Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
Main Page

This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Buzz Book or the magazine story.

“Some jokes are funny, but not this one, James. You have caused confusion!”
―The Fat Controller

No Joke for James is the eleventh episode of the third series. It is based on the magazine stories The Express and A Passenger for James.


James is proud of his smart red paint, and his driver tells him that he brightens up everyone's day. Shortly afterwards, James boasts to Thomas and Percy that he is the smartest and most useful engine on the line. Thomas and Percy disagree. Later, as James boasts to Gordon that he is the pride of the line, Gordon tells him that he is only a goods engine. James lies to Gordon that the Fat Controller has plans for him, and Gordon believes him, much to James' concern.

Thomas is shunting coaches in the yard. Thomas tells James that they are for Gordon's express, and that he will fetch James' trucks next. James, however, decides to trick Thomas, lying that the Fat Controller told him that he is to take the express, and that Gordon is to pull the trucks. He is then coupled to the coaches and steams out of the yard just as Thomas arrives with James' tanker wagons for Gordon, leaving him and his driver shocked and furious.

Meanwhile, James is puffing along and enjoying himself enormously, thinking to himself how clever he is. His fun does not last, however; he finds the Fat Controller waiting for him at Elsbridge, and he quickly reprimands James for his naughty actions, and sends him to his shed. James ends up with Gordon and Henry teasing him by asking each other who will pull the express. The next day, James is let out of the shed and apologises to Thomas, who gives him his trucks. James then shunts trucks in the harbour for the rest of the day.

As James and his crew prepare to head home, a man arrives and tells James' driver that he is to attend an important meeting with the Fat Controller. He must not be late for it, and he asks for a ride in James' cab. James' driver recognises the man as a railway inspector and agrees. When James arrives at Knapford, the inspector praises James. The Fat Controller agrees and tells James that he has once again proven himself to be a Really Useful Engine.




  • In the first shot of James shunting at the harbour, he is pushing a truck that has "N.E." written on it.
  • The railway inspector is Jeremiah Jobling.
  • In a few promotional photos, Gordon arrives next to Thomas on his left rather than on his right. In another photo, Gordon is smiling rather than frowning and a siding is behind him.
  • The Tidmouth Goods Station appears as a building in Knapford Yards.
  • In the restored version, the opening of James pulling the goods train is extended and the scene of him passing Brendam Canal with the express coaches is shortened.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Brendam Canal until the seventh series episode, James and the Queen of Sodor.
  • In the original UK dub, the line of James telling someone to look at him and saying that he's "the smartest, most useful engine on the line" is taken from the early UK narration of Time for Trouble.
  • A music cue is used at the end of the US dub. It is omitted in the UK and international dubs excluding the Ukrainian dub.
  • The models of Big Mickey, Izzy Gomez, a scrap tractor model, the steel company building, and the steel rig from TUGS can be seen at the harbour.
  • The episode was cut from the Fox Family airing of the Shining Time Station episode Oh, What a Tangled Web. However, it was seen on the Fox Family shows Mister Moose's Fun Time and Storytime with Thomas


  • In the first scene and the moment James pulls up beside Gordon, studio equipment is visible in the top centre corner of the screen.
  • When James talks to Gordon, his eyes were misaligned and his face is loose.
  • When James first arrives at the Sodor Shipping Company building, Thomas is seen shunting two salt vans and a tanker. In the same shot, studio equipment can be seen in the restored version. Next, red express coaches can be seen coming down the line two shots later. Then, the salt vans Thomas was shunting are coming backwards, and Thomas is gone.
  • When James wheeshes steam at the Fat Controller, the latter shakes a bit.
  • When Gordon said "I wonder who'll be pulling the express today?", some of the mud on his top front end were visible from the previous episode.
  • In the shot of Henry teasing James, both of his brake pipes are facing upwards. One should be facing downwards.
  • When James says "Actually, Thomas," the smoke coming from the chimney in the background disappears and reappears.
  • In the restored version, the first shot at the harbour shows James pushing three trucks. Two of them are derailed as they are seen bumping across the sleepers as this was a deleted scene of this episode.
  • When Thomas and James are talking, Edward is seen pulling a goods train on another line, then in the next shot, he is nowhere to be seen.
  • When Thomas is shunting Gordon's trucks into place, the line next to him is clear. Then in the next shot, express coaches appear. Then, when Thomas says "And so here are your trucks!", Percy can be seen shunting some trucks on the same line. In the next shot, Percy and his trucks disappear.
  • When James arrives at Elsbridge, there is a man standing next to the Fat Controller. But in the close up of him, the man disappears.
  • On the New Zealand release of Trust Thomas and Other Stories, James' whistle is omitted at the start of the episode.
  • In the Ukrainian dub, Michael Angelis' UK dub is heard at the start of the episode but then it later switches to the Ukrainian dub with George Carlin' voice being heard in the background for the rest of the episode.
  • Jeremiah Jobling's small scale figure does not have a moustache.
  • When James tricks Thomas that he was taking the express, his eyes are misaligned and at least twice his eyes make some noticeable jerks, indicating film cuts.


  • James: Look at me! I am the smartest, most useful engine on the line.
  • Thomas: Rubbish! We're all useful. UK dub: The Fat Controller says so and he's Sir Topham Hatt, head of the whole railway!/US dub: Sir Topham Hatt says so and he's head of the whole railway!
  • Percy: You know what, James?
  • James: What?
  • Percy: You’re getting all puffed up!


  • Narrator: Thomas was shunting shining new coaches.
  • Thomas: Good morning, James!
  • James: Are those coaches for me?
  • Thomas: No. These are for Gordon's Express. I'll fetch your trucks/freight cars next.
  • James: Actually, Thomas, I'm taking the coaches. The Fat Controller asked me to tell you.
  • Thomas: What about the trucks/cars?
  • James: Uh, give them to Gordon.
  • Thomas' Driver: Come on, Thomas. Orders are orders.


  • The Fat Controller: [having heard of James' recent antics] Some jokes are funny, but not this one, James. You have caused confusion!
  • James: [disappointedly] Yes, Sir.
  • The Fat Controller: You will now stay in your shed until you are wanted.


  • Gordon: I wonder who will be pulling the express today?
  • Henry: I expect it'll be you. James is stuck in the shed for being silly.


  • Railway Inspector: This clever engine gave me a splendid ride. You must be proud of him.
  • The Fat Controller: UK dub: Yes, indeed. James, once again you are a really useful engine./US dub: Yes, indeed. Once again, you are a really useful engine.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 别和詹姆士开玩笑
Czech Jamesův Špatný Vtip
Danish James Laver Numre
Dutch James is Niet Grappig
Finnish Jaskan Jekku
German Mit James scherzt man nicht
Greek Το αστείο του Τζίμι
Hungarian James Rossz Vicce
Italian Gli Scherzi di James
Japanese いたずらはだめだよジェームス
Korean 제임스의 속임수 (DVD Acadamy)
제임스의 거짓말 (JEI TV)
Norwegian Ingen Spøk for James
Polish Niegrzeczny Kuba
Romanian Fără Glume cu James
Russian Для Джеймса это не шутка
Serbian Džejmsova Pošalica
Slovenian Jakobu Ni do Šale
Swedish Ingen Spøk for James
Ukrainian Не жарт для Джеймса
Welsh Pryfocio James

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



VHS/DVD Boxsets


  • Trust Thomas and Other Stories
  • The Very Best of Thomas and Friends
  • The Complete Series 3

DVD Boxsets






DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas, Percy and the Post Train










  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4