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- “No, I'm not! I'm rough and I'm tough and I'm..."
"So sweet! Awww! Who's a little fluffy ducky, then? So cute and fluffy-wuffy!”
- ―Diesel, Bert and 'Arry
Diesel and the Ducklings is the fourth episode of the twentieth series.
One early morning, Thomas pulls into Brendam Docks and greets Salty and Cranky. Unfortunately, Diesel is not feeling quite so friendly, and he bashes Thomas forward. Diesel thinks that all diesel engines should be rough and tough, calling Salty a "softie" when he disagrees.
Later, Thomas whistles hello to Percy, who is having a wash before he starts work. Diesel then pushes Percy forward too, and takes his place at the washdown. Thomas tells Diesel that he should be nice if he wants to make friends, but Diesel replies that his friends, 'Arry and Bert, already like him because he's rough and tough.
Later that day, Thomas is still thinking about Diesel when he sees him parked up ahead, talking softly to some ducklings. Thomas is surprised: he has never seen Diesel being so sweet and gentle before. Thomas can't wait to tell the other engines how much of a softie Diesel is being, but Diesel begs Thomas not to tell in case the engines laugh at him. So Thomas promises not to tell as long as Diesel keeps being friendly towards the other engines.
Diesel tries hard to act friendly, and greets each engine as they pass by, much to their confusion. At Knapford, Diesel greets Edward a good morning, when he notices 'Arry and Bert watching him. Not wanting his tough reputation to be spoilt, Diesel quickly begins to make fun of Emily, which makes 'Arry and Bert chuckle. Thomas then pulls up behind Diesel and reminds him of his promise. So Diesel apologises to Emily and quickly hurries away.
But Diesel can't help returning to his old ways. He rolls slowly along in front of James and Gordon, which makes them cross. Thomas again reminds Diesel of his promise by making quacking noises at him, so Diesel reluctantly lets James and Gordon through. Later, Diesel biffs and bashes trucks in front of 'Arry and Bert, declaring that he is rough and tough. Thomas once again quacks at Diesel, but Diesel has had enough of trying to be nice. So Thomas cheekily tells 'Arry and Bert to follow him, and they set off towards the ducklings, with Diesel behind.
Diesel begs Thomas not to tell, but Thomas reminds Diesel that he has broken his part of their agreement. As the engines approach the duckpond, Diesel sees the duck family crossing Thomas' line, and calls out to Thomas to stop. Thomas screeches to a halt just in time, and the ducks continue crossing. Thomas praises Diesel for being a hero and a softie. Diesel declares that he is not a softie, but then 'Arry and Bert begin to make a fuss over the ducklings just like Diesel had. Thomas realises that all three of the diesels are big softies at heart when it comes to ducklings.
- 'Arry and Bert
- Troublesome Trucks
- Edward (does not speak)
- Henry (does not speak)
- Sidney (cameo)
- Norman (cameo)
- One of Dowager Hatt's friends (cameo)
- Albert's Wife (cameo)
- Big Mickey (faceless, cameo)
- Brendam Docks
- Crosby Washdown
- Duck Pond
- Gordon's Hill
- John Hasler as Thomas
- Keith Wickham as Gordon, James and Salty
- Nigel Pilkington as Percy
- Teresa Gallagher as Emily
- Matt Wilkinson as Cranky
- Kerry Shale as Diesel and 'Arry
- William Hope as Bert
- Christopher Ragland as the Troublesome Trucks
- Joseph May as Thomas
- Kerry Shale as Gordon, Diesel and 'Arry
- Rob Rackstraw as James
- Christopher Ragland as Percy and the Troublesome Trucks
- Jules de Jongh as Emily
- Glenn Wrage as Cranky
- Keith Wickham as Salty
- William Hope as Bert
- This episode marks the first of two things:
- This episode marks 'Arry and Bert's only appearances in the twentieth series.
- On the PBS Kids and Season 20 (Digital Download) airing, the episode is paired with Sidney Sings, while on the Nick Jr. airing, it is paired with Toad and the Whale.
- A shadow appears for a brief second near the ducklings as Diesel notices them, but none of the engines were close enough to emit a shadow near them.
- In a close-up of Gordon, he is on top of his hill; in the next shot, he, James and Diesel are at the bottom.
- Thomas (when he blackmails Diesel): Quack, quack, quack!
- Diesel: Hard as nails, always gruff, a diesel should be rough and tough!
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