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“I'm sorry too. I only raced off because I thought I saw the mermaid.”

Skiff and the Mermaid is the twenty-sixth episode of the twentieth series.


Skiff and Captain Joe work at Arlesburgh and give tours to tourists. One day, Skiff overhears the Fat Controller talking to the Museum Manager about a mermaid. Skiff tells Duck that there will be a mermaid coming the following day. Duck is confused and asks what a mermaid is and Skiff explains. Duck says that mermaids do not exist, but Skiff tells him that he has heard a lot of tales about mermaids. Skiff says he would love to see one, before Duck leaves.

Skiff spends the rest of the day looking out towards the sea, hoping he will be the first one to spot "the mermaid." Then, Oliver and Toad arrive. Toad asks why Skiff is staring out to sea and Skiff explains that a mermaid is soon arriving. Oliver tells Skiff that unexpected things can happen and that Toad once spotted a whale stranded on the beach, which, despite not believing him at first, turned out to be true.

The next morning, Skiff is up and about early, since he did not want to miss seeing the mermaid. But by lunchtime, there is still no sign of her. Duck then arrives with the Fat Controller and his grandchildren at the Maritime Museum. The Fat Controller tells the manager that the Mermaid is on its way at the exact moment. Skiff tells Duck that the mermaid will be coming and Duck says that it might be true. Stephen and Bridget arrive beside Skiff and Joe asks if they are ready for their harbour trip. The Fat Controller tells the children to not get into Skiff before they get their life-jackets. The children ask Skiff what he likes best of land or sea, to which Skiff responds by saying he likes both parts. Stephen says he likes the sea, but does not like getting his face wet; Skiff chuckles and agrees, but adds that he is getting used to it. Then Skiff thinks he has spotted the mermaid out at sea and calls for the anchor to be dropped on board. Without warning, Skiff blows along the rails towards the sea. Once out at sea, Skiff orders the Fat Controller to control him by his sail, but the Fat Controller does not understand what instructions Skiff ordered. Skiff cannot see any sign of the mermaid and starts being doubtful of where it might be.

At Arlesburgh, Captain Joe and the grandchildren try to look for Skiff and the Fat Controller from the lighthouse. Duck tells Toad that they are out there, somewhere. Joe is sure that they are okay and says that the Fat Controller is a very resourceful man.

Out at sea, the Fat Controller manages to fend off some seagulls but loses the second oar as well. The alarm goes off at the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre and Captain and Harold are called to the rescue.

Somewhere isolated, Skiff and the Fat Controller have reached land. Skiff apologises for going off without his captain and tries to explain about seeing the mermaid, but the Fat Controller mumbles about how much time it could take for them to be found again. Skiff is sure that they have not gone very far and that they can sail back to Arlesburgh once the tide has gone out.

It does turn out that Skiff was right, that they had not gone so far at all. Harold tells Captain via their radios that he has spotted Skiff and the Fat Controller at Bluff's Cove. The Fat Controller is delighted that they have been found and Skiff agrees.

Skiff and the Fat Controller arrive back at Arlesburgh, where his grandchildren are happy to see him. Skiff then explains that he raced off because he thought he saw the mermaid. The Fat Controller says that Skiff got it all wrong, before Thomas arrives with "the mermaid" figurehead, for the front of the Pirate Ship and the Fat Controller explains that it is his mermaid.

That night, Toad says that the mermaid is beautiful and Skiff agrees but says he wished he had seen a real mermaid. Skiff also says that he now knows that things like mermaids do not exist. Toad is picked up by Oliver and he calls goodnight to Skiff before he leaves and Skiff says "night" back. As the moon reaches in front of the clouds, a whale's tail appears in the water; Skiff is fascinated by it and says "wow."






  • Steven Kynman as Duck
  • Joe Mills as Oliver and Toad
  • Jamie Campbell Bower as Skiff
  • Kerry Shale as Harold
  • Keith Wickham as Captain, Sir Topham Hatt, the Museum Manager and the Man
  • Teresa Gallagher as Stephen Hatt, Bridget Hatt, the Woman and the Children
  • Matt Wilkinson as Captain Joe


  • Going by production order, this is the sixteenth episode of the twentieth series.
  • As the episodes air out of production order, this episode, along with Hugo and the Airship and The Missing Breakdown Train, which both lack the mermaid figurehead on the pirate ship, aired after Blown Away and The Railcar and the Coaches, in which the figurehead is visible on the ship.
  • A reference to the nineteenth series episode, Toad and the Whale is made.
  • It is revealed that the Fat Controller was once a boy scout.
  • The scene where the Fat Controller makes a face on a rock and talks to it is similar to the movie Cast Away, in which the protagonist paints a face on a volleyball so he has someone to talk to.
  • This episode marks Captain's only appearance in the twentieth series.
  • In the Nick Jr USA broadcast of this episode, it is paired with The Missing Breakdown Train.
  • This episode marks the last of a few things:


  • In the last scene, Toad's coupling hook is missing the three-chain link. 
  • When Skiff was talking to Duck we can see he is pulling slip coaches but not leaving it in the station. 
  • In the German dub, Toad has Oliver's voice when he says "Who?" In the German credits, Christian Stark is credited for voicing Thomas, but Thomas does not speak in this episode.
  • The Nickelodeon airing with The Missing Breakdown Train credits William Hope and Glenn Wrage for voicing Edward and Cranky respectively but neither appear in both episodes.
  • When Joe goes to get the life jackets for Stephen and Bridget, he goes inside the station, but when Skiff and Sir Topham Hatt race past him, he suddenly appears closer to the lighthouse.
  • In the shot of Skiff talking to Toad at dusk, some of the rails of the quay are missing.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Czech Skiff a mořská panna
Dutch Skiff en de Zeemeermin
French Skiff et la sirène
German Skiff und die Meerjungfrau
Hebrew סקיף ובת הים
Hungarian Skiff és a sellő
Japanese スキフとにんぎょ
Polish Szyper i Syrena
Portuguese O Skiff e a Sereia
Romanian Skiff şi Sirena
Russian Скифф и Русалка
Serbian Skif i sirena
Slovenian Skif in morska deklica
Spanish Skiff y la sirena
Turkish Skiff ve Denizkızı

Home Media Releases



  • Extraordinary Engines

US DVD Boxsets

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