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“Tit for tat! Tit for tat! It's payback time!”
―Bert plotting revenge on the Fat Clergyman

Tit for Tat is the eighteenth episode of the twentieth series. It is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Small Railway Engines.


One day, two visitors come to the Island of Sodor to take pictures of interesting engines. They spend the whole day on Thomas' branch line, but Thomas is jealous that they are taking pictures of Toby rather than him. He is satisfied at the end of the day, when they take a picture of him at Ffarquhar. They then tell him that they are visiting the miniature engines next, but as it is cloudy, they decide to wait until the rain stops. The next morning, the small engines' drivers are polishing them for the visitors. They tell the engines that one of the visitors (Wilbert Awdry) is an author, while the other (Teddy Boston) takes moving photographs. Bert, confused, believes that this means that he will be physically put in a book.

As Bert prepares to take a passenger train to the other end of the line, the two clergymen meet him at the station and compliment him. Bert, flattered, offers to let the visitors ride in his tender. They tell him that they would be willing to do so later, as the sun is shining brightly and they would like to take some pictures. Bert greets them when he sees them above the line later, but is offended when they do not wave. His driver tells him that the two men cannot wave and get good pictures, which alleviates Bert's annoyance.

There are still large amounts of muddy puddles on the ground from the storm the night prior. As the two clergymen pass Bert in their car, they run over a mud puddle and splash him with muddy water. Bert is infuriated, believing they did this on purpose, and becomes even more angry when they take a picture of him with mud on his face.

Even after Bert's driver cleans his face off, he is still dirty. Bert decides to pay the visitors back. As the fat clergyman asks Bert if he can have the previously-offered ride in his tender, Bert is about to refuse, but his driver quickly intervenes and allows the visitor to get in the tender.

As they are travelling along the line, Bert decides to make his move and pay the visitor out. He slows down on his way up a hill, then blows out a cloud of steam from his funnel which causes a shower of water to fall from the leaves on his driver and the fat clergyman, along with a wet squirrel.

The Small Controller is furious when he hears about this and scolds Bert for what he did and sends him to his shed in disgrace. The visitors, feeling sorry for him, apologise for splashing him, and tell him that they were overly excited about getting pictures of him. Bert apologises for his actions as well, and the clergymen decide to make it up to him by cleaning him up.

When Mike and Rex return to the sheds, having heard that he had an argument with the two visitors, Bert tells them that the visitors were actually rather nice. He also informs the two engines that the visitors told him that they plan to write about him in a book and show him off on television. Mike and Rex, on the other hand, are both doubtful.




UK and AUS

US and CAN

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Rob Rackstraw as James, Fergus Duncan and the Thin Clergyman
  • Keith Wickham as Bert
  • Tom Stourton as Rex and the Fat Clergyman
  • Tim Whitnall as Mike
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie and Clarabel
  • Matt Wilkinson as Bert's Driver and Rex's Driver


  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-sixth episode of the twentieth series, finishing the series as a trilogy with Mike's Whistle and Useful Railway.
  • This episode marks several firsts for the series:
    • The first time that Rob Rackstraw voices James in the UK dub, as he took over from Keith Wickham. Although Keith Wickham continues to voice James until the twenty-first series.
    • The first time The Thin Clergyman and Thomas interact with each other.
    • The first episode adaptation of a Railway Series story since the fourth series episode Mind that Bike.
    • The first episode adaptation of a Railway Series story written by Wilbert Awdry since the fourth series episode Paint Pots and Queens.
    • The first time that the phrase "You're a very naughty engine!" has been said since the fourth series episode A Bad Day for Sir Handel.
    • The first appearances of the Fat Clergyman and the Small Controller in the television series.
    • The first episode to indirectly mention both the Railway Series and the Television Series.
    • The first time that the present day Arlesdale station has appeared. It had previously appeared on the Mid Sodor Railway in the fourth series.
  • Both the clergymen and Bert break the fourth wall.
  • At the start and the end of the episode, an instrumental of Never Overlook a Little Engine is heard.
  • This was one of five episodes that was incomplete at the time Arc Productions went bankrupt, and was finished off by Jam Filled Toronto after Jam Filled Entertainment bought the aforementioned studio. The others being Cautious Connor, All in Vain, Mike's Whistle, and Useful Railway.
  • In the Latin American version, the name of the Thin Clergyman is mentioned by the Fat Clergyman.
  • As of 2020 this was the last episode to be released on DVD in American in Christmas on Sodor


  • At one point the ballast chute is not textured and appears grey instead of green.

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Czech Něco za něco
Dutch Oog om Oog
French Oeil pour oeil, dent pour dent
Hebrew עין תחת עין
Hungarian Szemet szemért
Japanese バートのしかえし
Korean 버트의 복수
Polish Ząb za Ząb
Portuguese Olho por olho
Romanian Tit pentru Tat
Russian Как аукнется так и откликнется
Serbian Milo za drago
Slovenian Milo za drago
Spanish Tal para Cual

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