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- “The Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt chose me because I'm as red as a rocket and twice as grand!”
Thomas and the Firework Display is the eleventh episode of the eighth series.
Tonight is the Fat Controller's harvest fireworks display and the Fat Controller decides to give James the job of collecting the fireworks from the depot. However, Thomas is upset because he wanted that job, but James tells him that he was chosen because he is as red as a rocket and twice as grand.
At the Coaling Plant, Thomas is furious about James' job and angrily shunts some trucks around. James arrives at the depot to collect the fireworks and chuffs off to Knapford Station. But along the way, James breaks down and his driver goes to phone for help.
Thomas arrives at Knapford Station where Gordon is letting off people from all over the island to see the fireworks and seeing the children happy makes Thomas happy. The Fat Controller gives Thomas the news that James has broken down and that Thomas must push him to the station or the fireworks will be cancelled. Realising that it would make the children sad, Thomas puffs off to find James.
Thomas finds James and calls him busted boiler and teases him that he does not look really useful now, which makes James cross. Thomas tells James that he must look out for things ahead for him as he can not see ahead, but James is still cross. However, James forgives Thomas after hearing that the children would be upset if the fireworks do not get to Knapford and they start on their way.
Back at Knapford Station, the Fat Controller sees that it is late and almost the children's bedtime, so he decides to cancel the display. While heading towards Knapford, James is confused that a signal they have reached was red. Thomas thinks a passenger train is coming and James realises that Gordon is taking the children home, so they blow their whistles, but no one can hear them.
As Gordon is almost ready to leave, Thomas has an idea to let his driver set off a firework and Gordon and the Fat Controller see it realising it is a signal from Thomas and James and that the fireworks display is on again. The signal then turns green and Thomas and James arrive at the station.
At Tidmouth Sheds, Thomas and James watch the fireworks. James tells Thomas that they are both Really Useful Engines and Thomas says that they are most useful when they work together.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Gordon (does not speak)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Bridget Hatt (cameo)
- Nancy (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (stock footage cameo)
- Jem Cole (stock footage cameo)
- Farmer Trotter (stock footage cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Coaling Plant
- Sodor Hay Company (stock footage)
- The Watermill (deleted scene)
- Stock footage from Thomas and the Rumours and Emily's New Route is used.
- In the All Aboard with the Steam Team and Songs from the Station DVD narrations and the Nick Jr. broadcasts, the timing of when James asks, "Why would the signal be red?" is a few seconds earlier than in The Complete Series 8 DVD, US PBS broadcasts and other UK television broadcasts.
- In the US version, on the Songs from the Station DVD, the truck is saying "Oh" after Thomas biffed them the last time. This is absent on the PBS airing.
- In The Complete Series 8 DVD and other television broadcasts, the music is omitted at the end of the episode.
- Going by production order, this is the first episode of the eighth series.
- This episode and Percy Gets it Right share the same opening shot while also being stock footage.
- This episode marks Nancy's last appearance to date.
- When the driver lights the rocket, there is a thin wire used to pull the rocket.
- In all of the night shots, light can be seen coming from the back of Thomas' headlight.
- Because stock footage is used, Annie and Clarabel appear in their old liveries.
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