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- “I told the Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt and I'm telling you: I don't need any help, especially from a funny little crane like you!”
- ―Cranky to Kevin
Kevin's Cranky Friend is the first episode of the seventeenth season.
It is a busy day at Brendam Docks and Cranky is being very overworked. When Thomas arrives at Knapford late, Thomas explains the situation at the docks to the Fat Controller, who goes to investigate immediately. Once there, the Fat Controller sees the chaos and tells Cranky that he will get him some help. Cranky is adamant that he does not need help, but the Fat Controller had already left to his car and heads to the Steamworks.
At the Sodor Steamworks, the Fat Controller asks to borrow Kevin. As they are not very busy, Victor agrees. Kevin is delighted at being given a special job and even more delighted that he will finally get to meet Cranky.
Thomas takes Kevin to Brendam Docks where the little crane wastes no time in introducing himself to Cranky. To Kevin's surprise, Cranky announces that he does not need any help especially from a silly little crane like Kevin. Cranky orders Kevin to stay out of his way. Kevin is sad, but Salty tell him that he will soon get used to Cranky's cranky ways.
Just then, Cranky drops some pipes onto the tracks. Kevin races to assist Cranky and soon has all the pipes piled up. Instead of being grateful, Cranky is more rude than ever and blames Kevin for the entire accident. Cranky then orders Kevin to go back to the corner of the quayside and to stop interfering. Then, Cranky drops some crates of chickens onto the tracks. The chickens break out of their boxes and run all around the docks. Once again, Kevin rushes to help and soon rounds up all of the chickens. Salty congratulates Kevin, but Cranky is less than pleased with Kevin sticking his hook in where it's not wanted again. He orders Kevin to go back to the corner of the dockside.
Thomas arrives and asks Kevin how he is getting on. Kevin explains that he does not think Cranky likes him. Both Thomas and Salty try to reassure Kevin that underneath Cranky's gruff exterior, there lies a heart of gold. Then, Cranky swings round and knocks over a barrel. The barrel rolls along the quayside and towards the sea. Kevin tries his best to stay put, but cannot resist trying to help. Unfortunately, Kevin is too late to save the barrel and follows it into the sea. Luckily, before Kevin can sink too far into the sea, Cranky fishes him out.
The Fat Controller arrives and is not pleased to see Kevin being pulled out of the sea. He tells Kevin that he should return to the Sodor Steamworks immediately as he is clearly not helping at the docks. Kevin is ashamed at being sent away in disgrace. As he trundles away, Cranky speaks up and tells the Fat Controller that it was not Kevin's fault; it was his. Kevin is amazed when Cranky goes on to call him a hardworker and really useful. The Fat Controller is satisfied and tells Kevin and Cranky to carry on.
After the Fat Controller has left, Kevin thanks Cranky for his kind words and asks if he should stay in the corner out of the way. Cranky finally confesses to needing a bit of help because two hooks are always better than one; Kevin is ecstatic and cheerfully goes about his work. Cranky is happy with Kevin's work, but wishes that he would not be so cheerful doing it.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Edward (cameo)
- James (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- One of Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- Ben Small as Thomas
- Keith Wickham as Henry, Salty and the Fat Controller
- David Bedella as Victor
- Matt Wilkinson as Cranky and Kevin
- Martin Sherman as Thomas
- Kerry Shale as Henry, Kevin and Sir Topham Hatt
- David Bedella as Victor
- Keith Wickham as Salty
- Glenn Wrage as Cranky
- This was the first episode for several things:
- The first episode narrated by Mark Moraghan in both the UK and US, Lars Mikkelsen in Denmark, Robert Dreija in Latvia and Denis Bespalyy in Russia and Ukraine as well as the first episode narrated by Mykola Koziy in Ukraine since the fourth season.
- The first episode since the Ringo Starr version of Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree to have the same narrator for both the UK and US narrations.
- The first episode since the seventh season episode, Gordon and Spencer, written by Lee Pressman.
- The first episode animated by Arc Productions and directed by David Baas.
- The first episode to have Sam Wilkinson as Railway Consultant.
- The first episode produced by Robert Anderson and Halim Jabbour.
- Going by production order, this is the fourth episode of the seventeenth season.
- After Sir Topham Hatt leaves Brendam Docks, Henry disappears.
- Throughout most of the episode, Cranky's ladder is on the wrong side.
- James and Henry swap whistle sounds.
- Matt Wilkinson and David Bedella are not credited in the UK credits despite voicing Cranky, Kevin and Victor.
- Bob Golding is credited despite none of his characters speaking.
- When Sir Topham Hatt first arrives at the docks, Bertie's driver is driving his car.
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