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A BIT ABOUT SERIES 3

Series 3 was where the biggest changes started to set in.  By now, Thomas had been launched in America through Shining Time Station, and predictably done very well.  But at this point in 1991, two major figures were missing from the group.  Clearwater Features had disbanded in 1990, and Robert D. Cardona had immigrated to Canada following the completion of TUGS.  David Mitton took up a salaried role with Britt Allcroft, and continued on with directing and producing Thomas.  Britt replaced Robert Cardona as Co-Producer, while husband, Angus Wright, stepped into her role as Executive Producer. 

 

The other key figure who had stepped down was classic Storyteller, Ringo Starr, who had chosen to focus upon touring with his All-Star Band.  The result was to split the two sides of the Atlantic down the middle in terms of narration.  The British Storyteller, was to be Michael Angelis, a Liverpudlian like his predecessor, but by no means as well known, despite having appeared in numerous UK TV programmes, such as the Liverbirds and being married (in 1991) to Coronation Street stalwart, Helen Worth.  Taking Ringo's place in Shining Time Station, was to be popular American comedian - George Carlin, who would also re-narrate several Series 1 and 2 episodes  for Shining Time Station, and other VHS releases in the US and Canada.

 

Another change was to be the development of the series itself.  For the first two series an agreement had been in place which dictated that all material filmed for broadcast had to have appeared in print form first, and while Britt and David had developed storylines for Thomas’s Christmas Party and Thomas & Trevor – both stories were written by Rev. W. Awdry and Christopher before they were broadcast.  Series 3 saw the first 13 episodes written by Britt and David aired alongside existing Awdry material, some of which had been altered for story development.  The Rev. Awdry was not impressed by this change, and it caused things to cool with the Awdry family enormously.

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3.1 - A SCARF FOR PERCY

During a bitter winter’s day, Percy sees workmen wearing scarves and longs to have one of his own. He gets his wish quite unexpectedly when he crashes into a baggage trolley and ends up with a pair of trousers (the Fat Controller’s!) coiled around his funnel, as well as numerous other items – including sticky jam!  After a scolding from the Fat Controller, Percy returns home to be cleaned, and realises he has firelighters to keep warm, not scarves of any kind!

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3.2 PERCY'S PROMISE

Thomas brings the Vicar’s Sunday School for a day at the beach, and asks Percy to take them home later on.  Percy promises, but later on a heavy storm rages across the island.  A section of the Branch Line floods and Percy is left stranded up to his cab in water!  The Driver, Fireman and Guard do all they can to keep the fire going - even ripping up the floorboards in the brake van!  And eventually, Harold flies overhead and drops a parachute containing hot drinks for the crew and passengers. With a new fire and a refreshed crew, Percy fights his way through the flood and arrives at the station to triumphant cheers. The Fat Controller congratulates Percy too, and comments that despite other things, Harold admits he could never beat Percy at being a submarine.

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3.3 TIME FOR TROUBLE

The Fat Controller believes Gordon has been working too hard and decides to give him a rest.  James is asked to do his work and becomes very conceited, boasting about his reliability. Meanwhile, Toby is travelling to the Works for repairs, but thanks to a neglectful signalman and a small water tank, Toby is left stranded on the Main Line. James is not pleased when he has to push Toby and pull the Express to the Works Station. Next to arriving late, James is left exasperated when some children reckon that Toby was sent to help James pull the train!

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3.4 THOMAS GETS BUMPED

Thomas starts running late after helping some children home when their bus breaks down, and fears of being replaced. His fears increase when hot weather buckles the rails on his branch line, derailing him in the process. With the line temporarily closed for repairs, Thomas is sent to shunt in the yard while Bertie looks after his passengers. Thomas feels he’s lost all his passengers to Bertie, but when his Branch Line is reopened, he realises Bertie was only there to help him, which makes him feel much better.

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2.5 THOMAS GETS BUMPED

 

After one delay too many, James complains about Edward being too old and slow, marking him as “old iron”, but Thomas and Percy reckon Edward could beat James in a race anyway. This is put to the test when, one day, naughty boys fiddle with James’ controls, sending the red engine down the line without his Driver or Fireman. A brave Inspector decides to pursue after the runaway in Edward, who eventually catches up to James and stop him just in time. James apologies to Edward and the Fat Controller, proud of his heroic deed, sends Edward to have his worn parts mended.

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2.6 THOMAS & TREVOR / A NEW FRIEND FOR THOMAS (US)

WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER AWDRY

STORY BY BRITT ALLCROFT & DAVID MITTON

Trevor is sent one day to help Thomas build the new harbour near the Junction. Thomas meets Trevor for the first time but isn’t convinced that a steam engine, who doesn’t run on rails, can be of any use. Trevor proves his worth when he helps to clear a small mishap at the harbour, dragging supplies around a mess left by derailed trucks, before spending the afternoon giving rides to children on the beach. Amazed and impressed, Thomas realises how useful a traction engine can be, and takes Trevor home afterward a happier engine indeed.

