In 1988, when Britt Allcroft, the original producer of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, left the UK for the USA to bring Thomas to the US after a second season, David Mitton, the director, and Robert D. Cardona, the producer, stayed behind in the UK with their own company, Clearwater Features, along with TVS, because they wanted to produce their own series. That series became the one known as, "TUGS," the sister show to Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, premiering in 1989.

TUGS drew comparison with Thomas as it utilised the same live action model animation techniques and made use of the same composers, Mike O’Donnell and Junior Campbell. Set during the 1920s in ‘the biggest Harbour in the world’ – Bigg City Port, it focussed upon the day-to-day adventures of two rival Tugboat fleets, competing for contracts within the port and beyond throughout darker and more dramatic storylines than that seen in Thomas. TUGS ran for one full series of 13 episodes, and was very popular. There were even plans for a second season. But unfortunately, TVS went bankrupt, so the series could no longer go on.

As a result, TUGS was the last major production that Clearwater Features were involved with prior to their liquidation in the early 1990s. David stayed to work with Thomas and Friends until he retired in 2003. Robert D. Cardona, on the other hand, left Thomas and Friends and worked on Theodore Tugboat.

Well, what do you think?