"Thomas & Friends" is a British children's TV series that was originally named "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends". Based on The Railway Series of books by the Rev W Awdry and his son Christopher Awdry, the programme follows the adventures of a group of trains and road vehicles that live on the fictional Island of Sodor. The show was originally produced in 1983 using live-action model-animation at Shepperton Studios in England. About 20 years later, CGI was used to create smoke and other effects. A fully CGI series was introduced in 2009. Thomas the Tank Engine is the most popular character in the programme. He is a blue locomotive with red lining and displays the running number one. Other characters include James the Red Engine, Edward the Blue Engine, Percy the Small Engine and Emily, the only female member. Ringo Starr famously narrated the first two series, but Michael Angelis has filled the role since 1991. Such is the popularity of the programme that merchandise has appeared in many shapes and forms, from books and magazines, to duvet covers and soft drinks.