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2.7 PERCY & THE SIGNAL

Percy’s constant teasing and tricks annoy the Big Engines, particularly Gordon and James, and decide to teach him a lesson. So when Percy is sent to deliver trucks to the Junction, James and Gordon trick him into how he should obey “backing signals”. When Percy encounters an odd signal – pointing up instead of down to clear the line – he doesn’t understand the way it works and believes it’s a “backing signal”. He begins to reverse as “ordered” until his Driver stops him and explains why signals point up. Percy feels silly, especially when Gordon passes through and witnesses his mistake. The Big Engines enjoy a fun conversation about signals that night, which Percy thinks is very silly!

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2.8 DUCK TAKES CHARGE

Percy is the laughing stock of the yard following his signal mishap, until the Fat Controller cheers him up by sending him to help build the new harbour while a bigger tank engine arrives to shunt the yard. The newcomer, Duck (alias Montague), is soon friends with Percy, until Gordon, James and Henry start ordering them about. Duck decides to take action “the Great Western way”, and he and Percy block the paths to the shed, refusing to let the big engines in. The Fat Controller arrives where Duck gives his reasons for their actions, stating that he and Percy will only take orders from their controller, not from the other engines. The Fat Controller understands and is quick to tell the big engines: “This is my railway and I give the orders!”

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2.9 PERCY & HAROLD / PERCY PROVES A POINT (US)

Percy enjoys working at the new harbour, helping Thomas and Toby bring stone trucks for the men. Close by is an airfield, their noisiest resident being a helicopter. Percy meets the helicopter one day, who introduces himself as Harold. Harold is proud of flying and reckons railways are slow and out of date. Percy is cross, but later on, when he sees Harold flying close by, the pair embark in a frantic race to the harbour. At the last minute Percy thinks they’ve lost, but his Driver spies Harold hovering close by, unable to find a place to land! Percy is declared the winner and his Driver sings a song in his honour.

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2.10 THE RUNAWAY

WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER AWDRY

Thomas doesn’t feel well and is sent to the Works for repairs. Duck fills in for him and becomes friends with Annie, Clarabel and the passengers. When Thomas returns, he finds he stills has problems – his new brakes feel stiff, causing him to overshoot platforms. So his crew learn to be extra careful, until Thomas’ Fireman falls ill and a Relief takes his place. Unfortunately, the Relief forgets about Thomas’ handbrake, resulting in Thomas, Annie and Clarabel to run away down the line without a crew. Harold the Helicopter zooms to the rescue, bringing an Inspector to the next station, who soon stops the runaway safely.

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2.11 PERCY TAKES THE PLUNGE

One day, Percy is bragging to Bill and Ben about his battle through the floods to get the Vicar’s School Group home, and crows that “Water’s nothing to an engine with determination!” Henry overhears this and scoffs indignantly, and is beyond words when Percy reminds him of when the big green engine was bricked up in a tunnel for his phobia of the rain!

Later, Percy and Thomas observe a DANGER notice at the Harbour Quay. The real reason is because the foundations of the quay have sunk, meaning that the wharf is uneven and slopes downward to the sea. Percy doesn’t realise this and his curiosity gets the better of him. After foolishly asking “help” from the trucks, he ends up overshooting the buffers and is up to his chin in seawater! When he is eventually rescued, Henry has the last laugh when he hauls Percy to the Works.

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2.12 POP GOES THE DIESEL

The Fat Controller brings a diesel shunter to the yard on trial and asks Duck to show him around. Duck tries to help, but Diesel refuses to listen to him, claiming he knows everything. But whilst collecting trucks for Duck, he pulls out the wrong ones, looses his temper and makes a dreadful mess of it. Duck finds it all amusing and so do the trucks, who embark in a delightful singsong of “Pop Goes the Diesel!” leaving Diesel angry and in disgrace.

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2.13 DIRTY WORK / DIESEL'S DEVIOUS DEED (US)

The Troublesome Trucks continue singing and laughing at Diesel until Duck orders them to be quiet.  Diesel blames Duck for what had happened, but the other engines know it wasn’t done on purpose, as they would never tell about their differences to trucks. This gives Diesel a spiteful idea and begins telling lies to the trucks, claiming that Duck told them. This is untrue, but the trucks believe every word – Gordon a “Galloping Sausage”, James “Rusty Red Scrap Iron” and Henry is “Old Square Wheels” – and when the three engines realise this, they confront Duck and refuse to let him enter the shed. The Fat Controller is told all, but Diesel claims to know nothing, so he sends Duck away to Edward’s Station. Duck tearfully departs, leaving Diesel smirking quietly with triumph.

