; 35 years ago (1987)[a] [1]
Defunct2002; 20 years ago (2002)[b]
FateAcquired by and folded into HIT Entertainment, Still active as IP holder for Thomas & Friends.
SuccessorHIT Entertainment
ProductsThomas & Friends
Art Attack
Fireman Sam
Guinness World Records
Captain Pugwash
Magic Adventures of Mumfie
James the Cat
DivisionsGullane Children's Books Limited
Gullane (Development) Limited
Gullane (Licensing) Limited
Gullane (Thomas) Limited
The Magic Railroad Company Limited
SubsidiariesBridgefilms (joint-venture with Sooty International)
Guinness World Records Limited
The Media Merchants
Prism Art & Design Limited (Joint-venture with S4C International)
Sooty Limited

Gullane Entertainment PLC was a British independent production company which produced children's programming, including Thomas & Friends (1984–2021), Shining Time Station (1989–1993), and The Magic Adventures of Mumfie (1994–1998). The company was purchased by HIT Entertainment in July 2002, and went defunct in the same year.[2][3]


The Britt Allcroft Company

The company produced the first seven seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends as Britt Allcroft Company, after Britt Allcroft purchased the rights to The Railway Series in 1979.

In 1994, the company announced a strategic international allance with Canadian-based company Catalyst Entertainment, who previously co-produced Shining Time Station with TBAC.[4]

In June 1997, the company announced they had purchased the rights to Captain Pugwash and would produce a new television series featuring the character.[5]

In December 1999, The Britt Allcroft Company announced they had acquired a 50% stake on Sooty from then-owner from Sooty International Limited, forming a joint-venture company called Bridgefilms (also known as Sooty Limited), which would also handle licensing rights to existing Britt Allcroft creation Mumfie.[6][7]

In March 2000, HIT Entertainment offered a $363 million bid to purchase the company,[8] alongside other interested companies.[9] In the same month, the company announced they had purchased The Media Merchants for £14 million, bringing Art Attack to their list of intellectual properties (IPs).[10]

Gullane Entertainment

In September 2000, with the negative reception and box-office disappointment of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Britt Allcroft stepped down as the company's CEO, and under new leadership, the company announced they would rebrand as Gullane Entertainment in order to expand and export their brands worldwide.[11] Britt Allcroft would however remain as a creative consultant for the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise.[12] Within the announcement of the name change came some new projects, including a new series of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, the launch of an online platform called Planet Gullane, a new series of Art Attack alongside the production of 238 episodes for the international market in a partnership with The Walt Disney Company, a second series of Sooty Heights alongside the production of direct-to-video Sooty material, two new seasons of Captain Pugwash, alongside new seasons for ZZZAP! and It's a Mystery. Gullane also announced production of a full series of Eekhart with Catalyst Entertainment.[13]

In October 2000, Gullane announced to set aside US$50 million to fund a year's worth of productions, including new Thomas-related projects and television movies, with one being a co-production with French company Teleimages for Animal Planet.

In January 2001, Gullane announced they had purchased David & Charles Children's Books for £1.1 Million, putting two new franchises: Zippy Dinosaurs and Vroom Vroom, into Gullane's properties.[14]

In March 2001, Gullane announced their profits for the last six months went up 80%. On the same day, the company announced they would produce 26 new episodes of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends for a Summer 2002 delivery, with a co-funding deal with a third-party being allowed to coincide with the series' cost at a possible range of 78 new episodes by the next three years. On the same day, Gullane confirmed that Thomas and the Magic Railroad had been sold in over thirty countries worldwide, while Catalyst Entertainment delivered the first series of Eckhart and Longhouse Tales to the company. Earlier on, Gullane announced work on a 2D/3D animated co-production with Catalyst based on the fellow David & Charles book Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs called Sammy and the Dinosaurs which the company would distribute worldwide.[15]

In July 2001, Gullane purchased Guinness World Records for £45.5 Million from their original owners Diageo, although Gullane would continue to license the Guinness brand name from Diageo.[16] By December 2001, the company planned to produce new GWR-themed programming at a young male demographic, and that the publishing division had merged with Dave & Charles Children's Books to form Gullane Publishing.[17]

On September 14, 2001, Gullane signed a distribution deal with Tell-Tale Productions for the production on two new shows, called Ella, and Sprogs.[18]

In December 2001, Gullane purchased a majority stake in Fireman Sam from S4C International for £16 Million, with both companies agreeing to produce a new season of 26 episodes and to remaster the previous 4 seasons.[19]

In February 2002, Catalyst Entertainment merged with Cambium Entertainment Corporation to form a joint-venture company called Cambium Catalyst International (CCI Entertainment), allowing Gullane to achieve economies of scale and add clarity to their operating profile, as well as adding onto their catalog with over 300 hours worth of programming. Gullane owned a 32% non-voting, 19% voting, interest in the new enlarged business.[20]

