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“Well, thank you, my dear. I knew this was a special birthday party, but I didn't know it was fancy dress!”
―Lady Hatt greeting her husband

Lady Hatt's Birthday Party is the fourth episode of the fifth series. It aired back to back with Sir Topham Hatt's Holiday on Storytime with Thomas in the US.


One Summer's Day, Bertie asks Thomas and Percy if they have noticed something different about the Fat Controller. Percy tells Bertie that he saw the Fat Controller staring into the clouds this morning and he wonders why. It is Lady Hatt's birthday and the Fat Controller has a brand new outfit to wear especially for the party. Lady Hatt tells him not to be late and he tells her that he will be spic and span and right on time.

The Fat Controller is leaving work early to attend the party at Kirk Ronan. He tells the stationmaster that he will be taking his car as the engines are busy. He thinks it is reliable, but it is not. His mood soon changes when his car becomes stuck in a pothole with a flat tyre. He decides not to risk changing it because it will cause his suit to get dirty for the sake of his wife's party.

The Fat Controller then sees Caroline approaching. He explains the situation and hitches a lift in her, but Caroline does not like going fast and her engine overheats, causing her to break down. George the Steamroller then arrives and insults Caroline, but his driver is more polite to the Fat Controller, who he offers a ride to Thomas, who is just down the line. The Fat Controller agrees, promising Caroline that he will send for help. As George enjoys rolling along the road, the Fat Controller becomes covered in oil, thus ruining his suit. To make matters worse, George suddenly slips out of control due to a malfunction and falls roller first into a muddy ditch not too far where Thomas is taking on water and the Fat Controller catapults off and sinks chest-deep in the mud.

The Fat Controller asks Thomas' driver for a ride, but Thomas' fireman had taken ill, so the Fat Controller offers to be Thomas' relief fireman. It is hard work, and coal dust and smut fly all over the Fat Controller, but both he and Thomas arrive at Kirk Ronan just in time. The Fat Controller quickly buys a large bouquet of flowers for the party and as the clock strikes 3:00, he triumphantly arrives in the banquet room, despite feeling tired and dirty, and gives his wife the flowers. She is most grateful and states that she knew it was a special birthday party, but not that it was "fancy dress," much to the guests' amusement.




  • There are some differences on the soundtrack between the UK and US dubs:
    • During the scenes where the Fat Controller rides in his car and Caroline, his theme is heard in the US and international dubs but not the UK dub.
    • In the UK dub, George's whistle is heard earlier than in the US and international dubs.
    • The sounds made by Sir Topham Hatt's car, Caroline and George are barely audible in the US and international dubs.
  • In the UK dub, Lady Hatt gains a classy accent.
  • When Sir Topham arrives at Lady Hatt's party, an instrumental version of the song "Happy Birthday to You" is heard playing in the background.
  • Near the clock of the ballroom is the same portrait of a bearded man holding a top hat from Topham Hall in Thomas in Trouble, the Ffarquhar Stationmaster's house in Thomas Comes to Breakfast and the Fat Controller's Office in fourth series.
  • When the Fat Controller arrives at his wife’s birthday party, as the doors open, pictures of famed railway engineers Robert Stephenson (left) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel (right) can be seen in the background.
  • This episode marks the first of several things:
    • Bertie's first speaking role since the third series episode, All at Sea.
    • The first appearance of George's unused fourth series shocked face.
    • The first time Lady Hatt is referred to by name.
    • Lady Hatt's first individual speaking role in the series, though she spoke in a crowd scene in the third series episode, Bulgy.
    • The first time a human has been the main character in the television series.
    • The first time the Fat Controller has had to act as a relief fireman to a engine; this would happen again in Thomas and the Royal Engine.
  • One of the flowers the Fat Controller buys is really a stem of broccoli.
  • This episode marks Caroline and Jem Cole's only speaking roles in the fifth series.
  • This episode marks the last of three things:
    • Caroline's last speaking role.
    • The Barber's Customer's last appearance.
    • Jem Cole's last speaking role until the special, Journey Beyond Sodor.
  • The same model previously used for Elizabeth II can be seen amongst the crowd at the party.
  • In the US, this episode was listed before A Better View for Gordon on the Cranky Bugs and Other Thomas Stories VHS/DVD, meaning the viewers would not have known about Gordon's view at Kirk Ronan.
  • A shot of Thomas looking at the Fat Controller became an internet meme, using the caption "Thomas had never seen such a mess" as opposed to the actual line in the episode, "Thomas had never seen the Fat Controller in such a mess."