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2.14 A CLOSE SHAVE / A CLOSE SHAVE FOR DUCK (US)

Duck arrives at Edward’s Station and tells Edward about Diesel’s lies. Edward knows Duck isn’t horrid at all and makes him welcome to his yard. But whilst helping his goods train up the hill, the Trucks break away and chase Duck down the line. Duck tries his best to keep them under control, and ends up crashing into a barbershop, where upon he is lathered by the annoyed Barber! However, the barber forgives Duck when the Fat Controller arrives and explains everything. He praises Duck for his brave actions, adding that he never believed Diesel and sent him packing. After being washed and mended, Duck returns home to a hero’s welcome.

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2.15 BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER AWDRY

The viaduct on the Main Line is undergoing repair work, delaying everything and everyone.  This makes Thomas very cross as he has to wait for the Main Line trains at the junction, making him late with his own connection with Bertie the Bus. Eventually, Bertie begins to tease Thomas about his lateness, until one day Bertie breaks down at a level crossing. Thomas, running late as usual, takes Bertie’s passengers home and sends for help. Afterward, Bertie apologises to Thomas, and they both agree that being late at times isn’t such a bad thing.

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2.16 BREAK VAN / DONALD & DOUGLAS (US)

The Fat Controller sends for an engine from Scotland to help with the goods work, but is surprised to be presented with twin engines, Donald and Douglas. He decides to give them numbers (Donald “9”, Douglas “10”), until he can decide which engine to send home. The twins try to be useful until a Spiteful Brake Van causes trouble for Douglas. Donald warns it to behave, but not before running into a signalbox, damaging his tender. James helps Douglas with the goods work, much to his disgust, until the Spiteful Brake Van starts causing trouble for him.  Douglas offers to help James up the hill with a reluctant goods, but he pushes too hard and smashes the Spiteful Brake Van.  The Fat Controller, surveying the damage and confusion the twins have made, cannot make up his mind about which engine to send away…

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2.17 THE DEPUTATION

When an early snowstorm blankets the island, Donald and Douglas work together clearing away heavy drifts of snow. The twins work splendidly, but are still worried about the Fat Controller sending them away. The other engines want the Fat Controller to reconsider but don’t know how to ask him.  Edward suggests to Percy, who tells the engines, about forming a Deputation (with much confusion over pronouncing the word). So they send a rather nervous Percy to speak to Sir Topham Hatt personally. The Fat Controller understands completely and seeing their potentially good work, he decides to let both twins stay for good, with much rejoicing.

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2.18 THOMAS COMES TO BREAKFAST

Thomas knows every part of his Branch Line, causing his driver to joke that he could manage without him. This makes Thomas conceited, claiming that he doesn’t need his driver anymore, despite Percy and Toby telling him otherwise. One morning, Thomas starts from the shed all by himself (thanks to a careless cleaner meddling with his controls) but finds that can’t stop and crashes into the Stationmaster’s house. Donald and Douglas arrive to help out, leaving Thomas with badly damaged buffers. The Fat Controller sends Thomas to be mended and decides to enlist a diesel railcar to do Thomas’ work, claiming “Diesels always stays in their sheds ‘till they are wanted!”

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2.19 DAISY

The Fat Controller introduces Daisy, the Diesel Railcar, and asks Percy and Toby to show her around.  They do their best, but Daisy becomes a nuisance and they find her very difficult to please, complaining about everything and everyone – even going as far as taking control of the carriage shed after insulting and forcing out Annie, Clarabel and Henrietta. The next day, Daisy makes a terrible fuss when she learns she has to pull a Milk Van. She refuses to take it, arguing with passengers and staff, and claiming that “pulling is against Fitter’s orders.” Finally, Daisy starts her journey, but without the milk van, and deciding to only do whatever job she chooses to do.

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2.20 PERCY'S PREDICAMENT

Daisy continues to be lazy and stubborn, leaving Percy to do her jobs as well as his own. Percy is tired and wants a change, so he agrees to swap duties with Toby. He goes to the quarry to collect Toby’s trucks, but the trucks do not appreciate Percy ordering him about in Toby’s workplace and decide to pay him out.  They push Percy too fast down the hill and into a brake van, leaving Percy perched on a pile of trucks. When the Fat Controller arrives, he is cross with Percy for causing their predicament, but is annoyed at Daisy’s laziness since her arrival. Daisy feels ashamed, but after hearing how hard she worked after Percy’s accident, the Fat Controller gives her another chance. Soon, Thomas comes home, Percy is sent away to be mended, and Daisy works extra hard proving to be a Really Useful Engine.

