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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Thai DVD, the Chinese DVD or the magazine story.

“Perhaps, you'd let me take the Deputy Minister home, after all!"
"You, Spencer?"
"I can learn from my mistakes, sir. I just need to be given one more chance.”
―Spencer apologising to Sir Topham Hatt and the Deputy Minister

Spencer's VIP is the fifteenth episode of the eighteenth series.

Plot

One morning, the Fat Controller comes to Tidmouth Sheds to tell his engines that a deputy minister is coming to Sodor to present the controller with an award for "Services to Transport". He warns his engines to be on their best behaviour. Gordon volunteers to collect the deputy minister, but the Fat Controller explains that Spencer is already bringing the very important person.

Spencer is speeding his way over from the mainland with the very important visitor. Spencer promises to get him to Knapford ahead of schedule. Spencer is so busy trying to go as fast as he can, that he ignores signals and speeds ahead of Edward. This causes confusion at Wellsworth Junction where the signalman sends Spencer down the branch line. It is not long before Spencer finds himself at the Sodor China Clay Pits. Timothy, Bill and Ben are surprised to see Spencer who concludes that there must have been a mistake.

Eventually, Spencer makes it to Knapford Station very late. The deputy minister is not impressed at all with his transportation. He then says that he will not travel back to the Mainland with Spencer. Gordon overhears and offers his services which annoys the Fat Controller a bit; it is his job to decide which engine does which job. The Fat Controller and the deputy minister head off as Thomas and James arrive. They both think that they could be chosen.

It is not long before all the engines on Sodor are rushing around trying to prove how fast they can be, hoping that they will be chosen to take the minister home. Back at Knapford Station, Spencer watches all the other engines rushing about. He starts to feel very sorry for himself and wishes that he had done things differently.

Meanwhile, James is approaching Wellsworth Station at high speed. James screeches to a stop in the station and the coaches bang into each other. The passengers are not happy with their rough stop at all. Gordon pulls up just in time to laugh at James. However, James is quick to point out that Gordon has stopped before the platform, meaning that his passengers cannot disembark from the Express at all. On the Little Western line, Duck runs a red signal and comes buffer-to-buffer with Oliver who is not happy. Elsewhere, Thomas is making the silliest mistake of all. He is being refilled with coal when he moves forwards. Coal pours down all over Annie and Clarabel, who tell him they do not need coal.

Later on, at Knapford Station, the Fat Controller is not happy with his engines' performances. He says that when they show off and hurry around they are negligent and make more mistakes. He says that none of the engines deserve the privilege of taking the deputy minister home. Spencer speaks up and asks if he can do the job. He says that he has to learn from his mistakes and asks if he can have a second chance. The deputy minister agrees that Spencer should be given a second chance, as should the engines on the Fat Controller's railway. He says that he will forget what happened that day and come back the following day to see how railway really runs on Sodor.

The deputy minister does indeed come back the next day. All of the engines are going about their work as normal and no mistakes occur at all. The minister is very impressed and calls it a fine railway. He then presents the Fat Controller a special trophy and all the engines cheer.

Characters

Locations

Cast

UK, AUS, NZ and MYS

US and CAN

  • Martin Sherman as Thomas and Percy
  • William Hope as Edward
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon, James and Sir Topham Hatt
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel and Some Passengers
  • Steven Kynman as Duck
  • Joe Mills as Oliver
  • Tim Whitnall as Timothy, the Man Who Loses His Hat and the Deputy Minister
  • Jonathan Brodbent as Bill and Ben
  • Glenn Wrage as Spencer

Trivia

  • Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the eighteenth series.
  • The diesel locomotive trophy was also seen in the form of a Christmas decoration in the seventeenth series episode, The Missing Christmas Decorations. The diesel's basis is a BR Class 08 shunter.
  • The signalman sending Spencer down Edward's branch line is similar to the second series episode, Wrong Road.
  • In Spencer's coach, the Deputy Minister is reading the Sodor Times.
  • According to Tim Whitnall, he tried out for voicing Edward in the US version of this episode, but he did not make the final cut.
  • When Thomas filled his bunker up with coal, a sound effect of the coal being loaded into James' tender from the Trouble on the Tracks PC game is used.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of a few things:
    • The only appearance of Wellsworth Junction.
    • Belle's only appearance in the eighteenth series, not counting being mentioned in Millie and the Volcano.
  • This marks the last appearance of the Coal Hopper until the twenty-fourth series episode, James the Super Engine.

Goofs

  • When Spencer goes through Kellsthorpe Road station, the road next to the station is missing.
  • Edward's bogie wheels spark when he applies his brakes, but those wheels are not fitted with brakes.
  • In one shot of Edward braking, his coaches disappear.
  • The smaller signal box at Wellsworth Junction changes position after Spencer passes under the gantry signal box.
  • When Spencer first arrives at the clay pits, three open-topped trucks are on the ground rather than the rails.
  • When Thomas passes Spencer regretting his actions at Knapford, Clarabel's face is static.
  • James' brake coach is a darker shade than the rest of his coaches.
  • In the close-up shot of Oliver's wheels as he is braking:
    • His trailing wheels spark as he brakes, despite those wheels not being fitted with brakes.
    • The axlebox on his trailing wheel and his cab footsteps are floating.
  • At the ending of the panning shot of Gordon arriving at Wellsworth for the second time, a black border line to the right of the screen suddenly appears.
  • Throughout the episode, the crossovers and gantry signals at Knapford move in different spots or disappear.

Merchandise

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O V.I.P. de Spencer
Czech Spencerův VIP
Dutch De VIP van Spencer
French Le Ministre des Transports
Hungarian Spencer fontos utasa
Japanese スペンサーとふくだいじん
Korean 스펜서와 귀한 손님
Latin American Spanish El Importante Pasajero de Spencer
Norwegian Spencers viktige passasjer
Polish Ważny Pasażer Szymka
Romanian VIP-ul lui Spencer
Russian Важный пассажир Спенсера
Slovenian Simonov Z.P.P.
Ukrainian ВІП Пасажир Спенсера

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