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“What's the matter, Percy?"
"Nothing exciting ever happens, that's the matter.
It's just coal, coal, coal and trucks, trucks, trucks!/cars, cars, cars! I'm bored, bored, bored!”
―Percy complaining to Bertie

A Surprise for Percy, retitled A Big Surprise for Percy in American releases, is the twenty-first episode of the fifth series. It aired back to back with Snow during the first airing of Storytime with Thomas in the US.


Percy has been working at the coal mines for several weeks and is fed up with the work. Toby and Bertie try to cheer him up, to no avail. Then one day, Percy is hauling some trucks up to the yard and they constantly tease him, but he finds it annoying, so he keeps shouting at them to stop it until they break away. The driver alerts the signalman and the yard forman warns Sir Topham Hatt that the trucks could crash into the village after rolling back from the hill. Percy, Bertie and Sir Topham Hatt chase after them and workmen manage to put chocks under the trucks' wheels after they slow down going up a hill. After that, Percy decides that one should never be taken by surprise.




  • This episode is inspired by a runaway in the Garw Valley that occurred during David Maidment's time as Area Manager at Bridgend.
  • Stock footage from Put Upon Percy is used.
  • This is the only episode in the fifth series to have different titles in the UK and the US.
  • When the trucks first sing, music is used in the US and international versions but not in the UK version.
  • Much of the footage during the runaway is sped up.
  • The load that Cranky drops on Percy from Cranky Bugs is seen on the ground to the right of the screen when the trucks at the coal mine sing.
  • This marks the only appearance of the Miner's Halt station in the television series.
  • A brown building, a three berth garage and the steel rig outer frame from TUGS appear at the coaling plant.
  • The wooden part of the Skarloey Railway Engine Sheds appears at the coaling plant.
  • The old station from Oliver's Find can be seen as Sir Topham Hatt and Bertie chase the trucks.
  • The boat repairs building from Lakeside and Norramby Fishing Village can be seen at the miner's village.
  • A rare image implies that Thomas was to play a role in this episode.


  • The backdrop is visible during a close-up of Percy struggling up the hill.
  • Just before the truck's coupling breaks, Percy's cylinder appears to be broken.
  • In the bird's-eye shot of the trucks, a wire can be seen pulling the trucks forward.
  • In some shots of Percy pulling the trucks up the hill, his first red stripe is out of place.
  • In one scene Sir Topham Hatt and Bertie park at the end of the stone wall, but in the next scene they are nowhere to be seen.
  • Throughout the runaway, Bertie is smiling.
  • As Sir Topham Hatt's car and Bertie drive past the line, there is green foliage covering the tracks.
  • In a close-up of the trucks racing up the hill, the brake van is at the wrong end of the train.
  • Shortly after the chase begins, Bertie has stopped at the far end of the set.
  • When this episode aired on Storytime with Thomas, the UK title was used.
  • When Percy goes in between the two lines of trucks, the first truck on the viewer's right is coming off its wheel frames.
  • When the narrator says "The trucks were still grumbling," the first truck in line's left (viewer's perspective right) buffer is missing. In the next shot, the same truck has disappeared altogether. 


Trucks: [sing to Percy] Percy, Percy, green and small.
He's no use to us at all.
Around the yards, he'll puff and blow.
But on the hills, he's oh, so slow!
Percy: [bumps the trucks hard] BE QUIET!!

Trucks: You're much too slow to pull all of us. We want another engine, or we'll be struggling up the hill all night!
[chant] All night! All right!
You can puff and blow!
But on that hill, you're still too slow! Ha-ha!
Percy: Slow yourself!
[he bumps the trucks again]
Trucks: Temper! Temper!

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese 给培西的惊喜
Danish En Overraskelse for Percy
Dutch Een Verrassing Voor Percy
French Une Surprise pour Pierre
German Eine Überraschung Für Perc
Hungarian A Meglepetés
Italian Una Sopresa per Percy
Japanese パーシーびっくり
Korean 힘내라 퍼시 (KBS) / 퍼시는 심심해 (EBS)
Norwegian En Overraskelse for Percy
Polish Niespodzianka dla Piotrka
Portuguese Uma Surpresa Para Percy
Romanian O Surpriză Pentru Percy
Russian Сюрприз для Перси
Serbian Iznena Ženje za Persija
Slovak Darček pre Percyho
Slovenian Presenečenje za Poldija
Spanish Una Sorpresa Para Percy
Swedish En Överraskning för Percy
Thai เพอร์ซี่รู้สึกเบื่อ
Welsh Syndod a Rhyfeddod i Persi

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


  • Spooks and Surprises
  • The Complete Series 5

DVD Packs


  • Spooks and Surprises



DVD Boxsets












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