On March 8, 2002, Gullane signed a co-production, distribution and global licensing deal with Collingwood O'Hare Entertainment for the production of a new series titled Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, which had been pre-sold to CITV.[21] On March 20, the company announced 208 new episodes of Art Attack for the European and Latin American markets, alongside 78-new episodes of Thomas & Friends.[22]

In July 2002, HIT Entertainment agreed to purchase Gullane for £139million.[2] It would be unknown if CCI Entertainment would be effected by the purchase.[23]

On September 18, 2002, before HIT's purchase, Gullane's distribution deal with Tell-Tale for Ella and Sprogs fell through, with the rights reverting to Tell-Tale.[24]

After the purchase

In January 2003, Britt Allcroft announced she had resigned as a board director at HIT Entertainment in order to focus her work on her new company Britt Allcroft Productions and Peter Urie was appointed Group Head of Production to replace her.[12]

In March 2003, CCI Entertainment announced they had ended their partnership with HIT, purchasing out their shares in the company, as well as most of Gullane's catalogue. The shows CCI reacquired were put into the company's CCI Releasing subsidiary.[25][26]

In October 2007, HIT put the rights to both Mumfie and Sooty up for sale.[27] Britt Allcroft reacquired Magic Adventures of Mumfie in March 2008,[28] while Richard Cadell would purchase the Sooty franchise and brand in June 2008.[29]

In February 2008, HIT sold the Guinness World Records brand and franchise to Ripley Entertainment.[30]

As of 2020, many of Gullane's IP's still remain under the ownership of HIT Entertainment. The "Gullane (Thomas) Limited" subsidiary remains as the IP holder for the Thomas & Friends franchise.[citation needed]


Other assets


Key people

  • Britt Allcroft - Co Founder, Director, Deputy Chairman (resigned 7 September 2000)[32]
  • Angus Wright - Co Founder
  • Adam F. Mills - Director (resigned 3 September 2002)[32]
  • William S. Harris - Chief Executive, Director (resigned 3 September 2002)[32]
  • Charles J. Falzon - President, Director (resigned 3 September 2002)[32]
  • Timothy J. Hilton - Finance Director, Director (resigned 26 October 2001)[32]
  • Helen Byme - Secretary


  1. ^ a b "Gullane Entertainment Limited - Overview". Companies House. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b Cassy, John (6 July 2002). "Gullane gives in to Barney bid". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  3. ^ "GULLANE ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  4. ^ "$10M alliance".
  5. ^ "Pugwash to sail again". The Irish Times. 26 June 1997. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Sooty prepares to sweep the world". BBC News. 21 December 1999. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Britt Allcroft picks up Sooty". 1 February 2000. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  8. ^ Boehm, Erich (2 February 2000). "HIT offering $363 mil for Britt Allcroft". Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  9. ^ "All chuffed by Thomas talks". Southern Daily Echo. 30 January 2000. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  10. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (15 March 2000). "Britt Allcroft to buy Media". Variety. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  11. ^ Cassy, John (8 September 2000). "Britt Allcroft quits as Thomas flops". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  12. ^ a b Ball, Ryan (21 May 2003). "Allcroft Leaves HIT". Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Investegate |Britt Allcroft Co Announcements | Britt Allcroft Co: Preliminary Results, etc".
  14. ^ "Gullane buys David and Charles kids' arm for £1.1m". The Guardian. 29 January 2001. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Kidscreen » Archive".
  16. ^ "Gullane buys Guinness Book of Records". The Irish Times. 1 July 2001. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Gullane goes for the World Record".
  18. ^ "Two new toons from Gullane and Tell-Tale".
  19. ^ Griffiths, Katherine (19 December 2001). "Gullane to pay £1.6m for half the rights to 'Fireman Sam'". The Independent. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Catalyst and Cambium join forces".
  21. ^ "Gullane and Collingwood O'Hare Partner on New Kids' Series".
  22. ^ "More Thomas and Art Attack from Gullane".
  23. ^ "Gullane's sale leaves CCI in the balance".
  24. ^ "Tell-Tale launches Warped new animation".
  25. ^ "CCI takes Gullane titles back from Hit".
  26. ^ "CCI Gets Gullane Library Back from HIT".
  27. ^ "Hit Entertainment has put the rights to kids' TV puppet Sooty up for sale". The Guardian. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  28. ^ Bates, Jim (19 March 2008). "Children's Television Pioneer Britt Allcroft Reacquires Mumfie - "Special Little Elephant with a Great Big Heart" Returning Home". Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  29. ^ Langsworthy, Billy (14 January 2014). "Richard Cadell on saving Sooty, brand longevity and stage shows". NewBay Media. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  30. ^ Allen, Katie (14 February 2008). "Guinness world records brand sold to Ripley's for £60m". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  31. ^ "Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Gullane Entertainment Limited - Officers". Companies House. Retrieved 5 April 2021.


  1. ^ The predecessor company, Britt Allcroft Railway Limited, or Britt Allcroft Limited, was founded in 1979. This company is now known as Gullane (Thomas) Limited
  2. ^ Companieshouse still lists the company as "active" with a list of subsidiaries.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 January 2022, at 13:16
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