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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the US VHS/DVD.
"I can't!”
―The engines and Cranky

Cranky Bugs is the first episode of the fifth series.


Thomas and Percy enjoy working at the docks, but find themselves one day delayed when a new crane named Cranky starts pushing his weight around and calls them bugs. Thomas and Percy inform James and Gordon about Cranky. While Gordon believes that cranes need a lot of attention like him, James tells Thomas and Percy that they should see the situation from Cranky's perspective - he is high up in the air and has to cope with the wind, rain and baking sun, and then looks down on the two engines annoying him.

Matters are made even worse when Cranky finds out Gordon and James agree with his ways, causing him to be more bossy. He tells Percy to shunt some trucks closer to him. Percy is too upset to concentrate and he pushes the trucks too far, leading Cranky to drop a crate of sand on Percy's funnel and boiler. Cranky then tricks Thomas by telling him to shunt his flatbeds to the outside line, so that it will be easier for Cranky to load up. As Thomas does so, Cranky leaves the loads beside the trucks, rather than in them. The Fat Controller is unaware of Cranky's bad behaviour, so he assumes Thomas and Percy are responsible for the confusion and delay and is most upset with the aforementioned incidents. He sends the two engines to the sheds to consider how they will improve themselves the next day. Thomas and Percy are then annoyed too, with Cranky.

That night, a terrible storm rages across Sodor. Henry, Gordon, James and Duck have taken refuge in the harbour shed. Duck is sure that they will be safe, but a tramp steamer loses control, crashes into the dockyard and destroys the shed, causing the roof to fall in, trapping Duck and the big engines and knocking Cranky over in the process. When the storm is over, the Fat Controller tells Cranky that Thomas and Percy are coming to help him so that he can help the other engines. Cranky realises that he needs to apologise to the two small engines and tells the Fat Controller to tell Thomas and Percy how sorry he is for being rude to them. The Fat Controller realises that Cranky was responsible for the incidents and that he owes the two tank engines an apology as well.

The little engines come to the rescue, and Cranky is soon upright again and releasing the engines from what remains of the shed. Cranky then mistakenly calls his rescuers "mites" and Percy (offended that Cranky has gone back to insulting them) attempts to leave. Thomas warns him not to move as he's still attached to Cranky, but Percy pulls him down again before he can stop in time...

Cranky still looks down on Thomas and Percy, but ever since the stormy night, he never causes trouble for them again.




  • Stock footage from Henry's Forest is used.
  • Big Mickey, S.S. Vienna and Izzy Gomez from TUGS can be seen. The LT Warehouse that is first seen when Cranky leaves the loads beside Thomas' trucks was also seen in the TUGS episode High Tide, in the scene where Top Hat confronts the Z-Stacks at the Canal.
  • This is the first episode of several things:
    • The first episode narrated by Alec Baldwin in the US, Tommy Kenter in Denmark, Gro Solemdal in Norway for both VHS and TV and Shin Yong-u in South Korea.
    • Butch and Cranky's first appearance in the series.
    • This was David Maidment's first episode as the railway consultant.
    • The first episode of Takeshi Aono voicing Sir Topham Hatt in the Japanese narration.
    • The first episode to use the phrase, "confusion and delay," which would become Sir Topham Hatt's catchphrase starting in the eighth series. However, it would not be until Dunkin Duncan when Sir Topham Hatt first says it.
    • This is the first episode made without the help of the Rev. W Awdry himself since his death in 1997.
    • The first time that Sir Topham Hatt's car is seen moving on-screen.
    • The first appearance of Brendam in the television series.
    • The first episode since the second series episode, Wrong Road to feature Gordon's second series surprised face mask.
  • In the first shot of Brendam, there is a truck that has the number eight written on it.
  • The barrel the Fat Controller stands on near the end of the episode is the "Best Quality Diesel Oil" barrel from the fourth series episode, Bowled Out.
  • Concept art shows that Edward was originally going to be in the episode during the tramp steamer scene, but his role was replaced by Duck for some unknown reason. In the same concept art, the tramp steamer would have hit a fuel tanker that have resulted in a explosion. 
  • This episode aired with Horrid Lorry on Storytime with Thomas in the US.
  • Despite his appearance in the episode, Henry does not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • The wooden section of the Skarloey Engine Sheds appears at the docks.


