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Michael Angelis dead aged 68: Long-term narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine series passes away


Michael Angelis dead aged 68: Thomas the Tank Engine narrator and Liver Birds star passes away at his home

  • The actor, who hailed from Liverpool, narrated the classic children’s show from 1991 to 2012 after taking over the role from The Beatles icon Ringo Starr
  • Michael was the longest serving narrator for the series, working on the show from its third to its 16th series for the UK
  • He trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and also starred in comedies such as The Liver Birds and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet 
  • Michael was married to Corrie star Helen Worth from 1991 until their divorce in 2001, and went on to wed Welsh model Jennifer Khalastchi later that year

Michael Angelis, the longtime narrator for Thomas the Tank Engine series Thomas & Friends, died at his home aged 68 on Saturday, his agents confirmed.

The actor, who hailed from Liverpool, narrated the classic children’s show from 1991 to 2012 after taking over the role from The Beatles icon Ringo Starr.

Michael was the longest serving narrator for the series, working on the show from its third to its 16th series for the UK, and also headed six American episodes, the first six The Railway Stories CDs and other commercials.  

Tragic: Michael Angelis, long-term narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine series Thomas & Friends, has died aged 68 at his home on Saturday (pictured in 2009)

Tragic: Michael Angelis, long-term narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine series Thomas & Friends, has died aged 68 at his home on Saturday (pictured in 2009)

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Classic: Michael was the longest serving narrator for the series, working on the show from its third to its 16th series for the UK from 1991 to 2012

Classic: Michael was the longest serving narrator for the series, working on the show from its third to its 16th series for the UK from 1991 to 2012

While Michael’s voice became synonymous with the UK edition of the show, the US version saw actors like Alec Baldwin narrate instead. 

Before Michael’s time Thomas the Tank Engine was famously voiced by Beatles drummer Ringo Starr from 1984 to 1986. 

Michael trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland, and starred in a number of comedies following his graduation, including The Liver Birds which he appeared in from 1975-1978 and Luv from 1993 to 1994. 

Michael acted in 1979 adventure film A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and the 1985 comedy No Surrender about chaos erupting in a Liverpool pub. 

He also portrayed the villain Mickey Startup in the television adaptation of comedy-drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet in its third season.

Michael’s voice-over work included more than the beloved Thomas the Tank Engine. 

He narrated Jordan Peel’s autobiography for BBC Radio 4 in 2005 which he joined again in 2011 for The Reunion to chat with other cast members from Boys from the Blackstuff. 

Boys from the Blackstuff was a social commentary drama about life in the UK during the recession during Thatcher’s prime ministership. 

Michael made a big impression in Alan Bleasdale’s classic as the character Chrissie Todd the husband of Angie, a role that helped establish Julie Walters’ career.    

Michael was married to Coronation Street star Helen Worth from 1991 until their divorce in 2001, and went on to wed Welsh model Jennifer Khalastchi later that year.

Other roles: Michael as the character Lucien in the comedy show The Liver Birds. Michael played Lucien from 1975 to 1978

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Other roles: Michael as the character Lucien in the comedy show The Liver Birds. Michael played Lucien from 1975 to 1978

Boys from the Blackstuff: Michael as the character Chrissie Todd with wife Angie played by Julie Walters

Boys from the Blackstuff: Michael as the character Chrissie Todd with wife Angie played by Julie Walters

Former flame: Michael was married to Coronation Street star Helen Worth (pictured) from 1991 until their divorce in 2001, and went on to wed Welsh model Jennifer Khalastchi later that year

Former flame: Michael was married to Coronation Street star Helen Worth (pictured) from 1991 until their divorce in 2001, and went on to wed Welsh model Jennifer Khalastchi later that year

Fans of the classic children’s show were left devastated by the news, and took to Twitter to lament his loss.

On fan wrote in a touching tribute: ‘It breaks my heart to hear that the legendary Michael Angelis has passed away. 

‘However his legacy will live on within the hearts of many Thomas fans. He shaped so many peoples childhoods and gave people so many laughs. Godspeed Michael. Rest In Peace.’ 

Tributes: Fans of the classic children's show were left devastated by the news, and took to Twitter to lament his loss

Tributes: Fans of the classic children’s show were left devastated by the news, and took to Twitter to lament his loss

While another said: ‘I’m stunned. #MichaelAngelis WAS Thomas for me as I was growing up – a charismatic actor with a fantastic voice. 

‘excellent turns on Minder and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet as well. thank you for everything Michael, and sleep well [sic]’

And one viewer wrote: ‘Oh Michael… I am devastated to hear of your passing. You gave me so many priceless memories of Thomas and his friends. Thank you for everything…’

RIP: Michael trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland, and starred in a number of comedies including The Liver Birds and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

RIP: Michael trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland, and starred in a number of comedies including The Liver Birds and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

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