Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

Duck Takes Charge

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Buzz book or the magazine story.
"He seems a simple sort of engine."
"We'll have some fun, and order him about!
— Henry and James
Duck Takes Charge

David Mitton


David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Ringo Starr (UK/US)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

October 15th,
1986 (UK)
April 27th,
1988 (AUS)
April 30th,
1989 (US)
May 28th,
1991 (JAP)
June 10th,
1993 (George
Carlin US

Previous episode

Percy and the Signal

Next episode

Percy and Harold/
Percy Proves a Point

Duck Takes Charge is the eighth episode of the second season. In the US, this episode aired on the Shining Time Station episodes Just Wild about Harry's Workshop in 1989 and Stacy Says No in 1993.


One day in the sheds, Percy is eager to tell a disinterested Gordon and James some news. Both quickly tire of Percy's usual manner and the tank engine tells them that as the work in the yard is getting too hard for him, the Fat Controller is planning to bring a new engine in to help. James is unimpressed, telling Percy that if he worked harder instead of chatting, the yard would be a happier place. Percy then leaves to do his work.

As he works, Percy notes to himself that, since he accidentally reversed at a signal, the larger engines now consider him to be a "silly little engine" and often order him about. Percy wants to teach them a lesson, but does not know how to do it. He then works very hard all day and by the afternoon he is worn out. After bringing the express coaches to the station, he sees the Fat Controller on the platform who notes that Percy looks very tired, which Percy confirms. The Fat Controller cheers Percy up by telling him the new engine is bigger than him and can probably manage the work alone. He then offers to send Percy to help Thomas and Toby on the branch line to help them build the new harbour which cheers Percy up straight away.

Soon the new engine arrives. The Fat Controller asks the engine his name and the engine introduces himself as Montague, but tells the Fat Controller he is often called "Duck" due to his supposed waddle. While he does not believe he has a waddle, he admits to liking Duck better than Montague. With that, the Fat Controller agrees that the new engine will be known as Duck. Percy arrives and the Fat Controller asks Percy to show Duck around.

Duck does his work quietly as he brings some coaches to the station, leading Gordon, James, and Henry to decide to boss him about like they do to Percy. Gordon and Henry then start to leave the station on either side of Duck, quacking and blowing steam at him. Percy sees everything and is cross, but Duck just wants to wait until the larger engines get tired of their teasing. Duck then asks Percy if the larger engines boss him about and Percy confirms they do. Duck decides to take charge and put a stop to it and tells Percy what they will do.

That afternoon, the Fat Controller sits at his desk looking forward to having toast for tea. Suddenly he hears a horrible noise coming from the yard and, looking out his window, he sees Percy and Duck blocking the turntable and preventing an angry Gordon, James, and Henry from entering the sheds. The Fat Controller grabs his hat and rushes to the yard.

At the sheds, Gordon, James, and Henry are furious and start whistling loudly when the Fat Controller arrives and commands silence before demanding an explanation from Duck and Percy. Duck politely explains that, as a Great Western engine he likes to do his work without any fuss but wants the other engines to know that he will only take orders from the Fat Controller. The three larger engines start whistling angrily and the Fat Controller orders them to be quiet again. The Fat Controller then tells Duck and Percy that he is pleased with their work, but scolds them for causing the disturbance. He then tells off the larger engines for making the disturbance, and tells them that Duck is quite right that he is the one to give orders, not them. With that, the three engines quickly fall back into line.

Soon Percy is sent to Thomas' line, leaving Duck to do the work alone, something he manages easily.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Percy the Small Engine.
  • A "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus" poster is seen at Knapford.
  • A reference to Percy and the Signal is made in this episode.
    • In the US, this episode aired before Percy and the Signal, so early American viewers would not understand the latter being mentioned.
  • The final frame of this episode was used as the credits backdrop on all the odd-numbered episodes in Season 2.
  • Inside Sir Topham Hatt's office, there is a picture of a Black 5.
  • A first season-style truck can be seen when Duck leaves the yard with Percy.


  • In the panning shot of Percy, Gordon, and James, the Breakdown Train, on the far left, is derailed.
  • In the first close up of Gordon, his eyes look wonky.
  • When Percy puffs away to get the coaches, studio equipment is slightly visible at the top of the screen.
  • When Percy and Duck first puff away, a crew member's shadow briefly passes in front of them.
  • Duck's eyebrows are missing when the engines "wheesh" him and a weird noise can be heard after they do so. To add to that, Henry has a different whistle sound.
  • The narrator says, "Duck and Percy calmly sat on the points...", but they're not; Percy is on the turntable and Duck is on a line outside a berth.
  • Percy's roof is lifted up when Duck says "We'll do it later".
  • When The Fat Controller shouts "SILENCE!" ("Quiet!" in the US version), his left eyebrow appears to be peeled.
  • When Duck passes through Knapford at the end of the episode, the wire reel drums are not secured to his flatbeds.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Finnish Ankka ottaa ohjat Duck Takes Control
French Duck prend les choses en main Duck Takes the Lead
Japanese ダックしごとをもらう Duck Gets A Work
German Darko preuzima dužnost Duck Takes Office
Croatian Patka preuzima Duck Takes Over
Italian Il nuovo arrivato The Newcomer
Dutch Duck Aanvallen Duck Attacks
Norwegian Duck klarer brasene Duck Handles It
Spanish La Llegada de Duck The Arrival of Duck
Welsh Ffrind Newydd Prysi Percy's New Friend



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