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- ―James admiring himself
James Gets a New Coat is the fifth (twenty-third in Australia) episode of the eighth season.
James has been repainted and he boasts to the other engines that he is a very special engine because he has bright red paint. This makes Percy upset, thinking that the Fat Controller would not think that he is special because he is green instead of red. Thomas tries to put some sense into James' smokebox, explaining that looking splendid is not the same as being really useful. But James thinks looking splendid and being really useful makes him even more special, leaving Thomas and Percy speechless.
The next morning, the Fat Controller sends James to the coaling plant to help Percy fill and deliver an important order of coal to the docks. However, James ignores the Fat Controller's orders and puffs along a canal to see his reflection and goes to various stations and branch lines so that people can see him. Thomas, seeing James on his branch line, reminds him that he should be working, but James takes no notice.
At the coaling plant, Percy is struggling to fill the coal trucks on his own and time is running out. The Plant Manager is concerned that the order will not be filled, but he knows that it is not Percy's fault - James should have arrived hours ago. At last, James arrives at the coaling plant, but he is very late. Percy is cross, as is the Plant Manager. Due to the delay, a very long line of coal trucks must be taken to the docks to make up for lost time. James takes the trucks, excited to be going to the docks where people can see his new coat of paint. Percy warns James that the coal trucks are being naughty, but once again James takes no notice.
On his way to the docks, James is quick to realise that Percy was right as the coal trucks bump into each other and into James, covering him in coal dust. Soon James no longer has a new coat of red paint - he has a new coat of black. Now James does not want to be seen, however, Emily, Edward, and Thomas pass by him and, at the Docks, Gordon is surprised to see James so dirty.
At last, all of the coal had been delivered to the docks on time. James is tired and upset, whilst Percy with the rest of the coal trucks admires James' "new" black coat. Soon all of the trucks are laughing and even James laughs about his "new" coat too.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Coaling Plant Manager
- Edward (does not speak)
- Gordon (does not speak)
- Emily (does not speak)
- Henry (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- Toby (deleted scene)
- Henrietta (deleted scene)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Coaling Plant
- Brendam Docks
- Gordon's Hill
- Three Tier Bridge
- Hawin Croka Canal
- A photograph from this episode was released as a Royal Mail stamp in 2011 to mark the Reverend Awdry Centenary.
- Going by production order, this is the twenty-third episode of the eighth season.
- The trucks gain a unique voice in this episode.
- A deleted scene implies that Toby was to appear in the episode.
- This episode marks the first for two things:
- The first time Wellsworth is addressed by its name.
- Edward and Emily's first appearances in the New Series.
- When Henry puffs past the camera at the beginning, a wire is visible underneath him.
- As Percy puffs past the camera with three trucks the first one is missing its right buffer and, although the trucks appear to be coupled together, their couplings are really dangling.
- When Thomas is working with Emily, Thomas' right eye is wonky. At the end of the episode, Percy's right eye is wonky. And in the next scene, James' are too.
- When Gordon first went up his hill he had two Express coaches but later when leaving a station he had three Express coaches. Then later at the docks Gordon had two coaches.
- Gordon was stopped with the Express in Wellsworth, but according to the Awdry writings the express is not meant to stop at Wellsworth.
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