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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the annual story, the German DVD or the French DVD.
“Look at me, Thomas! I'm as shiny as a trumpet!”

Best Friends is the twentieth episode of the twelfth season.


Thomas and Percy are best friends, and always love to work together. No matter the job, if they are working together, they will get the job done.

One day, Thomas and Percy are shunting at the quarry when Neville puffs up. He informs the engines that the brass band is going to play. Despite liking the brass brand, Percy is upset that he never gets to pull them. Thomas suggests that Percy goes to the wash down and look as shiny as a trumpet. That way, it will be more likely that the Fat Controller will pick him. Percy happily puffs off. Just then, the Fat Controller arrives, and gives Thomas the job to collect the brass band after he has had a wash. Thomas is worried since Percy wanted to pull the train. Percy soon returns and is very happy. Thomas claims that he has another job, and chuffs away. Percy happily whistles, but Thomas is too worried to whistle back.

Thomas is having his wash when he sees Percy. He hides in the nearby shed, and Percy passes right by. Thomas is relieved. Soon, Thomas has collected Annie and Clarabel, but it is not the last time he sees Percy. Worried, Thomas decides to take the long way. He thinks that he will be able to avoid Percy, but he still finds Percy. Thankfully, Duck has a goods train, so Thomas hides behind the train. Percy rolls right past. With a quick "thank you" to a puzzled Duck, Thomas continues on his journey.

But by the time Thomas reaches the docks, he is late. He already feels bad enough, but he notices some mail coaches, and knows Percy is coming and tells the band to hurry, but one of the players forgets his instrument, so Thomas has to wait. Now Percy will catch him, and Percy does. Percy feels betrayed, and asks Thomas why he did not tell him because he tells him everything. Thomas tries to whistle to cheer his friend up, but it does not work, and Percy does not whistle back. Thomas feels guilty as he puffs out of the docks.

When the concert is nearly over, the Fat Controller orders Thomas to take the band back. Knowing that Percy is pulling the mail, Thomas asks if they could switch jobs. The Fat Controller agrees. Thomas rushes off to find Percy, but the concert is almost over. At last, Thomas finds Percy, but he is still upset. Thomas suggests to switch jobs, and Percy's face lights up again. When all the work is done, Thomas promises Percy that he will always tell him everything.




  • Behind the scenes footage for The Great Discovery included Pierce Brosnan reading the script of the episode.
  • Extended stock footage from Percy and the Left Luggage is used.
  • This episode marks Neville's first speaking role since his debut in the ninth season episode, Thomas and the New Engine.
  • This episode aired before The Great Discovery came out in the UK, meaning the audience may not have known what Great Waterton was.
  • This is the only episode written by Anna Starkey.
  • The title of this episode is the same title as the Theodore Tugboat season one episode; Best Friends.
  • This was the final episode for several things:
    • The last episode of the New Series.
    • The final episode to use models for filming. From Hero of the Rails onwards, all footage is in full CGI.
    • The last episode in fullscreen in Germany, Spain, and other countries that had the show in fullscreen from seasons one to twelve.
    • The last episode filmed at Shepperton Studios.
    • The last episode directed by Steve Asquith and to involve him in production.
    • The last episode to have music composed by Ed Welch after he left the show.
    • Dino Athanassiou's last episode as animation director.
    • The final episode narrated by Diego Brizzi in Latin America and Dário de Castro in Brazil.
    • The last episode until The Thomas Way to use both models and CGI.
    • Duck's last appearance until the seventeenth season episode, Henry's Hero.
    • The last appearance of Neville and Great Waterton to date, though the latter would later be mentioned in Tale of the Brave.
    • The last episode where everyone is voiced by the narrator, except in the Japanese dub.
    • The last appearance of the Salt Vans until Journey Beyond Sodor.


  • This episode aired before Thomas and the New Engine in Australia, meaning the audience would not know who Neville is.
  • In the US narration, after Sir Topham Hatt tells Thomas his job, he says "Thank you," but he mumbles.
  • When Percy arrives at the docks, only Thomas' face is in CGI, though his face is not in the right position.
  • When Thomas and Percy are whistling at each other, no steam is emitted.
  • When Thomas hides behind Duck, he jitters.
  • Duck's face is out of scale.

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