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This article is about 'the eleventh series episode'. You may be looking for 'the second series episode, the 1988 magazine story ,the Thai DVD or the magazine story'.

“You're not cross with me sir?! Even though my flags are drooped and I'm covered in coal dust, quarry dust and fish?!”

Dirty Work is the fourth episode of the eleventh series.


James has barely returned from the repair yard when news comes of a special; an engine is needed to take the Mayor of Sodor to the Festival of Light at Callan Castle. James volunteers and Thomas, Percy and Emily get to do goods work. They ask James for help, but James says it is more important to look his best than to help his friends and James leaves for the washdown.

While James is being washed, Percy, who still has lots of work to do, stops by on his way to the quarry. He asks James for some help, but James says no. Later, while James is getting polished, Thomas arrives with some Troublesome Trucks which have been biffing him. He asks James for some help, but again, James says no. While James is getting his funnel cleaned, he starts to smell something bad, which turns out to be Emily pulling heavy trucks of fish. Emily asks James for some help, but once again, James refuses to have to help her. James is cleaned and decorated with flags and arrives at the castle, but is shocked to discover the others have not yet finished their work. James feels terrible for bailing out on his friends and goes out to help them.

James finds Thomas, who is still having trouble with his trucks and helps, but is soon covered in coal dust. Next, he finds Percy struggling to pull his trucks of stone out of the quarry. James helps him by pushing him and gets covered in quarry dust. Lastly, he finds Emily, who cannot go any further with her heavy load. James pushes her and her load and knows he would be covered in fish.

Thomas, Percy and Emily make it to the festival. James arrives with the Mayor, but is worried about what the Fat Controller might say after getting all dirty again. But to his surprise, the Fat Controller is proud of James for helping his friends and bringing the Mayor to the castle safely. The engines believe that even though James is dirty, he is still the star of the show.




  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-second episode of the eleventh series.
  • This episode shares the same title with an episode from the second series.
  • Numerous differences were made in the individual airings and DVDs compared to the PBS Kids and Nick Jr. UK television airing, Hopes and Dreams:
    • The first three scenes were filmed at different sets.
    • An alternate angle of the engines at Tidmouth Sheds is used with Emily having a different happy face.
    • An alternate angle of James leaving Tidmouth Sheds is used with Emily having a different mad face.
    • An alternate angle of Emily arriving at the yards is used, a workman on the platform is moved, there is more coal in the trucks in the television version and less in the re-shot version and the last coal truck is uncoupled in the re-shot version.
    • An alternate angle of James wondering where his friends are.
    • An alternate angle of James leaving the Scottish Castle.
    • An alternate angle of James buffering up to Emily is used and his face is clearer in the television version, whilst in the re-shot version, he has coal dust on his face.
  • This episode is one of three which are not featured on German home media. The others are Thomas and the Stinky Cheese and Percy and the Left Luggage.
  • This episode marks a few things:


  • When James buffers up to Percy's trucks at the quarry, James' steam platform can be seen. When he buffers up behind Emily's trucks, a pipe in the rails used for James' steam can also be seen.
  • In the first scene of Emily with the fish, she has a brake van. But when James helps her, it is uncoupled and parked on a different track.
  • In the DVD version, when James arrives at the sheds, his eyes are misaligned.
  • In the DVDs and individual airings of the episode, in the close up shots of James looking sad at the Scottish Castle, the trees, flowers and the flags on the wall have moved position. This is due to the crew forgetting to film the shot and had to reconstruct the Scottish Castle on the edge of the Knapford set.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Trabalho Sujo
Chinese Mandarin 艰苦的工作
Czech Špinavá Práce
Danish Beskidt Arbejde
Finnish Likaista Työtä
German Der Star des Abends
Hungarian Piszkos Munka
Japanese たいせつなこと
Korean 진짜 스타의 길
Norwegian En Skitten Jobb
Romanian Treburi Murdare
Russian Грязная работа
Spanish Trabajo Sucio
Swedish Smutsjobb

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