  • When Lady Hatt says "I didn't know it was fancy dress", one of the people laughing is missing their eyebrows.
  • Jem Cole does not have any eyebrows.
  • When the narrator says, "Later that day, the Fat Controller changed into his new suit," the Fat Controller is missing one of his eyebrows.
  • James is seen traveling with some coaches in the opposite direction of the car as the Fat Controller leaves his office, then later in the episode as Thomas and the Fat Controller arrive at the station, James is seen again leaving with trucks traveling in the same direction he was previously, creating a continuity error.
  • George has Trevor's whistle sound throughout the episode.
  • For the rest of the episode after George crashes, the Fat Controller does not have eyebrows.
  • When Thomas wishes "Good Luck!" to the Fat Controller, his driver's small scale model is wearing glasses even though the model did not when Thomas starts going to the station.
  • When the Fat Controller is shown carrying the flowers, he appears to have lost the entire right sleeve of his coat, but in the next scene when he meets his wife at the party, both coat sleeves are intact.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Lady Hatt had light brown hair and her standard facial features but at the episode she has dark brown hair and a different face structure.
  • Jem Cole disappears when the Fat Controller falls off George but is back on him again after it shows the Fat Controller in the mud.
  • In a rare picture, Caroline's driver is smiling when she breaks down.
  • When George cries "Help! Something snapped!" the Fat Controller is elevated a bit in George's cab due to a film cut; and when George drives into the ditch, the Fat Controller also prematurely tips over.
  • Percy's face is coming loose when he states that he saw the Fat Controller looking at clouds.


  • Lady Hatt: [about her husband's new outfit] It's perfect for my birthday party. You look splendid, Topham Dear.
  • The Fat Controller: Then I'll wear my finest hat just for you. Your birthday is a great occasion.​​​​​​
  • Lady Hatt: It is. So don't be late.
  • The Fat Controller: Don't worry, my dear. I shall be spic and span and right on time.


  • George: [to Caroline] Call yourself a car!? You're a disgrace to the road! Find yourself a scrapyard!
  • Driver: Can I be your assistance, sir?
  • The Fat Controller: Only if you can get to my wife's birthday party.
  • Driver: We can take you to Thomas, he's just down the line.
  • The Fat Controller: Much obliged.


  • George: HELP! Something snapped!
  • (George drives into a muddy ditch as the Fat Controller landed into it where Thomas was taking water)
  • The Fat Controller: (as he sinks in the muddy ditch) Bother! Bother!


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Festa De Aniversário De Lady Hatt
Chinese Mandarin 海特夫人的生日派对
Czech Narozeniny paní přednostové
Danish Fru Hatts fødselsdagsfest
Dutch Het verjaardagsfeest van mevrouw Hoogsmahoed
Finnish Lady Hattusen syntymäpäiväjuhla
French L'anniversaire de Mme Gibus
German Lady Hatts Geburtstagsfeier
Greek Το πάρτι γενεθλίων
Hungarian A születésnapi zsúr
Italian La festa di Compleanno di Lady Hatt
Japanese ハットきょうふじんのたんじょうび
Korean 생일파티에 가는 길
Latin American Spanish La Fiesta de Cumpleaños de Lady Hatt
Norwegian Lady Hatts bursdagsselskap
Polish Urodziny Pani Hatt (Original)
Urodziny Żony (Alternate)
Romanian Aniversarea Doamnei Hatt
Russian День рождения Лэди Мэтт
Slovenian Zabava za rojstni dan gospe Klobučar
Swedish Födelsedagsfirande

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