  • When Cranky complains about the load and the engines, Thomas and Percy both have flatbeds in front of them. But when Cranky bangs the load down and the camera turns to Thomas and Percy, the flatbeds are not coupled to them.
  • When Gordon says "Cranes are airy fairy things, they need a lot of attention, like me in fact," one of his buffers is bent.
  • In the UK version, the narrator says that Cranky and the big engines were trapped by the docks, but Duck is not a big engine. 
  • In some close-ups of Cranky, his eye mechanism is visible through his windows.
  • When Gordon says, "Thank you. What would I have done without you?" his lamp is not attached to his lamp iron.
  • Cranky's position at the docks changes between the day and night sequences.


  • Cranky: You're useless little bugs! If you put these trucks/freight cars on the inside lines, then I wouldn't have so far to travel!
  • Thomas: Rubbish! We always arrange our trucks like this, and no crane has ever complained before! (US: Rubbish! No crane has ever complained before!)
  • Cranky: Well, I'm complaining now.
  • [he drops his load on the ground]


  • Gordon: Cranes are airy-fairy things, they need a lot of attention like me, in fact.
  • James: You should have seen the situation from Cranky's point-of-view. He's high up in the air, coping with wind, rain, and baking sun. Then he looks down and sees you two engines being annoying. No wonder he called you "bugs".


  • Cranky: (to Percy) Come on! Come on! Push those trucks/freight cars closer to me!


  • Cranky: Push your trucks/freight cars onto the outside line. It's easier for me to load up.
  • Narrator: So Thomas did, but Cranky left the loads beside the trucks. Not in them.
  • Cranky: You must have known my arm can't reach you there!
  • Narrator: This mix-up caused confusion and delay.


  • The Fat Controller: Thomas and Percy, this new crane has an important job to do. I have heard that you have not been helping him today. You will go to your sheds and consider how you will improve yourselves tomorrow.


  • Narrator: Cranky and the big engines were trapped at the docks, (US: Cranky and the engines were trapped at the docks)
  • Duck: We're sure to be safe in the shed!
  • Narrator: But he was wrong. The engines had no idea that they were about to be put in great danger by an old tramp steamer. (US and Welsh versions only: [the steamer's horn honks]) It was out of control and running aground straight into the sheds.
  • (the tramp steamer loses control, and accidentally crashes into the sheds and knocks Cranky over)
  • Cranky: AAAAHHHH!!!
  • Henry, Gordon, James, and Duck: HELP!
  • Cranky: I CAN'T!


  • The Fat Controller: Thomas and Percy will help you, and then you can help the other engines.
  • Cranky: Oh, please. Hurry. And tell them I'm sorry I was rude to them.
  • The Fat Controller: So it was you. I owe those engines an apology.


  • [after Cranky has saved the engines in the shed]
  • Gordon: Oh, thank you! What would I have done without you?
  • Cranky: Well, I had to be rescued before I could help you, but I never thought it would be a couple of b-b-
  • Narrator: Cranky was about to say bugs. But he quickly corrected himself
  • Cranky: "Small engines". Thank you, I'll never be rude again. However, you two mites are in my way, so move over!
  • Percy: Pah! He's back to bugging us! [lurches backward]
  • Thomas: Don't move! You're still attached to Cranky!
  • Narrator: But it was too late.
  • [Cranky falls again]


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Resgatar do Cranky
Chinese 克兰奇及小鬼
Czech Crankyho Hmyz
Danish En Krævende Kran
Dutch Kranige Vlooien
Finnish Äkäinen Niilo
French Les Microbes de Félix
German Unnütze Käfer?
Greek Ο νευρικός γερανός
Hungarian Cranky-t Megleckéztetik
Italian Cranky la Gru
Japanese クレーンのクランキー
Korean 거만한 크랭키
Norwegian Sinte Cranky
Polish Robaczki Karolka
Romanian Gândacii lui Cranky
Russian Недовольные жуки
Slovak Mrzutý Bugs
Slovenian Živko in Žužka
Spanish El Rescate de Cranky
Swedish Sömnlösa Gnällis
Thai แคร้งกี้เจ้าเครนเกเร
Welsh Chwain

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