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2.21 THE DISEASEL

Bill and Ben, the tank engine twins, live and work near the harbour on Edward’s Line, bringing trucks of china clay from the quarry. One day, they are surprised to find a line of trucks they had left earlier had disappeared. Their drivers see a patch of oil on the track, and suspect that the culprit is a Diesel – but the twins mistake it as a “Diseasel”, seemingly caused by “coughs and sneezles”! Their Drivers decide to rescue their trucks by trickery and remove Bill and Ben’s nameplates to dazzle the Diseasel. They creep to Edward’s yard and find the Diesel with the missing Trucks. Bill and Ben go backwards and forwards, tricking the Diesel into believing they are the same engine, until Edward bustles in and explains everything. The twins apologise to the Diesel, BoCo, who in turn says sorry for the confusion.

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2.22 WRONG ROAD

Gordon questions why a Branch Line Diesel like BoCo should be allowed to run a Main Line train, and remains indignant on the subject of Branch Lines.

The following evening, he and Edward are due to take two fast trains from the Big Station - but Gordon is sent off accidentally by a woman in floppy green hat - mistaking it for the Guard's green flag.  He has to be brought back before Edward can start, meaning he has to leave first instead.
However, the Signalman at the junction doesn't receive word about the change, leaving Edward on the Main Line route and Gordon running onto the the Branch - where he's left for the rest of the night, and into the early morning when Bill and Ben find him asleep, and pretend they think he's a pile of scrap which they need to dispose of - much to Gordon's horror.  Luckily for him, Boco soon arrives to save the day, and Gordon to this day believes the Diesel to be his saviour – not realising that Bill and Ben were only teasing!

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2.23 EDWARD'S EXPLOIT

The Big Engines began teasing about Edward’s age, contemplating his preservation. But Duck and BoCo still have faith in their friend, who is requested to take a party of visitors to meet Bill and Ben. On the journey home, however, a fierce storm strikes, making Edward’s run very difficult. Puffing fiercely, Edward’s siderods become damaged and has difficultly starting the train again. With careful handling from his crew and great determination, Edward battles his way through the storm, minus his siderods, and arrives late but safe at the Big Station. The visitors are very grateful; and even James, Henry and Gordon gain further respect for Edward.

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2.24 GHOST TRAIN / PERCY'S GHOSTLY TRICK (US)

Daisy continues to be lazy and stubborn, leaving Percy to do her jobs as well as his own. Percy is tired and wants a change, so he agrees to swap duties with Toby. He goes to the quarry to collect Toby’s trucks, but the trucks do not appreciate Percy ordering him about in Toby’s workplace and decide to pay him out.  They push Percy too fast down the hill and into a brake van, leaving Percy perched on a pile of trucks. When the Fat Controller arrives, he is cross with Percy for causing their predicament, but is annoyed at Daisy’s laziness since her arrival. Daisy feels ashamed, but after hearing how hard she worked after Percy’s accident, the Fat Controller gives her another chance. Soon, Thomas comes home, Percy is sent away to be mended, and Daisy works extra hard proving to be a Really Useful Engine.

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2.24 GHOST TRAIN / PERCY'S GHOSTLY TRICK (US)

Daisy continues to be lazy and stubborn, leaving Percy to do her jobs as well as his own. Percy is tired and wants a change, so he agrees to swap duties with Toby. He goes to the quarry to collect Toby’s trucks, but the trucks do not appreciate Percy ordering him about in Toby’s workplace and decide to pay him out.  They push Percy too fast down the hill and into a brake van, leaving Percy perched on a pile of trucks. When the Fat Controller arrives, he is cross with Percy for causing their predicament, but is annoyed at Daisy’s laziness since her arrival. Daisy feels ashamed, but after hearing how hard she worked after Percy’s accident, the Fat Controller gives her another chance. Soon, Thomas comes home, Percy is sent away to be mended, and Daisy works extra hard proving to be a Really Useful Engine.

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2.24 GHOST TRAIN / PERCY'S GHOSTLY TRICK (US)

Daisy continues to be lazy and stubborn, leaving Percy to do her jobs as well as his own. Percy is tired and wants a change, so he agrees to swap duties with Toby. He goes to the quarry to collect Toby’s trucks, but the trucks do not appreciate Percy ordering him about in Toby’s workplace and decide to pay him out.  They push Percy too fast down the hill and into a brake van, leaving Percy perched on a pile of trucks. When the Fat Controller arrives, he is cross with Percy for causing their predicament, but is annoyed at Daisy’s laziness since her arrival. Daisy feels ashamed, but after hearing how hard she worked after Percy’s accident, the Fat Controller gives her another chance. Soon, Thomas comes home, Percy is sent away to be mended, and Daisy works extra hard proving to be a Really Useful Engine.

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