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- “Well, it wasn't anything, really. Water's nothing to an engine with determination.”
Percy Takes the Plunge is the eleventh episode of the second series.
At the harbour, a tired Henry is looking to rest in the sheds after a hard day's work, but instead of peace, he finds Percy telling Bill and Ben about the time he braved bad weather to help Thomas' passengers return home. He uses the phrase "Water's nothing to an engine with determination," while the twins shower Percy with praise. Henry arrives and angrily sends them away, as the sheds are only for engines belonging to the Fat Controller.
Bill and Ben leave and Percy is angry, having been enjoying himself. However, Henry tells Percy how silly his line about water and determination is. Percy leaves, but not without quickly reminding Henry of when he refused to leave a tunnel because of the rain.
Later, Percy meets Thomas at the quayside who is looking at a "Danger" board. Thomas tells Percy that they must not go past it and tells him about the time he passed a board and fell down a mine. Percy cannot see a mine, not knowing that the foundations of the quay have sunk and the track now slopes downward into the sea. As a result Percy, who is now feeling very cheeky, remarks that the board is stupid and makes a plan to pass it.
As he brings some trucks to the harbour, Percy asks them to bump him when they arrive at the quay. The trucks happily agree, having never been asked to bump an engine before. Percy's plan is to pretend to stop at the quay and then have the trucks bump him past the board after which he can make them stop. However, Percy, in his foolishness, has forgotten that trucks are never to be trusted.
At the quay, the trucks bump Percy hard enough to jerk his crew off the footplate and push him past the board. Percy is frantic and urges the trucks to stop, but it is no use and Percy slides downward into the sea. From a nearby small boat, the Fat Controller scolds Percy for his deliberate disobedience. Percy begs to get out, but the Fat Controller sternly refuses, explaining that they cannot do that until high tide and hopes that this will teach Percy to obey orders. When night falls, cranes are brought in to pull Percy from the sea, who is now too cold, weak, filthy and stiff to move.
The next morning, Percy is taken to the works to be cleaned and mended on Henry's goods train, who finds the incident very amusing after Percy's earlier boasts. Henry teases Percy, telling him he needs more determination and that perhaps he will like it better next time. Percy, however, hopes there will be no next time.
- Troublesome Trucks
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Bill and Ben (not named)
- Diesel (cameo)
- Donald and Douglas (dropped)
- Knapford Harbour
- Knapford Harbour Bridges
- The Branch Line Cutting
- Gordon's Hill (deleted scene)
- The Works (mentioned)
- Henry's Tunnel (mentioned)
- The Lead Mines (mentioned)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, The Eight Famous Engines.
- In production notes for the episode, Donald and Douglas are noted for possible use as Percy's friends, along with Bill and Ben.
- The story Percy tells at the beginning is a reference to the then-unadapted third series episode Percy's Promise, meaning this episode takes place after that one. Another reference is made to the first series episodes Down the Mine, meaning this episode also takes place after the fourth series episode Paint Pots and Queens, which is a direct continuation of Down the Mine. Another reference is made to the first series episode The Sad Story of Henry.
- The events of this episode are mentioned by Percy in Big World! Big Adventures! during the song Where in the World is Thomas? and in the twenty-third series episode Chucklesome Trucks. A CGI recreation of the scene where Percy plunges into the water was featured in the latter.
- In the restored version, Bill and Ben leave the shed a few seconds earlier, Percy looks at Henry throughout saying "I'm not afraid of water. I like it," his speed as he leaves the shed and puffs through the valley is a little slower and Henry looks up as Percy talks to him instead of at Percy and then to his right side instead of his left before the scene transitions to Thomas.
- The "DANGER" sign is reused from Down the Mine.
- Two pictures show Percy frowning and covered in mud and his left (viewer's right) cylinder is loose while he is at the harbour with Thomas. The first one is from this episode's Buzz Book adaptation and it shows both at the quay in the same spot when they talked about the board. Another one from the view master version shows them at a warehouse. These may have been deleted scenes towards the end of the episode.
- In the scene with Thomas and Percy at the harbour, a truck with the letters "LMS" on it can be seen and also there is a first series style truck right next to it.
- A barge has "Terrey" written on it; possibly a reference to crew member Terence Permane.
- This is the only second series episode with Henry's original toothy smile.
- Ringo Starr's US narration was not released on home video until 2001 when it was included on Best of Percy. This recording was also used on a DVD that came with the Take Along playset based on this episode.
- The Fat Controller's large scale model is used when he scolds Percy after plunging into the water. As a result, he appears to be taller than the boat he is standing on.
- A rare picture, as seen on the viewmaster box shows Percy in the sea with his train missing the last two trucks and the Brake Van.
- When Percy is pulled out of the sea, Diesel makes a cameo prior to his debut in the next episode.
- At one point the narrator says that Percy ran off to the harbour singing, but he is already at the harbour.
- When the camera pans down on Thomas, several trucks in the background are derailed.
- When Henry asks Percy “Did you like the water?” his eyes are wonky.
- Before Percy plunges into the sea, there is a shot of him already at the quayside. However in the next scene he is shown sliding past the sign.
- In the restored version, Bill and Ben's whistles and chuffing sounds are still heard after they leave.
- Percy is smiling when he slides past the sign.
- Just as Percy plunges into the sea, two of his trucks become derailed, and one of them bounces.
- When Percy is lifted out of the water, a workman appears to have some blu-tak on his neck.
- When Henry enters the shed, his tender bounces.
- During Percy's trip to the harbour, his brake van changes.
- Ben's nameplate is peeling off when Henry puffs in.
- In the close-up of Percy being pushed, a reflection of a hand can be seen in the water pushing the train. Added to that, Percy's eyes are wonky.
- Before Percy goes straight into the water, his brakes are applied even though his driver and fireman jumped out and right about when he falls into the water, his wheels are moving again.
- Wooden Railway (discontinued)
- Take Along (discontinued)
- Buzz Books - Percy Takes the Plunge
- Ladybird Books - Percy and Harold/Percy Takes the Plunge
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