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

“There's an elephant on the line!”

Not Now, Charlie! is the tenth episode of the seventeenth series.


Charlie is always telling jokes. He tells Thomas, Henry and Percy a joke about an elephant which they all find hilarious. One day, Charlie is on his way to pick up some trucks when he finds an elephant on the track. Charlie is puzzled; he did not think there were any elephants on Sodor. Realising the elephant may be in danger, Charlie blows his whistle to try and get the elephant to move off the line. The elephant takes no notice of Charlie, who decides to go and get help.

Charlie meets up with Thomas and tries to explain about the elephant. Thomas thinks it is just another one of Charlie's jokes and puffs away to deliver his passengers. Charlie is surprised by Thomas' reaction. Later on, Charlie meets Percy, who is pulling a goods train. Charlie gets the same reaction from Percy who also thinks Charlie is joking. At the shunting yards, Charlie tries to explain about the elephant to Henry who says that he does not have time for jokes and leaves.

As he makes his way back to the docks, Charlie even starts to doubt himself. As he approaches the Animal Park, everything becomes clear. Charlie can see that a tree has knocked a hole in the wall of the elephant enclosure and that the elephant must belong to the park. At the docks, Charlie tries to make everyone listen to him, but still, no one will believe him. Charlie knows that there is only one option left and heads to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre.

At the rescue centre, Charlie reports the elephant to Harold who agrees that it most certainly is an emergency and takes off. Together, Charlie and Harold head to the animal park where they can see that the damaged wall is already being repaired. There is no sign of the elephant, so Harold flies up high to get a better look while Charlie and the zoo keeper keep an eye out on the ground. Suddenly, Harold announces that he can see the elephant near Brendam.

Sure enough, the elephant is found near a bridge where he has drawn quite a crowd of children who are excited to see an elephant out and about. Harold and Charlie arrive with a couple of zoo keepers and a special truck for the elephant. Carefully, the elephant is ushered into the truck and Charlie sets off back towards the park.

On his way to the Animal Park, Charlie passes through the docks where the engines are surprised to see the elephant and even more surprised to learn that Charlie's story had been true. At the Animal Park, the elephant is led back to its enclosure and the Fat Controller praises Charlie for raising the alarm.

Charlie has learned that telling jokes all the time is not always a good thing as no one ever takes him seriously. Charlie vows never to tell another joke again. Unfortunately for Cranky, Charlie's promise does not last for long.





US and CAN

  • Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon, Harold, Sir Topham Hatt and Headkeeper Jack
  • Ben Small as Charlie
  • Keith Wickham as Salty
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel and the Children
  • Glenn Wrage as Cranky


  • Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the seventeenth series.
  • The plot of the episode is based on the common fairytale, The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
  • One of the zoo keepers is actually a workman from the Blue Mountain Quarry.
  • An image from a magazine activity shows Henry wearing a lamp during his scene at Knapford which he did not have in the actual episode.
  • Apart from the laughing at Charlie's joke, Gordon does not have any dialogue in this episode.
  • This episode marks Charlie's only appearance in the seventeenth series.
  • This marks Headkeeper Jack's last speaking role until the twenty-second series episode, Thomas' Animal Ark.
  • In the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Baltic Russian and one of the Vietnamese dubs, the UK dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.


  • Kerry Shale is not credited in the UK credits despite voicing Headkeeper Jack.
  • In the UK dub, Charlie's laugh does not always match his mouth.
  • The second time Charlie is at the docks, there are no trucks on Percy's track, but seconds later, a truck appears in front of Percy and then disappears when Charlie is leaving the docks.
  • When Charlie first arrives at the docks, Gordon has express coaches, but in the overhead shot of Cranky loading Charlie's flatbed, the coaches have disappeared.
  • As Charlie shouts out Percy to warn him about the elephant, his teeth clips through his face for a second.
  • The second time Charlie arrives at the damaged wall, the wall is extended.
  • When Charlie arrives at the Shunting Yards, Henry does not have a brake van, but when Charlie is talking to Henry, a brake van appears.
  • When the elephant is ushered into the truck, the tracks suddenly stop and look as if they lead straight into the mountain in the background.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Agora não, Charlie!
Chinese Mandarin 别说了 查理
Croatian Ne sada Charlie
Czech Teď ne, Charlie!
Estonian Mitte praegu, Charlie!
French Une blague pas drôle
Galician Agora Non Charlie
German Nicht jetzt, Charlie!
Greek Όχι τώρα Τσάρλι
Hebrew לא עכשיו, צ'רלי
Hungarian Ne most Charlie
Italian Non Adesso, Charlie!
Japanese あとにしてチャーリー
Korean 나중에 찰리
Latvian Ne tagad, Charlie!
Norwegian Ikke nå, Charlie
Polish Nie Teraz, Czarku!
Romanian Nu Acum, Charlie!
Russian Не сейчас, Чарли!
Serbian Ne sada, Čarli!
Spanish ¡Ahora No, Charlie!
Ukrainian Не Зараз Чарлі

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