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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the 2005 magazine story or the 2011 magazine story.

“The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt wouldn't 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 does not wait for the pipes to be tied down. This makes them fall off the trucks, 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 he pushes them down. As a result, the trucks (minus the brake van that rolled past Gordon) crash into the big blue engine, 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 had known that Percy was late because of the large amount of work he had been given and had felt sorry for him, so he decided to have Percy take some trucks to the scrapyard and then - as a break from his busy schedule - have him 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.




  • 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, and Percy even notices the pipes fall off. 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 the Fat Controller that Percy thought he was going to be scrapped, the Fat Controller said "Hmmm". It was not 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 in the first series episode, Dirty Objects.
  • Thomas' original plastic model was used for scenes at Tidmouth Sheds.
  • When Thomas and the Fat Controller look for Percy, the Fat Controller's Gauge 1 figure head from the third to seventh series can be seen in Thomas's cab.
  • This episode marks Cranky's only speaking role in the eighth series.


  • 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 arrives at the docks late, his roof is slightly raised.
  • When Percy enters Tidmouth Sheds, James' sleeping face is slightly off centred towards his smokebox.
  • When the camera zooms into the shot of the Fat Controller 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 the pipes fall out of Percy's trucks, a ramp used to make them roll out is visible.
  • 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 the brake van passes Gordon, Gordon's buffers and lamp irons are crooked.
  • When Percy's train collides with Gordon, a thin wire can be seen to pull the first flatbed into the air.
  • Percy's face moves when he speak to the Fat Controller at the sheds.
  • When Percy says "The mail, for a whole week?! Thank you sir!", his eyes are misaligned.
  • As Percy's pipes fall off of his trucks, his eyes are looking in the direction that the pipes are falling.
  • When Percy says, "Oh, no, I'm sure to be scrapped now!" in the UK dub, Michael Angelis' voice cracks.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Mal Entendido de Percy
Chinese Mandarin 培西的大失误
Croatian Perina Velika Pogreška
Czech Percyho Velká Chyba
Danish Percy Stikker af
Dutch Percy’s Grote Vergissing
Finnish Pekan Erehdys
French Les Erreurs de Percy
German Percys großer Irrtum
Greek Ο Τζέρι έκανε ένα λάθος
Hungarian Percy Tévedése
Italian Il Grosso Sbaglio di Percy
Japanese パーシーのだいしっぱい
Korean 퍼시의 큰 실수
Latin American Spanish El Gran Error de Percy
Norwegian Percys Store Tabbe
Polish Wielka Pomyłka Piotrka
Romanian Greșeală lui Percy
Russian Заблуждение Перси
Swedish Percys Stora Misstag

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  • The Complete Series 8

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