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“You said you would bring the best present of all. Now, Mr. Percival has no presents at all and we're all late!”
―Sir Handel

The Man in the Hills is the sixteenth episode of the twelfth series.


It is Mr. Percival's birthday, and Thomas is working with the little engines to get the preparations done. Thomas has a special party tent, Duncan has the decorations, Rusty has the flowers, and Skarloey and Rheneas have banners and balloons. Sir Handel tells them that he plans on telling Mr. Percival a tale of the Man in the Hills, his favourite kind of stories. Thomas has never heard of the Man in the Hills. Sir Handel describes him as being tall and white all over, and he lives in the hills. Thomas thinks that finding him would make the party even better. Freddie offers to help, but Thomas declines.

Thomas pulls up to the dairy and finds a tall man in white. Thomas thinks it is the Man in the Hills and tells him to come with him. Upon arriving at the Wharf, the man reveals himself as the dairyman. Skarloey and Rheneas find Thomas' mistake funny and offers to help. Once again, Thomas turns down the offer. He then goes to the flour mill and finds another man in white. Thinking it is the Man in the Hills, Thomas takes him to the Wharf. There, he reveals that he is the miller who was just white from being covered in flour and that he has not finished the cake, and the dairyman has not finished the ice cream. The little engines are cross with Thomas for setting them behind schedule. They cheer up when Thomas entrusts them with his special jobs, as he has to set things right. He sends the men back to their respective locations and soon the cake is finished and acquired.

At a junction, Freddie takes Thomas on a shortcut to the party. At the Green Hills Junction, Thomas finds a sketch of a tall white man on a rock; the Man in the Hills. Thomas instructs Freddie to take Mr. Percival and the engines to the rock. Everyone is very happy, and as Sir Handel tells his story, Mr. Percival has the best birthday ever.




  • The "Man in the Hills" is based upon the Long Man of Wilmington, which is on a steep hillside north west of Eastbourne, East Sussex in Southern England and maybe based upon the "Man on the Moon." The title could also be a reference to the song "The Fool on the Hill" from the Beatles' 1967 album Magical Mistery Tour.
  • This episode marks the last of a few things:
    • Freddie's last appearance, although he was indirectly mentioned in Hero of the Rails and Steamy Sodor.
    • Sir Handel and Peter Sam's last appearances until Blue Mountain Mystery, not counting an indirectly mentioned appearance in Hero of the Rails, although, they were planned to appear in the fifteenth series episode, Kevin the Steamie along with Duke, but they got dropped.
    • Rusty's last speaking role until Blue Mountain Mystery and his last speaking role in an episode until the sixteenth series episode, The Christmas Tree Express, not counting an indirectly mentioned appearance in Hero of the Rails.
    • The final time Peter Sam's special funnel is simply a square funnel. From Blue Mountain Mystery onwards, it becomes an accurate Giesl ejector.
    • The last appearance of the Wharf.


  • When Thomas arrives at the Dairy, his steam platform is visible.
  • Thomas lacks his crew when the dairyman and Dusty Miller climb into his cab and in the shot of the cake already loaded inside his cab.
  • When the dairyman says he is not "The Man in the Hills," Thomas is not next to the platform.
  • In the US version, when Thomas says "I've brought a present from Sir Topham Hatt," his mouth starts moving before he talks.


In Other Languages

Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 山中人
Croatian Čovjek s brda
Czech Muž z hor
Finnish Erakko
French L'homme de la colline
German Der Mann in den Bergen
Indonesian Pria di Bukit
Italian L'uomo delle Colline
Korean 산속에 사는 남자 (Kids 1)
언덕 위의 신사 (EBS)
Latin American Spanish El Hombre de las Colinas
Polish Człowiek Ze Wzgórz

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