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- “The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt would never scrap a really useful engine, and you, Percy, are a really useful engine!”
- ―Thomas consoling Percy
Percy's Big Mistake is the seventh episode of the eighth series.
Percy is a very busy engine with many jobs to do. Perhaps one too many jobs, as the workload often makes him late. One evening, Percy arrives late at Brendam Docks and the dock manager decides to tell the Fat Controller about Percy being late. When Percy arrives back at Tidmouth Sheds that evening, he hears the Fat Controller talking to his driver, though he tries to ignore it. When the Fat Controller mentions "Percy must go to the scrapyard tomorrow," Percy is very worried; he quickly jumps to the conclusion that, due to his lateness, he is now going to be scrapped.
The next morning, Percy is frightened, though Thomas convinces him that he will not be scrapped as he is Really Useful. However, when Percy sees the time on the clock, he races out of the shed and goes to the Docks. At Brendam Docks, Percy is to collect some pipes, but Cranky is being slow and goes even slower when Percy orders him to hurry up. Once the pipes are in the trucks, Percy leaves too soon and the pipes fall off the trucks as they were not tied down. But Percy does not see this and delivers the empty trucks to Wellsworth. Then he collects some flatbeds with barrels full of tar to take to some workmen mending the road.
Percy pushes the flatbeds up and over Gordon's Hill, but he is going too fast. As a result, the trucks break away and crash into Gordon, spilling the barrels of tar all over him. Gordon is very cross at the mess, suggesting what the Fat Controller would think. Now Percy is convinced that he will be scrapped, so he runs away.
Soon Harvey clears up the mess and the Fat Controller arrives aboard Thomas. Gordon tells the Fat Controller that Percy ran away and Thomas tells the Fat Controller what Percy said to him about being scrapped. Soon a search party for Percy is underway. Whilst looking around on his branch line, Thomas knows where Percy might be - Tidmouth Sheds. Soon Thomas arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, where Percy is hiding. Percy begs the Fat Controller not to scrap him, but the Fat Controller comforts Percy by revealing the truth; he wanted Percy to take some trucks to the scrapyard and then, as a break from his busy schedule, Percy is to pull the mail for a whole week.
Percy is happy with his week-long mail run and promises to himself that he will not jump to conclusions again.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Dockyard Manager
- Harvey (does not speak)
- Edward (cameo)
- James (cameo)
- 'Arry and Bert (cameo)
- Big Mickey (faceless, cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Brendam Docks
- Brendam Warehouse
- Gordon's Hill
- Mavis' Shed
- Centre Island Quarry
- The Coaling Plant
- Shunting Yards
- Three Tier Bridge
- The Flour Mill
- Killdane Junction
- Hawin Croka Canal (deleted scene)
- Dryaw (deleted scene)
- The Scrapyards (mentioned)
- The Smelter's Yard (mentioned)
- Going by production order, this is the fifteenth episode of the eighth series.
- Stock footage from James Gets a New Coat is used.
- A picture of a deleted scene shows Percy's pipes falling out by a canal instead of by the old crane. He also notices the pipes fall off in the deleted scene, this may have been the original concept of the episode.
- This episode could have been inspired by the magazine story, The Runaway Percy.
- In the Track Stars DVD, when Thomas tells Sir Topham Hatt that Percy though he was going to be scrapped, Sir Topham Hatt said "Hmmm." It wasn't said in the PBS Kids airing, Listening.
- A high definition recreated scene of Percy going down Gordon's Hill is used in the eleventh series Engine Roll Call music video.
- This is the second time an engine gets covered with tar. The first being Dirty Objects.
- When Percy passes through Knapford with the mail train, he bounces.
- When Percy is pulling the mail during one scene, he is wearing Thomas' tired face.
- When Percy's train collides with Gordon, a thin wire can be seen to pull the first flatbed into the air.
- When the pipes fall out of Percy's trucks, a ramp used to make them roll out is visible.
- When the camera zooms into the shot of Sir Topham Hatt talking to Percy's driver, the distance between the sheds and the track next to it is much larger than what is on the actual set.
- When Percy leaves the pipes at Wellsworth, he leaves only to return again as the tar wagons were there as well. Also, when he returns, the pipe wagons disappear and Percy arrives from a dead end.
- When Percy is passing by the junction, the points change too quickly for the brake van passing straight and Percy going by Gordon.
- When Percy says "The mail, for a whole week?! Thank you sir!" his eyes are wonky.
- As Percy's pipes fall off of his trucks, his eyes are looking in the direction that the pipes are falling.
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